Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
A recipe for a vegan shepherd’s pie.
Another abitmoreveg recipe. The base (filling) of this pie is gluten-free (I thought yeast-extract wasn’t gluten-free – it is) but as it’s topped with a herb-crust I can’t tag it gluten free. I actually prefer this filling to later abitmoreveg shepherd’s pie I made – but I much prefer the potato topping of the later one.
There are lots of great vegetarian dishes using herbs and spices to create interesting flavour profiles. But it isn’t so easy to find good vegetarian versions of comforting, earthy and, speaking plainly, bland traditional dishes like Shepherd’s Pie. Shepherd’s Pie is made to make the best of leftover meat, nothing special, just meat and veg in a gravy, topped with creamy mashed potato. Not complicated, not fancy but still so satisfying. With the list of ingredients and instructions below you might be thinking that the vegan version is more complicated. It’s not, but it does take quite a long time to make – about 2 hours and a half! – though for at least half that time you are off doing something else while you wait for things to cook. Is it still comforting and satisfying enough to be worth it? Yes, I think so.
As I mention, throughout the site, I’m not vegetarian, but I was for a while in my teens and I remember people giving me recipes that listed among the ingredients yeast extract. I had no idea what yeast extract might be, decided it must be some hard to get “foodie” item and dismissed all thoughts of attempting the recipes or trying to find yeast extract. I survived mostly on mashed potato and peas at the time – a very unhealthy vegetarian. Anyway in case you are also wondering just what yeast extract is, it is not at all a foodie item it is more commonly known by its brand name – either Marmite or Vegemite (both Marmite and Vegemite are vegan-friendly). I used to think that Marmite and Vegemite were just different brands of Bovril because they all taste very similar but Bovril is actually beef extract – and this is why yeast extract can make a very suitable substitute for dark meaty flavours in food.
Often when I make this I will make it vegetarian rather than vegan making the mashed potato with milk and butter and topping with cheddar cheese. I love it; it’s as comforting as a comfort blanket and you will just want to sleep afterwards. Perfect dish for the winter. I’d strongly recommend making it this way – with vegan versions of those products if you’re vegan. But if you want to do more then drift off into a cozy snooze then the vegan version is definitely the better option, and it is certainly much lower in saturated fat. The vegan version is the heart-healthy version and although the topping is much lighter it still tastes pretty great. I thought so at the time but I only made the vegan topping a couple of times which means I wasn’t crazy about it.
So there is obviously a lot of veg in this dish, so you know it’s packed with the good stuff and there are also Puy lentils. Lentils aren’t just good for your health, they are great for your pocket too as they taste great, provide great filling and depth to dishes like stews and pies but they are so much cheaper than meat and have a long shelf life. And they really are good for you, they are full of vegetarian protein (this means it’s not complete protein so it must be combined with another wholegrain source of protein to make it complete), full of fibre and they are a rich source of folate, copper, phosphorus, and manganese, while also providing good amounts of iron and zinc.