There are many versions of vegan and vegetarian shepherd’s pie, but I can honestly promise that this one is the best. The combination of wine, tomato paste, and miso creates the deep flavour usually lacking from meatless meals. I’ve served this dish to dedicated carnivores and vegans alike, and the reaction is always one of pure joy. Feel free to half the recipe, since the ingredients listed below make enough shepherd’s pie to feed between 10 and 15 people.
Ingredients – Lentils
- 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 5 bay leaves
Instructions – Lentils
Combine lentils, water, and bay leaves in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are cooked through. Remove the bay leaves.
Ingredients – Filling
- ¼ cup oil
- 3 onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cup sweet potato, diced
- 24 oz mushrooms (½ white button and ½ cremini), quartered
- 3 zucchini, chopped
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp dark miso
- 2 springs of fresh thyme, around 4 springs
- 1 cup red wine
- 1½ cup frozen corn
- Cooked lentils (remove the bay leaves)
- Salt (around 2 tsp)
Instructions – Filling
In a very large pan (mine is a 5.6 litre/6 quart sauce pan), heat the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, and zucchini. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, miso, thyme, wine, and corn, and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the lentils. Stir well, cover, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
Ingredients – Potatoes
- 10 cups potatoes, peeled, and quartered
- ¼ cup salt (yes, ¼ cup, trust me)
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 2 cups milk (I use unsweetened almond, but soy works just as well)
Instructions – Potatoes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt, then the potatoes. Cook for around 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and tender. Drain (and there goes the salt!). Heat the oil and milk, then pour over the potatoes and mash well. Taste for salt and pepper, but it shouldn’t need more
If the saucepan in which you made your lentil veggie mix is oven proof, simply top with the mashed potatoes. If it’s not, transfer the lentil veggie mix to a large baking dish, then top with the potatoes. Either way, run a fork through the potatoes to create ridges. These will get nice and crispy under the heat of the oven. Sprinkle with paprika (optional) for added colour. Bake at 375 for 30 or under the broiler for 10 minutes. You’re looking for the top to darken slightly in colour.
This also freezes beautifully. You could make it in two casserole dishes, eat one right away, and freeze one for later. It reheats easily—I recommend using the microwave, then the oven for mashed potato crispiness since it takes forever to warm in the oven alone.