Mock Mashed Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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.

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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.

Vegan Mock Mashed Potatoes Follow Me on Pinterest

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…

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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.

Mock Mashed Potato Shepherd's Pie Follow Me on Pinterest

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!

Faux Mashed Potato Shepherd's Pie Follow Me on Pinterest

Mock Mashed Potato Shepherd's Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Meal, Casserole
Serves: 6-8
For the Mock Mashed Potatoes:
  • 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
For the Vegetable Filling:
  • 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
For the Gravy:
  • 1¼ C. Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tbs. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbs. Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 Tbs. Spelt Flour (or Flour of choice)
  1. Begin by making the mock potato topping. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced garlic, and cook until it's slightly browned. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1-2 inches of water in a large pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  4. Place the chopped cauliflower in a steam basket in the pot. Cover and steam until it's fork tender (about 10-15 minutes).
  5. 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.
  6. Set the cauliflower and bean topping aside while you prepare the filling.
  7. Chop the carrots, parsnips, celery, mushrooms, and onion into bite-sized pieces.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Once the vegetables are tender, add the seitan and gravy and continue to saute on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Transfer the vegetable filling and gravy to a deep casserole dish.
  12. Drop spoonfuls of the mashed cauliflower and bean topping over the filling and spread it out with a spatula.
  13. Make some small peaks and valleys in the topping so it will brown a bit on the peaks.
  14. Broil the dish on low for 15 minutes.
  15. Remove and enjoy!
Feel free to use whatever vegetables you like for your shepherd’s pie. Peas and corn would also be great, but whatever you have on hand will probably work. 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.


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  1. says

    this looks delicious! i’ve been wanting to make a shepherd’s pie for ages now and i believe this is the inspiration i finally need. the topping looks fabulous!

  2. Audrey says

    This looks fabulous! I’m definitely going to have to be making this. I’ve made your mock mashed potato recipe before, and it tastes so similar to mashed potatoes. I almost think I like it more. It works great without any oil, too. Thanks for the great recipes!

    • says

      I’m so glad you like the mock mashed potatoes! It always amazes me how similar it tastes to the real deal. Next time I’m going to have to try it without any oil.

  3. says

    I’m pretty sure that you know my feelings about your sweet potato shepherd’s pie. I can’t WAIT to make this one! I think I’ll have to save the leftover seitan that I made so that I can use it for this! I’m so tempted to make it tonight, but made myself promise that I won’t go the grocery store again until Saturday. :(
    We’ll see if I can keep that promise…

    • says

      I’ve been on a brief grocery store hiatus too. We spent more than usual last week, so I’m trying to use up everything before re-stocking. Aaron has less tolerance for the semi-weird food combos though. :)

  4. says

    Hi Amanda:

    It looks delish! Alas, some of the ingredients are unavailable in KSA, so I will file this recipe away until I’m back in the USA. Thanks again for sharing and have a fantastic weekend. :)

  5. says

    I’m impressed that you have managed to make a casserole look beautiful and delicious! I swear that is one of the hardest things to do. Cant wait to try this.

  6. Deb says

    Tried this out last night on my boyfriend and he loved it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Will be adding this to my recipe book! P.S On a side note, I used GF tempeh and Bragg’s Amino Acid instead of regular soy sauce for the gravy(due to my celiac).

  7. says

    This looks like one of those recipes that will satisfy both me and my carnivorous loved ones. I really like that it isn’t loaded with gobs of fat and oil, yet still looks rich and comforting. Adding this to my holiday entertaining recipes!

    • says

      Don’t you just love comfort food that isn’t loaded with fat and oil? :) I hope you and your family enjoy it, Shana! You could even add in something like soy crumbles or Gardein if you’re catering to folks who are really attached to the meat aspect of traditional shepherd’s pie.

  8. says

    this looks so, so delicious and homey! i’m going to include it in my december round up feature (the cat’s meow). i’ve been wanting an excuse to finally make mashed cauliflower + this will be my first xmas with the bf’s family and it looks like the perfect thing to make them! thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Thanks for including my recipe in your round up (love the name too :) )! It was a big hit with my family. I hope your bf and his family enjoy it too!

  9. Nicole says

    I have been vegan for years and never tried making cauliflower mashed potatoes until I found this. I must say they are delicious!!! I make my own shepards pie and have been looking to cut back on potatoes so I used this cauliflower recipe today and I’m in heaven!!!!

    • says

      Thanks, Nicole! I’m glad you liked the recipe! I’ve found that most people have no idea they’re not even eating potatoes when I make it. Love that!


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