Here’s a recipe for vegetarian shepherds pie that is ridiculously easy to make and very satisfying. I made it twice in the past week with slight variations each time. The first time, I used four cheese instant mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese on top, and noticed that it needed something to “bind” the meat and vegetable mixture. The second time, I used sour cream and chive instant mashed potatoes and a blend of cheeses (pepperjack and cheddar) on top, and used a flour and milk mixture to bind the filling. Results were definitely better the second time, only because sour cream and cheddar mashed potatoes were less salty than the four cheese variety and the filling stayed together better from the addition of the flour and milk.
Feel free to make your own mashed potatoes, but I used instant since this recipe is designed to be a 30-minute meal and that’s what I had on hand. Same goes with the pie crust; make your own, use the kind available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, or omit it if you want to. You could replace the vegetarian soy “meat” crumbles with regular ground meat of any kind and still yield pretty good results. I would recommend the soy crumbles, anyway, because they are high in protein and low in fat, and there is not a significant flavour or texture difference between the soy crumbles and ground beef once other seasonings and ingredients are added. This recipe is relatively inexpensive to make and a great way to use up any leftovers you might have in your refrigerator or freezer; I typically buy a large bag of frozen mixed vegetables and use small amounts at a time, just to save time on chopping and buying all kinds of fresh vegetables, but I always try to use fresh onions and garlic. I typically don’t measure my ingredients for this, either, so I am going to give approximates.
Vegetarian-friendly Shepherds Pie
2 tbsp of oil or butter
1 cup of vegetarian soy meat crumbles (i.e. Morningstar Farms veggie meat crumbles)
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables (I used frozen corn, peas, and carrots)
1/2 cup of onions, diced (substitute onion powder if you don’t have any onions on hand)
1 tsp of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of milk
3 heaping teaspoons of flour
1 9in pie crust
2 cups of mashed potatoes
1/2 cup of your favourite cheese, coarsely grated
Pre-heat oven to 400* F. Prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions and set aside. Heat oil or butter in medium to large sized skillet and, once hot, saute soy crumbles with garlic, onions, (or onion powder), salt and pepper until browned. Add frozen vegetables and other seasonings of your choice (I use parsley, thyme, and a little bit of cayenne pepper) and saute until heated through, approximately 5 minutes. Mix milk and flour in small cup, then add to meat and vegetables in the skillet. Stirring the mixture until it comes together and thickens slightly, about a few minutes. Spoon mixture into prepared pie crust and top with mashed potatoes and grated cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes or the pastry and mashed potatoes are golden brown.