As I’m sure you could tell from my last post, I used Thanksgiving as an excuse to go all out on the food front. When I was explaining the different recipes to my family over the course of the evening, the conversation kept circling back to the shepherd’s pie.
I used one of my all-time favorite recipes for sweet potato shepherd’s pie as the inspiration, but because I was also serving miso sweet potatoes with the meal, I traded the original topping for something a little different. It looks like regular mashed potatoes, but it’s actually another one of my favorite recipes, and one I don’t make nearly enough – mock mashed potatoes. Jazzed up with chives instead of parsley this time.
A lot of faux mashed potato recipes have a tendency to come out watery because of the cauliflower that’s often used, but something magical happens when you combine cauliflower with cannellini beans. It’s denser, richer, and all without any potatoes and very minimal oil (just a single tablespoon in the entire recipe). When I told my family that I used cauliflower and beans in the shepherd’s pie, my brother kept searching his plate for pieces of the ingredients because he thought he was eating actual potatoes in the topping. I consider that a culinary success! It’s the small things…
I used a seitan recipe from Vegan Yack Attack in the filling and just pan-fried the seitan before adding it to the vegetables to give it a nice crust. However, you could use chopped tempeh, tofu, your favorite legumes, or omit it entirely since the topping is fairly protein-rich.
The meal takes a little over an hour to come together because of the different components (topping, vegetable filling, and gravy), but the process is simple and the end result is one hundred percent worth it. Plus, casseroles mean leftovers and leftovers are the best!
- 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
- 1 Head of Cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 3 C. Cooked & Drained Cannellini Beans
- Scant ½ C. Vegetable Broth
- 2 Tbs. Dried Chives
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 3 Carrots
- 3 Parsnips
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 10 White Button Mushrooms (or Baby Bella)
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion
- 8 oz. Seitan, cut into bite-size pieces (Tempeh also works well)
- 1½ Tsp. Dried Thyme
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1¼ C. Vegetable Stock
- 2 Tbs. Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tbs. Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 1 Tbs. Spelt Flour (or Flour of choice)
- Begin by making the mock potato topping. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the sliced garlic, and cook until it's slightly browned. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
- Meanwhile, place 1-2 inches of water in a large pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Place the chopped cauliflower in a steam basket in the pot. Cover and steam until it's fork tender (about 10-15 minutes).
- In a food processor, combine the garlic-infused oil, cauliflower, cannellini beans, vegetable broth, and chives, and puree until mostly smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed, and season it with salt and pepper.
- Set the cauliflower and bean topping aside while you prepare the filling.
- Chop the carrots, parsnips, 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 broth, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, and flour. Whisk the mixture until the flour is well-incorporated and no lumps remain.
- Once the vegetables are tender, add the seitan and gravy and continue to saute on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the vegetable filling and gravy to a deep casserole dish.
- Drop spoonfuls of the mashed cauliflower and bean topping over the filling and spread it out with a spatula.
- Make some small peaks and valleys in the topping so it will brown a bit on the peaks.
- Broil the dish on low for 15 minutes.
- Remove and enjoy!
You can sub in something like tofu, lentils, or chickpeas in place of the seitan or tempeh. However, the topping is relatively high in protein from the cannellini beans, so you can also omit this entirely and simply use vegetables.