Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I’m very happy to announce that we raised $7,234 dollars (and climbing!) for the Japan Disaster Fundraiser!! I am absolutely blown away and touched by your generosity. I never dreamed that this much money was possible in just over a day’s time. This money is going to help many in need!
I’m currently working on the Excel document for the giveaway (it’s taking me longer than planned!) and I will be sure to update this post later today when I have the winners selected, so be sure to check back.
To me, St. Patty’s Day is the final hurrah of comfort food for the Winter season. Spring is right around the corner (4 days, but who’s counting?), and after today, we will gradually shift to lighter fare in hopes that the weather follows suit.
We are actually being blessed with beautiful Spring weather too! I’m hoping the snow will be gone by tomorrow.
But, today, it’s all about the warm comfort food to bid farewell to Old Man Winter.
Last night we paid tribute to our Irish roots with this delicious vegan shepherd’s pie with gravy. I wonder what our Irish relatives would think of a vegan shepherd’s pie? I’ll have to make it for them if we make it to Ireland this year! Eric was actually happy to have a vegan version because he is not a fan of ground meat, which is traditionally used in this dish.
It was not only the first time I have made a vegan version of this classic dish, but it was also the first time I have ever made a shepherd’s pie, period! It turns out that it isn’t so scary after all, unless of course you are afraid of using a knife. I’m not going to sugar coat this, this recipe requires a lot of peeling and chopping so be warned.
But, it was worth the effort, resulting in an extremely comforting and delicious dish.
Adapted from Choosing Raw.
For the mashed potatoes
- 3 lb. potatoes (I used a bag of organic red potatoes), peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance, or equivalent
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used soy)
- 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
For the vegetable filling
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled & small dice
- 2 parsnips (or other root vegetable), peeled & small dice
- 4 celery stalks, small dice
- 1 cup, full sodium vegetable broth (or more as needed)
- 1/4 cup red wine (or more broth)
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste + black pepper
- 3 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
- Preheat oven to 425°F and lightly oil a 2.5 quart/2.3 litre casserole dish. Place peeled and chopped potatoes into a large pot and add water, 2 inches above potatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about 30 minutes until very tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetable filling. Chop the onion and mince the garlic and add to a skillet along with the oil. Cook on low for about 5-7 minutes. Now add in the chopped carrots, parsnip, and celery. Cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.
- When the potatoes are done cooking, drain and add back to the pot. Add the Earth Balance (or butter), milk, and seasonings and mash well. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients (broth, red wine (optional), thyme, and flour). Add this liquid mixture to the vegetables in the skillet and stir well. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or so until thickened. Season to taste.
- Scoop vegetable mixture into casserole dish. Spread on the mashed potato mixture and garnish with paprika, ground pepper, and Thyme. Bake at 425°F for about 35 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Mixture will be very hot in the middle so be careful! I suggest serving this with All-Purpose Vegan Gravy.
Suggestion: Serve with All-Purpose Vegan Gravy
I adapted this recipe from the lovely Gena over at Choosing Raw. Her version is a bit different than mine, using mushrooms. I didn’t have any mushrooms on hand (grocery store was out of them!), so I made do without.
Again, lots of chopping for this recipe…but keep your eye on the prize! You could always make this process go faster by using a food processor too.
Add the the oil, onion, and garlic into the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.
Now add in the carrots, parsnips, and celery and cook on low for about 10 minutes or so.
Make the boozy broth. It wouldn’t be a St Patty’s Day meal with out a little booze!
After mixing the seasonings, flour, broth, and wine together in a bowl, add it into the veggie mixture and cook on medium for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes and set aside.
By this point, your veggie filling will have thickened up nicely. It shouldn’t have too much liquid in it at this point. If for some reason your mixture is dried out, you can add a bit more broth as needed.
Pour it into a 2.5 quart/2.3 litre casserole dish.
Spread mashed potatoes on top and garnish with paprika, Thyme, and black pepper.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden, at 425F. The veggie mixture will bubble around the edges!
And it will be SUPER HOT, so please cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving…tongues will burn. Trust me on this one. ;)
I highly recommend making the vegan gravy to go along with it as it complemented this dish really well.
I think this was a good first attempt at making a vegan shepherd’s pie. When I make it next time, I might add in a layer of my ‘veggie meat’ made with mashed beans, chopped walnuts, and seasonings, similar to the one used in my taco salad. I think it would give it a great texture!
Tonight we enjoy leftovers!
I’ll leave you with some fun Irish proverbs to kick off St. Patty’s Day…
Never bolt the door with a boiled carrot. (hahah)
Man is incomplete until he marries. After that, he is finished.
It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for.
Don’t break your shin on a stool that is not in your way.
If you dig a grave for others, you might fall into it yourself.
May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.