Food

Savory Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This classic main course—full of hearty, homey flavor—is even better minus the meat.

It's official—we're sugared out. If anyone at the VNHQ so much as glimpses another square of fudge, wax-paper-wrapped caramel, bite of cinnamon bun, slice of gingerbread, tidbit of truffle, or crumb of cake, we're just going to explode. Forget visions of sugarplums, give us mirages of mashed potatoes, simmering pots of steaw, and all the savory gravy we can handle. Oh, maybe there just happens to be a recipe that combines all three of those things, and maybe it's exactly what we're craving after the in-no-way subtle sweetness of the holiday season. This classic Shepherd's Pie combines the best of all things non-sweet, and boasts a blend of vegetables and spices beneath a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes. We could put Good Gravy on pretty much anything—no, really, see if you don't raise an eyebrow when contemplating your morning oatmeal the day after you make this gravy. Speaking of the day after, this recipe is a fantastic repository for vegetables that might be hanging around after a big holiday meal. If you're up to your ears in Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, or even roasted squash, feel free to toss what you've got on hand into the mix.
Serves 4
What You Need:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) package frozen vegetarian burger crumbles
  • 1-1⁄2 cups Good Gravy (recipe follows)
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1⁄4 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1⁄2 cup soymilk
What You Do:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Cover and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the burger crumbles, gravy, peas, tamari, thyme, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water until soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and mash with soymilk and salt. Spoon the filling mixture into a lightly oiled baking dish. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes on top and drizzle with remaining oil. Bake until filling is hot and top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Good Gravy
You'll wonder why anyone would ever eat naked mashed potatoes again after whipping up this easy, savory gravy. Less intense than mushroom-based gravies, this one adds just the right touch of decadence to your meal, without overpowering the other flavors on your plate.
Makes 2½ cups
What You Need:
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • 1⁄4 cup soymilk
What You Do:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the broth, tamari, thyme, salt, and pepper over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the soymilk. Do not boil. Taste to adjust the seasonings before serving.

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