Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie (Gluten-Free and Vegan)

Gluten-Free and Vegan Southwestern Shepherd's Pie

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.

Southwestern Shepherd's Pie (Gluten-Free and Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
gluten-free, grain-free dairy-free, vegan, egg-free, nut-free
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6
  • 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
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour the vegetables into an oven safe dish. I used an 7x11-inch dish, but an 8x8-inch would also work.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into slices.



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