Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Herby Cauliflower Mash
Hands down this is the tastiest vegan meal I have ever made. I grew up on traditional shepherds pie, then my mum started using a pumpkin puree instead of white potato and now I have taken it one step further and completely thrown a nutritional bomb all over it! Is that a term? I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate cruciferous vegetables into my diet, they are absolutely foundational to healthy hormones as they help move our liver along to clear out all the excess hormones and toxins that can get re-circulated if not metabolised properly. So this herby cauliflower mash was a great topper, and had the same creamy, satisfying texture as potatoes.
Note: The little extra time put into caramelising the red onion at the start is well worth it! The sweet, tangy flavours lift the whole dish! The second note is I soaked my lentils for 6 hours prior to cooking them which meant they only needed 10 minutes to cook, plus they’re much easier to digest, especially for people with gut sensitivities. If you don’t soak them, they will need to be cooked for 25 minutes.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I had fun pulling it all together!
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 large cauliflower head (approx 800g), roughly chopped finely
1 Tbs Olive oil
2-3 Tbs dairy free milk (I use almond)
2 Tbs fresh diced herbs (I use basil and parsley)
1/2 tsp salt
Mushroom and lentil stew (the base):
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 large red onion sliced long
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs rapadura or coconut sugar
1 1/2 cup cooked brown lentils (follow cooking instructions or if stuck for time use tinned)
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
300g mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups vegetable stock
2 heaped Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp tamari (omit if soy free)
1 Tbs arrowroot flour mixed with 2 Tbs dairy free milk (this paste thickens the sauce)
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat, add red onion to pan and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes), ensure they don’t blacken or burn (you may need to turn the heat to low). Add balsamic vinegar and sugar and toss through onions. They will start to caramelise. Leave for further 5-10 minutes.
Add to pot garlic, Italian herbs, mushrooms and zucchini. Place lid on top and leave for 3 minutes or until mushrooms have softened. You may need to add a little extra oil or water to prevent veggies sticking to the pan.
Add to pot cooked lentils, tomato paste, tamari, vegetable stock and frozen peas, bring to boil then add in the arrowroot/milk paste. Stir for 3 minutes until sauce starts to thicken and become gravy like. Pour into prepared baking dish while you prepare the mash.
Steam cauliflower in a saucepan for 5-10 minutes until cauliflower is soft, but not overcooked. Place into a blender with all remaining mash ingredients except fresh herbs or use a stick blender to puree. Stir through fresh herbs before spreading on top of the mushroom mixture.
Drizzle dish with olive oil and place in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown.
Enjoy served straight from the oven with toasted pinenuts, parmesan (if you eat dairy) and more fresh herbs.
Certified Clinical Nutritionist // BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine