Thanksgiving dinner is my husband’s domain. Each year the menu is the same: turkey, roast potatoes and parsnips, steamed carrots, sage and onion stuffing, beef gravy, Yorkshire puddings.
He’s utterly set in his ways about it. When we first moved in together, he threw a fit because I cut the carrots into chunks instead of coins. After I asked him what the big deal was, he shooed me out of the kitchen.
And this is coming from a guy who is constantly on my case for being too Type A. I mean, even I’m not that fussy – I don’t give a hoot about the way my carrots are sliced!
Since that fateful carrot debacle, I have not been allowed to participate in Thanksgiving preparations, or even loiter near the kitchen while they’re in progress.
I am, however, given dispensation to make a vegetarian entrée. Usually, I throw something in the slow cooker, since oven space is at a premium. This year I was informed I would have some room in the oven to call my own, and at the last minute I decided to whip up a shepherd’s pie.
This impromptu recipe was shaped by the odds and ends I had in the fridge: half a bell pepper, chunks of squash from a giant butternut I’d been living off of all week, frozen veggies that were moments away from developing freezer burn.
I wasn’t intending to blog about this recipe, but it turned out so delightfully that halfway through the process I thought: Must. Get. Camera. Must. Write. This. Down.
Shepherd’s pie recipes are forgiving, and for this one you can easily:
- use any mix of vegetables and beans
- skip the spices, or use a pre-made chili powder
- substitute mashed pumpkin, butternut squash or cauliflower for the topping
- add your favourite gravy: I doused my pie with this one.
- double the recipe for more servings, or
- bake these in individual ramekins for extra cuteness.
Normally, I’m the only one who enjoys my plant-based Thanksgiving main (in fact, my husband goes out of his way to shove my contribution into a kitchen corner, or conveniently ‘forget’ to mention it to the other guests). This year, though, my newly-vegetarian sister-in-law ate the shepherd’s pie as well. She gave it two thumbs up and took several slices home.
This beats perfectly cut carrot coins any day of the week. Harrummph.
- For the Pie:
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 crimini mushrooms, chopped (about ¾ cup)
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup finely diced butternut squash
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables – I used the classic mixed vegetables from Stahlbush
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- ½ cup edamame
- ½ cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp hot smoked paprika
- For the Topping:
- 6 small sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut your sweet potatoes into chunks and place them in a vegetable steamer. Let them steam for 12-15 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.
- While the potatoes are cooking, cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a few tablespoons of water until they soften, and the mushrooms begin to exude their juices. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Pour the vegetables into an oven safe dish. I used an 7x11-inch dish, but an 8x8-inch would also work.
- When the potatoes are done cooking, tip them into a bowl and add the coconut oil. Mash with a potato masher or a fork, then spread them over the vegetable mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into slices.