Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Growing up, at school, church, and at home we ate corned beef and cabbage on this Irish and religious holiday. However, I have recently come to find out that there is nothing Irish about corned beef and cabbage, and that Shepherds’ Pie has always been and still is a staple of traditional Irish cooking. Shepherd’s Pie is basically a layered casserole with a veggie and meat mixture topped with mashed potatoes, thrown in the oven until the potatoes are browned. Traditionally, ground lamb or beef is used in the meat mixture, but of course, I create my own type of soy-free, plant-based meat using nourishing whole foods: cooked quinoa, mushrooms, and walnuts. Broken down in a food processor, this plant-based mixture eerily resembles traditional ground meat.
To be honest, there is nothing traditional about my version of Shepherd’s Pie. I use a garlicky cauliflower potato puree instead of mashed potatoes. My recipe also includes olives, which brightens up the dish with a bit of a zing and adds a nice salty flavor. Additionally, I add sun-dried tomatoes for meatiness, a little sweetness, and more richness in flavor. I really love the chewy texture of sun-dried tomatoes. Without these two ingredients, I feel the pie would be a little flat. My partner in kitchen crime, Davin, suggested I add a layer of vegan cheddar cheese between the layers of meat veg filling and cauliflower potato puree, and that idea was a perfect addition. Why did he suggest it? Think about it, “hamburger meat, potatoes, and cheese”, then to kick it up a notch, we ate it with a few drops of hot sauce and a drizzle of ketchup, and it was delicious.
Cook this dish any time of year, on the weekend for the week. You can freeze and reheat, and even make little cupcake pies for kids.
Hope you and your loved ones enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
On St. Patrick’s Day, make it extra festive with GT’s Multi-Green Kombucha! Have it on its own, or make cocktails by adding a little pineapple juice and vodka!
Cheers to healthy eating and drinking!
Shepherd’ s Pie
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Garlicky Cauliflower Potato Puree
1 large head garlic, top sliced off
3 cups cauliflower
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ tsp sea salt
2 cups quinoa, cooked
½ cup walnuts
2 cups crimini mushrooms
1 Tbsp oil, optional
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp oat flour (gluten-free, can sub with any gluten-free flour)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock
1 ½ Tbsp vegan worchestershire sauce
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
½ cup corn kernels, frozen
½ cup fresh English peas
1/8-¼ tsp shakes cayenne pepper, depending on desired level of spiciness
¼ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp sundried tomatoes
4 Tbsp calamata olives, roughly chopped
Handful shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I like Follow Your Heart Brand)
Ketchup, as needed
Garlicky Cauliflower Potato Puree:
- Preheat oven to 400 degress F.
|2.||Slice off the top of a large head of garlic to expose the cloves inside. Place the head of garlic on a piece of foil, cut side up. Drizzle about 2-3 Tbsp vegetable stock and wrap it tightly in the foil. Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 30-35 minutes.|
|3.||Clean the cauliflower, removing the outer leaves and base. Peel and cut potatoes. In a medium saucepot, add 2 cups of vegetable stock, ¼ tsp sea salt, and the cauliflower. Set the pot over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes.|
|4.||Once the garlic has roasted, let it rest for at least 5 minutes. It will be hot. Carefully open the foil, pick up the bulb, and push the garlic cloves from the skin (peel), starting from the bottom up, pushing the roasted cloves out and into a blender.|
|5.||Strain the cauliflower potatoes and reserve the vegetable stock. Transfer the cauliflower to the blender. Add the remaining ¼ tsp sea salt. Add ½ of the reserved liquid. Blend just for just a few seconds. Don’t over-blend or potatoes will get gummy, and adjust the consistency. An immersion blender is best for this. Even a hand masher. If the puree is too thick, add more stock. If it’s too thin, try cooking the liquid out on the stovetop.|
|6.||Season to taste.|
While the potatoes and cauliflower are cooking, make the filling.
- In a food processor, combine the cooked quinoa, mushrooms, and walnuts. Process until it looks like ground meat. Set aside.
- Heat a large saute pan or pot, add the oil, heat it for about a minute, then add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Saute until it caramelizes (browns a little) and onions are translucent. If the veggies stick to the pan, add some water or veggie stock. Can also make this oil-free by water-sauteeing.
- Add the quinoa, mushroom, and walnut mixture, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, cayenne, black pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and saute for about 4 minutes.
- Add the flour and tomato paste and stir
- Add 1 cup of veggie broth (I use the vegetable broth that I used from steaming the cauliflower and potato)
- Stir in the corn and English peas and set aside.
In a casserole or deep pie dish, spread the filling evenly. Top with a handful (or more) vegan cheese (optional) and the cauliflower potato puree. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack fofr at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serve in bowls and top with a drizzle of ketchup and a few drops of hot sauce.
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