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Look at these photos; doesn’t that dish look hearty and meaty?  That’s because it is, but without a trace of meat!  Shepherd’s Vegetarian Pie is a perfect family dinner recipe for both vegetarians and their meat eating loved ones!

This post and its photos were updated February 19, 2018.

A dinner consisting of Shepherd’s Pie was never a common occurrence for me as a child, and even my adult life didn’t see much of it.  Even though Shepherd’s Pie is such a classic dish – and so common in North American households – it just wasn’t something I was exposed to.

My mom would prepare dishes that were similar to a Shepherd’s Pie, but not quite.  Her dish had the ground beef, gravy, and veggies, but they were not assembled like a pie; it was more a casserole of sorts.

A few years ago, I met someone who, quite frankly, made a great tasting Shepherd’s Pie, but it was extremely simple.  They would use ground beef, mashed potatoes, and canned cream corn.  There were a few other ingredients and seasonings, but that was the jest of it.

Fast forward to sharing a home with the vegetarian, and the ground beef is out of the question.  Luckily, a good Shepherd’s Pie can still be had by substituting the ground beef with textured vegetable protein, or by adding lentils.  You can really pile in the veggies when preparing this dish, and best of all, robust, rustic, root vegetables will work best.

I have to tell you, when John.e and I moved in together back in early 2013, I really don’t think I was as prepared as I thought I was to live with a vegetarian.  I’m a Newfoundlander; vegetarianism was unheard of!

It was February 8th.  Right in the middle of a snow storm.  I remember our moving truck being stuck in the snow and we had to shovel it out.  What a nightmare!  I remember thinking that the storm was a sign and that I should back out of the move.

Fast forward to present day, there are still a few times that I wish I had backed out, not because he’s not awesome and great, but because the vegetarian thing is very hard to deal with sometimes.

If you’re a meat eater, and the person in your home that is responsible for preparing all of the meals, you must know what I’m talking about!  It can be so frustrating – not only when preparing recipes for a weeknight dinner either.  Imagine what we go through when deciding on a restaurant!!

Oh, and ordering take out or food delivery is grounds for divorce – not to mention bankruptcy.  Take for example a pizza.  We have to order two, because he’s vegetarian and I am not.  I refuse to eat pizza without pepperoni, and he refuses to eat pizza without black olives.  That can get rather expensive!

But, with Shepherd’s Vegetarian Pie, we have found common ground.  We both love it so much.  And so does McKenna, which is a blessing, because she’s quite the picky eater as well.

Now, Dear Reader, this dish is messy.  The veggie and gravy mixture will bubble up during the baking time and spill out, which is why it’s important to place the skillet onto a baking sheet.  But, you want that gravy to bubble up and get all thick and caramelized around the edge – that’s my favourite part!

This recipe makes a large pie, but you can cut all of the ingredients in half if you want to make a smaller version.  This recipe is very forgiving, so you can adjust very easily.  Enjoy, Dear Reader!

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Shepherd's Vegetarian Pie

Look at these photos; doesn't that dish look hearty and meaty?  That's because it is, but without a trace of meat!  Shepherd's Vegetarian Pie is a perfect family dinner recipe for both vegetarians and their meat eating loved ones!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North American, Vegetarian
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 333kcal
Author: Lord Byron's Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 small carrots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn, frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups green peas, frozen
  • 16 ounces Morning Star Veggie Crumbles, or your favourite brand
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled, chopped, and boiled until fork tender
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for two additional minutes.
  • Add the water and allow to cook until the water has evaporated.
  • Add the veggie crumbles, green peas, corn, tomato paste, salt and ground black pepper. Stir together, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.
  • Next, let's move on to the gravy. Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel, and return to the heat on a medium setting. Add the butter and melt until bubbling.  Sprinkle over the flour and whisk into the butter.  Allow the butter to cook the flour until the mixture turns a light golden colour. 
  • Add the thyme and rosemary, and slowly add the veggie stock one cup at a time, whisking well to incorporate and get out the lumps.
  • While continuing to whisk, slowly add the veggie stock one cup at a time, and finally, whisk in the soy sauce. Reduce heat to a low simmer and allow the gravy to thicken. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and pour into a large bowl to cool.
  • Whisk in the soy sauce. Reduce heat to a low simmer and allow the gravy to thicken. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • In the meantime, mash the boiled potatoes until very smooth - you will want no lumps at all. Add the butter, milk, a dash of salt and pepper and mix together. Set aside.
  • Add the veggie crumble mixture back to the skillet with the gravy.  (If you prefer a dryer bottom to your Shepherd's Pie, you can remove a cup or so of the gravy before adding the veggie crumble mixture.) Stir together well and smooth out the top so that the gravy and veggie mixture is even.
  • Spoon the mashed potatoes over top of the gravy and using an off-set spatula, smooth the potatoes over the gravy mixture until completely covered.  
  • Transfer the skillet to a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Switch from bake to broil to brown up the potatoes on top. Watch carefully as they can burn very easily. You can leave the skillet under the broiler for as long as you want - the desired 'brownness' is up to your personal tastes.
  • Remove from oven. Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 1065mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 84.7% | Vitamin C: 36.2% | Calcium: 7.6% | Iron: 43.3%

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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. This looks like a great recipe. I do like a good Shepherds Pie. I will try this but will use my home made Seitan/gluten instead of a TVP based product. I used to use it but stopped when I found out about the toxic chemical process that went into making it.
    1. Mary, would you believe me if I told you that it took me sooooooooooo long to do that. It should have been a breeze, but I didn't have the right size tip for my pastry bag. Live and learn. :)
  2. I had no idea that Shepherd's Pie was so common in North America Byron. Like you, I too never had it growing up. As a matter of fact the first time I had it was when I was volunteering in Kenya on a conservancy near the foothills of Mount Kenya. The Masaii chef prepared it one night to cater to the tastes of the European scientists ( I was kind of shocked to see it show up on the table in the Kenya bush) that were at the conservancy. That said, I think your Shepherd's Pie is absolutely stunning. I love the little swirl of potatoes that crown the top . .it gives it such an elegant flair.
    1. Hi Lynn! Yes, very much so! My mom never made it much, but I have friends and family who have had it as a regular part of their dinner rotation since they were kids. And, thank you for your kind words. "Elegant Flair!" :)
  3. I grew up on Shepherd's Pie, but I've never had a vegetarian version. I'm sure it still tastes so comforting, though. I love the 'crust' you got going on there.
    1. I've had both the meat and vegetable versions, and I actually prefer the vegetarian version over the meat. It's nice to actually taste the vegetables rather than them being masked by the flavour of ground beef.
  4. Shepherds pie and Cottage pie were weekly occurrences on our dinner table when I was a wee nipper, this looks glorious... I've got a veggie version similar to this in my arsenal that I use lentils for and it tastes wonderful.
  5. Not a fan of "fake meat" since I am a meat eater, however most of my friends are veggies. I am always struggling to find things to take to our potluck dinners and I think this would be a hit. How would I incorporate lentils instead of the "fake meat"?
    1. Hi kdoe1 - thanks for stopping by! The textured vegetable protein is a great product if you can find the right brand, but I'm well aware of the fact that some people just do not like the taste. If you were to substitute lentils, which I think would be a lovely idea, I would just use pre-cooked lentils and add it to the recipe in step three. I have used lentils in soups and stews before and I find that the cooked canned lentils are a great way to save some time. Since step three in the recipe is just a warming through step, canned lentils would work well and would not break down in the cooking process. Please come back and let me know how it works out for you; I'd love to hear about it! Cheers!
        1. Made it with the lentils last night and it was amazing! It was so good that my boys only left a little container in the fridge. My boys are very active and after practices and games they need hearty meals.The lentil veggie mix will work for replacing meat in lots of my recipes. Thanks again.
          1. I'm so happy the hear that! You've now inspired me to remake this dish using lentils too. Thanks for letting me know how the recipe turned out. Drop by again real soon. Cheers!
  6. I never grew up around Shepherd's Pie either, I think all the meat freaked me out a bit as I was very picky growing up... but this makes me want to indulge! There's not meat to scare me away! haha. Looks delicious!!
    1. Thanks, Hillary. To be honest, piping on the potatoes was the worst! I had the wrong tip for my piping bag, so I had to apply extra pressure. My hands were killing me. LOL

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