This vegan shepherd's pie is rich, warming and delicious. It is made without any meat substitutes, just tasty and nutritious vegetables that give it a range of flavours and textures. You won't miss the meat at all with this vegan shepherd's pie!
Traditionally shepherd's pie is made with lamb and has a potato topping. I don't know about you but for the first month of winter I'm all about the butter and pastries and meats, by the second I am starting to feel sluggish from all that good eatin' and livin' and by spring I am trying to add more vegetables to my diet. So while I would normally make this with lamb, I decided to make a vegan version instead.
How To Add Meaty or Richer Flavours to a vegan dish: There are lots of meat substitutes and they vary enormously. You can certainly use these but for this one I am using red lentils and mushrooms as my base. I add richer "meatier" flavours like garlic and spices like smoked paprika and cumin.
Red lentils are your friend: red lentils cook up in less than 10 minutes and don't require any soaking. They are also high in protein and fibre. You do need to rinse them well - sometimes I rinse them 6-7 times until the water runs clear. Do not undercook lentils. Make sure that they're cooked properly before eating them as undercooked lentils can cause digestive issues.
Don't add salt while cooking lentils. Add salt after they cook or the lentils may be tough. As a general rule I always try to season afterwards as much as I can.
Confession: I HATE making mashed potato. That's why I rarely put it on my blog. I hate peeling potatoes and I hate mashing them up using the ricer. Sorry.
How To Make Mashed Potato Without Peeling or a Masher/Ricer!: here's a tip to making mashed potato without a peeler or a potato ricer! Take a boiled potato with the skin on, slice in half lengthwise and then place a clean cooling rack with cross hatch pattern over a bowl and place the potato cut side down and press down. The baking rack will catch the skin and you'll be left with the potato!
1 - Press the cooled potato half against the rack
2 - Push down
3 - Potato and skin are separated!
While I don't like mashing potato there are certain things that I love doing. I LOVE pinching my friend's cheeks because I love them so much and they are so adorable and cute. They put up with it and I don't think they mind but I love it!
So tell me Dear Reader, is there something that you hate doing? And is there something that you love doing? Do you use those meat substitutes when cooking vegetarian or vegan food?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Vegan Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 2 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes enough for a 6.5cup/1625ml/3.4pint dish that serves 4. Please double the recipe for a lasagne tray size
- 700g/23.7ozs. potatoes
- 90g/3ozs butter substitute plus 20g extra for dotting
- 80ml/2.7flozs. extra virgin olive oil
- 10g/0.3oz. onion powder
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
For the base
- Oil for frying
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 200ml/7ozs. diced tinned tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 130g/4.6ozs. red lentils, rinsed well and drained
- 125g/4ozs. mushrooms, diced
- 1.5 cups/375ml/12.6flozs. vegetable stock
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1 cup/130g/4ozs frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
Step 1 - First start with the potatoes as they will take a while to cook and mash. Wash them well and place in a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes until a knife will slide in easily. Remove from water and use a potato ricer and mash into a large bowl. Or slice in half and push them through a baking rack with cross hatches (see above).
Step 2 - Add melted butter or substitute, oil and onion powder in 3-4 lots making sure to season the mash well with salt and pepper too. Set aside.
Step 3 - You can make the filling while the potatoes are boiling. Heat a large saucepan with 2-3 tablespoons of oil and add the onion and carrot and sauté until starting to caramelise. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the cumin, paprika, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, lentils, mushrooms, stock, thyme and jalapeno. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes stirring so that the lentils don't catch at the bottom (add a little more stock if necessary). Add the peas and cook for a few minutes. When the lentils are cooked season and make sure that the lentils are not dry and have some sauce to them (although you don't want them wet, you just want a nice gravy).
Step 4 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Scoop the lentils into a baking dish. Then top with the mashed potatoes. Use a fork to create a hatch pattern and dot with the extra butter substitute. Bake for 30-35 minutes. You can also put this under the grill for 4-5 minutes to crisp it up but I liked the golden hue on top of the potato. Sprinkle with chives.