Shepherd’s Pie

This is the very altered version of the Upside Down Lentil Shepherd’s Pie from Appetite for Reduction. I changed it so much, I sorta think it’s my recipe, but I’d like to give credit for what inspired it. Needless to say, this was totally tasty, and I think the outstanding part was the horseradish mashed potatoes.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on your hunger level):

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms (button or baby bella)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3/4 cup TVP, not rehydrated
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 T earth balance (or another vegan margarine)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup unmilk
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • salt to taste

Good grief, that seems like a lot of ingredients! But this really isn’t difficult at all. First, start your water  boiling for the potatoes, and plop those in. If you want it to go faster, chop them up a little first. When the water begins to boil, start prepping the body of the pie.

Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil in it. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, carrots, zucchini and mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the spices, salt and pepper to taste, and the broth, liquid aminos, TVP and water. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes, until most (if not all) of the liquid has been absorbed. Throw in the peas and turn off the heat.

In the meantime, your potatoes should be fork tender. Drain the water from the pot, and add in your margarine, horseradish, 1 T of nutritional yeast, and salt. Mash the potatoes with a large fork or with a potato masher. Add the unmilk until you have very nice, creamy mashed potatoes.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour the veggies & TVP into a casserole dish (mine is about 9×6, it fit perfectly). Top with the mashed potatoes. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes have set and have a slightly golden color. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining nutritional yeast.


Chickpeas & Dumplings

I really wish I could take credit for this idea. But Happy Herbivore beat me to it. It appears you can just replace chicken in almost any dish with chickpeas, and have awesome results. I need to make buffalo chickpeas asap! Seriously. I will get on that.

Anyway, my version didn’t look a THING like the picture in the cookbook. Probably because I really piled on the veggies, and didn’t have the same texture of sauce. And because I used just straight veggie broth instead of making her broth powder mixture. I don’t have time to mess with making my own broth powder. Especially when I have access to great low-sodium organic veggie broth. How can you go wrong with that?

So that’s probably what accounts for the darker color. Also, I opted to just throw in the spices she lists as her “poultry blend” since I keep them on hand. And I finally got to use the rosemary that’s been growing out back for ages! Why don’t vegans use rosemary more? I have TONS.

The only issue I had with this meal (which was fantastic, by the way) was the texture of the dumplings. I’m wondering if it’s a regional thing, because I’m used to the ones that are more like biscuits. You either set them on the top and boil them, or shove the whole thing in the oven and bake it a little like a pot pie. This was more like spätzle, and dumplings were kinda firm and a tad rubbery. Did I over mix them? Who knows. I’ll try it again, but I’m not sure quite how to fix that.

Seitan and Cabbage? Inconceivable!

Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. 

But really, from the outside this dinner seems like it would taste weird. Like some sort of vegan nightmare of seitan, cabbage, and brown rice. I think it’s what omni’s fear that vegan eating is like. And even as I’m assembling it (and I’ve made this dish over and over), I think to myself–this can’t possibly taste good? Right? Braised cabbage?

But it does! IT DOES. This is one of my favorite recipes from Appetite for Reduction. I can’t get enough of it. And it is so incredibly simple, and is made up of just a handful of super simple ingredients. How is it possible? HOW?






Super Bowl Week!…the gravy bowl

Don’t you wish there was an actual Bowl game called “The Gravy Bowl”? I would so watch that. And I do not understand football. Do not try to explain it to me. I will not get it.

This isn’t like the Indiana Jones ride, you can look into the gravy bowl’s eyes and not head to your doom. Seriously, this was AMAZING. I took the time to steam the tempeh (always steam the tempeh) and the marinade rocked it. Actually, this marinade was very close to one I used to make for chicken, so it had a familiar taste to it. But better! So much better! And the gravy.

I want to take a moment of silence for that gravy.

Creamy, salty, rich…oh, gravy. GRAVY! You are always gravy to me. Also, perfect brown rice again, people. And decent sautéed mushrooms (they were sadly cold by the time I got everything together–should have made them last). And there it is, my old frienemy kale. I know you’re good for me. But eating you makes me feel like I’m chewing on old newspaper. When I make this again (and I WILL) I’ll probably use asparagus instead of kale, because who doesn’t need more asparagus in their life?

Recipes found in Appetite for Reduction. Except for the mushrooms, which you make like this–

Sautéed Mushrooms:

  • 1&1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (any kind you like)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp thyme (if you aren’t putting this on something else with thyme in it)
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Oil up your pan with some cooking spray and set to medium-high. I use cast iron, because it rocks. Toss in the mushrooms, and let them get browned on one side. Don’t touch! Now, stir them about and throw in your garlic. Keep cooking until both garlic and mushrooms are a little brown (but don’t burn the garlic, it will taste horrible). Add the thyme, salt & pepper, and stir it for a few seconds. Add the white wine to the center of the pan, and watch to make sure it cooks out. Remove from pan and use to top something delicious.

A Ticking Thyme Bomb

…or how I stopped reading directions and learned to love two tablespoons of dried thyme. Yep.

And what are those strange meteorite-like purple and green orbs perched on the side of the bowl? Sweet Potato Biscuits! I usually make them with the regular orange variety yam, but our market is currently offering delicious organic purple hawaiian sweet potatoes. How can I walk by those and not pick them up? I wasn’t expecting the green splotches, but I feel like I could bust these out again at Halloween. Stick an olive and a pretzel stick in there, and you’ve got yourself a one-eyed one-horned flying purple sweet potato biscuit.

My favorite part? My daughter looking at them when they popped out of the oven and yelling, “Eww mama! No eat!”

Back to the stew. The stew! Literally the last step of the recipe is to add two tablespoons of fresh thyme. Anyone who knows anything about cooking can tell you that dried herbs=stronger than fresh herbs. Unless your dried herbs are 1,000 years old. In which case they will taste like mummy’s balls.

So, yeah, look at me in a rush–two-year-old running around screaming, husband at a meeting, and I just see thyme on the recipe and toss it in. ARGH! We still ate it, he said it tasted good. But I guess I’ll have to start trusting that gut instinct when a measurement sounds crazy.

Recipes courtesy of Appetite for Reduction.