Typically, on the weekends I try to make something that will be easy to grab and re-heat for lunches during the week. Sometimes it’s a giant stockpot of soup, or filling for burritos. Other times, it’s simply making hummus that can be used on sandwiches, or if you’re like me, eaten straight out of the bowl with a spoon.
This past weekend, I spent my Sunday in New Hampshire visiting my grandparents, and knew I’d have to scramble Sunday night to throw something together. And after nearly four hours in the car, I was feeling slightly car sick and not at all in the mood to cook.
I walked into my apartment expecting to have several hours worth of to-dos to catch up on, but was pleasantly surprised to smell what can only be described as Thanksgiving. Roasted vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes, thyme…something about that spice is so, so comforting.
Aaron seriously stepped it up and decided to make his own version of shepherd’s pie, using sweet potatoes as the topping since he knows they’re my favorite. I braced myself walking into the kitchen, expecting to see dirty dishes everywhere (Aaron isn’t OCD the way I am and doesn’t clean as he cooks), but all of the dishes were done, the counters were clean, and even the dogs were playing quietly, having already been walked.
And if that weren’t amazing enough, I opened the fridge to find a Passionberry Bliss Kombucha. Some people may prefer wine or beer with dinner, I will always choose kombucha.
Oh, and the shepherd’s pie? Really, really good. Aaron used cubed tempeh to add some protein and covered the tempeh and vegetables in a light, flavorful gravy. Vegan comfort food at its finest.
- For the Mashed Potatoes:
- 6 Medium Organic Sweet Potatoes (or any potato variety you like)
- 1 Large Clove of Garlic
- ⅓ C. Plain, Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1 Tbs. Earth Balance (or other vegan buttery spread)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- For the Veggie Filling:
- 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 4 Carrots
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 13 White Button Mushrooms
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion
- 2 Large Cloves of Garlic
- 8 oz. Package of Tempeh, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1½ Tsp. Dried Thyme
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- For the Gravy:
- 1 C. Vegetable Stock
- ¼ C. Red Wine
- 2 Tbs. Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbs. Tomato Paste
- Begin by making the potato topping. Roughly chop one clove of garlic and the potatoes, leaving the skin on if you like. Add potatoes and garlic to a large pot, add cold water until the potatoes are completely covered, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiled, allow to simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Strain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the almond milk, Earth Balance, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Mash by hand or using a stand mixer and set aside.
- Prepare your filling by chopping the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, and once hot, add the chopped vegetables. Saute the vegetables in the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender.
- While the vegetables are cooking, in a small bowl, prepare the gravy by combining the vegetable stock, red wine, Braggs (or soy sauce), flour, and tomato paste. Whisk until the flour is well-incorporated and no lumps remain.
- Once the vegetables are tender, add the tempeh and gravy and continue to saute on low heat for 2-3 minutes (to let the flavors mingle).
- Transfer the vegetable filling and gravy to a deep casserole dish. Drop spoonfuls of mashed potatoes over the top of the filling and spread them out with a spatula. Make some small peaks and valleys in the potatoes so they will brown a bit on the peaks.
- Broil the dish on low for 15 minutes. If after 15 minutes the peaks aren’t brown, broil on high for 2-3 minutes, but watch carefully so you don’t burn the potatoes.
- Remove and enjoy!
Food always tastes better when someone else makes it.
ETA: Yes, Aaron took photos as he cooked. I need to bake that man some cookies.