This recipe gives a classic comfort food a plant-based makeover. Shepherd's pie is a hearty meat-and-potatoes casserole, for which a thick layer of creamy mashed potatoes are baked over a filling of ground lamb or beef, carrots, and peas in a tomato-tinged sauce.
In this version, we swap the ground meat for a plant-based meat alternative. This recipe will work best with one such as, Beyond or Impossible that are sold "raw," looking similar to ground meat, then sauteed on the stovetop, versus those that are sold pre-cooked. By sautéing the "meat" within the moment, you're able to incorporate the pie's flavors, such as thyme and rosemary, more deeply than with a pre-cooked version.
- For the Mashed Potatoes:
- 4 cups potatoes (peeled and diced in 3/4-inch pieces)
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter (or margarine)
- 1/4 cup vegan creamer
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
- 1/4 cup grated vegan Parmesan
- For the Filling:
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as grapeseed or avocado)
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- 1 cup carrot (diced)
- 1 pound plant-based meat (such as Beyond or Impossible)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 cup no-chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup frozen peas (thawed)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Potatoes
Gather the ingredients.
Add potatoes to a large pot of cool water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low, remove the lid, and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes.
Drain potatoes in a colander, then return to the pot and add butter, half and half or creamer, salt, and pepper. Mash until no large lumps remain.
Add sour cream and parmesan, stir thoroughly to incorporate, and set aside.
Make the Filling
Gather the ingredients.
Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, sauté the onion and carrot until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add raw ground "meat," along with thyme and rosemary, and sauté until browned and cooked through; this may vary depending on the brand, so follow the package instructions. (It will generally not take more than 10 minutes.)
Sprinkle flour over the mixture and sauté for 30 seconds while stirring, until all ingredients are coated.
Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, broth, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine.
Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Add frozen peas, mixing them in completely, and remove filling from heat.
Assemble and Bake the Shepherd's Pie
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the filling mixture in a shallow 9x13-inch baking dish or deep 9x9-inch dish, then spoon the mashed potatoes over the top of the filling.
Spread with a spatula until they are an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, until mashed potato crust is lightly golden. For extra browning, once baked, place the pie under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.
Glass Bakeware Warning
Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.
For premade casseroles or leftovers that are in a glass baking dish and have been refrigerated, do not place directly into a hot oven as the glass can shatter. Instead, place any cold glass bakeware into a cold oven to warm up while it preheats. Or, allow the bakeware to rest outside of the fridge for 30 minutes to reach room temperature while the oven preheats.
- Because this dish has two different recipes involved, for ease of making; you can prep the filling, or the potatoes ahead of time. You can also make the topping and filling simultaneously, and it'll take around 25 minutes.
- A vegetarian "chicken" or "beef" broth will provide a more rich flavor that is closer to the "real thing" than a vegetable broth.
- This works equally well as a vegan or vegetarian pie; the dairy involved is in the mashed potatoes, not the filling, so all that is needed to make it vegan is the choice of vegan butter or margarine, sour cream, and Parmesan over dairy.
- The amount of added salt in the filling is minimal due to the sauces and broth; if using a low-sodium version of any, add additional salt to taste.
- In keeping with the rustic nature of this dish, we mashed potatoes by hand with a masher. If you prefer a whipped and smooth appearance, you can instead blend them in a food processor.