Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is my version of the Irish classic. Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie is an Irish meat pie with a potato crust. It is quite hearty and a nice change even if you’re not a vegetarian. Historically, this was a great way to use up leftovers. I have been meaning to try my own recipe for a long time, and finally did on the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day.
Vegetarian versions use many options for the mince like lentils, TVP, quorn etc. I am sticking to Tofu in my vegetarian Shepherd’s pie. Tofu is great because it is not as artificial as soya granules, and it absorbs the flavors you add.
Paneer might be a good option here, but Paneer does retain a little of its own inherent taste.
The recipe for vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is as follows –
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie is my version of the Irish classic. Recipe uses tofu for the mince. My recipe for vegetarian Shepherd's pie is hearty and meaty but meatless.
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 1 yellow or red pepper chopped
- ½ cup fresh garlic crushed or minced
- 2 packs firm tofu – 500 g
- 2 cups green peas
- 12-15 medium potatoes
- 1-2 Tbspn fresh black pepper
- 3-4 Tbsp oil
- 1 stick butter
- ½ cup cream or whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream or yogurt
- 1 cup tomato sauce or
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp AP flour or maida
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 2 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
- ½ cup white wine
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- Fresh parsley optional
- Fill a large pot with water and set to boil. Scrub and peel potatoes and cut in quarters. Add to the water.
- Chop all vegetables and crush the garlic or chop it finely.
- Wash and drain the tofu. In a thick bottomed sauté pan, add a couple Tbsp oil and crumbled tofu. Keep stirring until all the liquid is absorbed and tofu browns a bit. Transfer and set aside.
- Take the rest of the oil in the same pan. Add garlic and let it brown a bit. Add onion, carrot, celery. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the liquid from the mushrooms is absorbed. Add the peppers. Add seasonings, pepper and a little salt. Add a splash or 2 of wine to deglaze the pan. Cook out the wine.
- Add the flour and stir a bit until the mixture looks homogenous. Now add the browned tofu and combine well.
- Add tomato paste and the stock or water. Stir well. The mixture will thicken immediately. Switch off the heat and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain all water. Add the milk/cream, yogurt/sour cream and quarter stick of butter. Add salt and pepper. Mash until creamy.
- Add the peas to the hot water from the potatoes. Drain them after 2-3 minutes and add salt while warm.
- Now assemble the pie in a casserole or pie dish. I always use my Pyrex bakeware for this. Set the oven to preheat at 180-200 degrees depending on your oven. That is 350F.
- Add some butter to the bottom of the casserole dish, just as you would grease a cake pan. Add the whole tofu scramble to the bottom. Spread evenly to form a layer.
- Add the green peas on top to form another layer.
- Add mashed potatoes on top of the peas. Seal all the sides tightly with the potato mash, so that no steam will escape from the bottom. You can create as thick a layer as you want. The best is to have the same thickness as the mince.
- Create peaks on the potatoes with a spatula or just press down with the flat side of the fork like when you crimp.This creates a pretty pattern when the potatoes brown.
- Now dot the top with small chunks of butter all over. This will give a nice rich brown crust.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until bubbly and heated through. Turn the broiler on at the end if needed until the top becomes brown and crunchy.
- Allow to cool and settle for a few minutes. Garnish with some finely chopped parsley.
- Serve with a side of any vegetable or bread or just on its own.
I am not sure if I got the flavors right here since I have never actually tasted Shepherd’s pie. But the mince had a well rounded taste and no particular flavor stood out. If I didn’t use a herb blend, fresh parsley and some rosemary would be my other herbs of choice.
So try this vegetarian version out and let me know how it turns out. This vegetarian Shepherd’s pie is definitely filling and falls in the comfort food category for me, with all those creamy potatoes.