I found out recently that my husband is a big fan of shepherd's pie. I suppose the subject never really came up before because when I met him, I was a long time vegetarian. The occasion for the conversation was a take-out meal from a vegan restaurant that had a version of shepherd's pie on the menu. Traditionally, shepherd's pie is neither vegetarian nor vegan. Technically not a pie as there is no pastry involved, it's more like a casserole. The usual components are a ground meat base, such as beef or lamb, with vegetables and a topping of mashed potatoes. It's inexpensive to make and one that many remember from their childhood as classic comfort food.
There are endless ways to prepare shepherd's pie, and after trying the vegan version from the restaurant, I decided I was going to come up with a vegetarian variation of this classic that also happens to be vegan. The one we ordered was just too bland for my liking. For extra flavor and flair, and to suit my tastes, I decided to curry it up and decided upon Puy lentils, carrots, parsnips, tomato and spinach as the base of the dish. I topped it with mashed potato and sweet potato. Because I have never made shepherd's pie before, I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I'm delighted to report it was even better than expected. The consistency of the base was just right — succulent and moist without too much of a liquid component, with some pleasant spicing — all tucked under a nicely browned potato crust. Served with a garam masala spiced portobello sauce thickened to the consistency of a gravy, this meal was pure comfort indeed, especially alongside some homemade biscuits.
And my husband's verdict? It was the tastiest shepherd's pie he'd ever eaten!
Notes: If I wasn't serving the casserole with mushroom sauce, I would have included some mushrooms as part of the bottom layer for the meaty texture they contribute. This pie can be spiced up or seasoned in any number of ways. It's a fun dish to experiment with.
|Curried Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Portobello Mushroom Sauce|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on December 10, 2014
A vegetarian take on the classic shepherd's pie comfort food made with lentils, vegetables, spinach and a light handful of curry seasonings topped with a light fluffy golden brown potato and sweet potato mash, all served with a savory portobello mushroom gravy
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More comforting potatoes dishes:
Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potato Curry)
Scalloped Potatoes with Best-Ever Mushroom Sauce
Parmesan Potato Puff
On the top of the reading stack: The Complete Coconut Cookbook: 200 Gluten-free, Grain-free and Nut-free Vegan Recipes Using Coconut Flour, Oil, Sugar and More by Camilla V. Saulsbury
Audio Accompaniment: Autechre