Shepherd’s Pie is one of England’s most popular meals, and cottage pie is similar (made with beef, rather than lamb). Both meals can easily be plant-based, you can opt for natural (lentils are often used) or faux meats (choose one free from palm oil and then just top with mashed potato made with palm-oil-free vegan butter. Serve with vegetables and vegan gravy.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie (So Vegan) is packed with nutrients for colder months, and uses yeast extract for deep flavour (soy sauce or tamari can be used instead) and some vegan cheese to the mashed topping.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Keep recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, mushrooms, fake meats – only give pets occasional mashed potato if from butter and salt).
As you may well imagine, the dish originated from a way to use up leftover meats, vegetables and potato. The popular name for plant-based versions is often ‘shepherdless pie!’ Most begin with a base of sauteeing onion, carrots and celery, to give a really nice flavour, before adding your lentils or vegan mince. Some cooks add garlic, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. A nice addition is vegan Worcestershire sauce – conventional brands may contain anchovies (fish).
Finally, ensure your mashed potato does not contain too much plant milk or vegan butter, as you need it to be firm enough to bake well. Steaming them and seasoning with salt and pepper is good, before you add the topping to your shepherd’s or cottage pie.
Shepherd’s pie (as the name suggests) was originally created to keep shepherds full in tough weather, while tending their flocks. It’s a real ‘man-food’ dish that is easily made with lentils, which are both kinder to animals and a lot cheaper. If you’ve never tried lentils before, do. They are super-tasty, and not just for Italian or Middle Eastern cuisine. Mashed potatoes are easy to make, and you can find many plant-based butters (without palm oil – look for Naturli brand in stores) to make the topping super-creamy.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (Rainbow Plant Life) is a hearty dish with lentil and sticky onion filling, topped with mashed potato and cauliflower.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (Running on Real Food) uses yellow potatoes cooked in plant milk, covering a mx of mushrooms, peas, corn, lentils and fresh herbs, with tamari (a more artisan soy sauce).
Home Delivered Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Here are some ready-made vegan shepherd’s and cottage pies, if you want to stock up your freezer. It’s best to make homemade, but not always possible. If ordering online, keep dry ice (and these meals, as they look like meat!) away from pets, and recycle packaging with household recycling, or supermarket bag bins.
- Allplants Shepherd’s Pie is a slow-cooked stew with crushed sweet potato topping, and paprika crumb.
- Root Kitchen Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty slow-braised dish made with black-eyed beans, lentils and veggies, with a comforting mashed potato top.
- Cook Food Shepherdless Pie is made with wine-infused red lentils, quinoa, mushrooms and rosemary, topped with sweet potato mash and roasted chickpeas. They suggest serving with a simple side of boiled peas with chopped parsley mixed through, a medley of steamed tenderstem broccoli, green beans and petit pois – or a baby spinach or watercress salad.
- Also look in stores for The Happy Pear shepherd’s pie (they also make a cottage pie). Both are made from wholesome ingredients, created by two talented Irish twins.