Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Vegan Shepherd's Pie & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I proudly present to you, a fabulous Thanksgiving and Christmas main dish.

It has all the familiar tastes and smells of the Holidays.

Thyme, in a thickened savory broth, roasted with celery, carrots, parsnips, and onions. Reminds me a little of stuffing.

Topped with comforting mashed potatoes.

You and I, we like being sneaky. Sneaking more vegetables and grains, legumes, into everything.

These savory mashed potatoes are sneaky, too. They incorporate an entire cup of red lentils.

And no one will know. It will be our little secret.

I am here to be your mashed potato guide. Sometimes there is stress in trying to make the perfect mashed potatoes.

Comfort is here.

A mashed potato tutorial.

Start with 2 and 1/2 pounds gold potatoes. I never peel my gold or red potatoes, just because I'm lazy like that. You can peel them if you want.

Cut them in larger chunks. I learned my lesson with cooking cut potatoes: if they are cut too thin, then they become very starchy and gooey during the cooking process. Cook potatoes for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, measure 1 cup of red lentils, and simmer in a high quality vegetable broth for about 15 minutes.

(Leave the lid off!)

Transfer the cooked lentils to your food processor.

Process lentils with garlic, until it is smooth and silky.

By this time your potatoes should be cooked through. Drain them well, and immediately mash with potato masher or kitchenaid stand mixer. (Don't wait till the potatoes are cooled. They should be piping hot!)

This is the most important part. Don't add liquids yet!

Add your lentils, and continue to mash/mix until the potatoes have NO LUMPS. Once the lumps are completely gone and your potatoes are smooth, then add liquids.

I like to use soymilk. We don't need any butter. Gobs of fat and grease. Goodbye. These potatoes are comforting, not guilt-ridden!

You will not miss the butter. (Whether it's non-dairy or not!)

Add salt and pepper to taste. Potatoes look like this before adding milk.

Slowly add milk until the potatoes reach the consistency you are looking for.

Light and fluffy, thanks to our soymilk and seasoned lentils.

Protein-enriched. Salt and peppah. Delicious. Eat daily. And may all your mashed potatoes be infused with garlic and savory red lentils.

On to our Shepherd's Pie base. Normally we see about 1-2 pounds of ground beef here. Today we are using a savory mix of hearty vegetables.

Onions, parsnips, celery, and carrots.

Sauteed in water, and mixed with Thyme-infused savory broth.

Lightly tossed, and place in a baking dish.

Top with garlic mashed potatoes, sprinkle with paprika and freshly cracked pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Serve warm, with a salad, or with these fabulous and easy drop biscuits!

I used to be so scared at the thought of cooking festive dishes for guests, but this will be a crowd-pleaser.

Comforting Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Sneaky Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Angela Liddon at

Yield: 6 generous servings

For The Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This version sneaks in a cup of red lentils, packing in eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber per serving.

Serves 4

What You Need:

2-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and roughly chopped
1 cup dry red lentils
2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (I didn't have any, but they still tasted great)
1/4 to 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika, for garnish

What You Do:

1. Into a large pot, add chopped potatoes. Fill pot with water until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until fork-tender. Drain potatoes.

2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain lentils. In a medium-sized pot, add lentils and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently until water is absorbed and lentils are fully cooked.

3. In a food processor, add garlic and rosemary and lentils and process until smooth.

4. Mash the potatoes and pureed lentil mixture together while still very hot, using a potato masher or kitchenaid stand mixer, or your favorite method. Add salt and pepper to taste, until potatoes are smooth (no lumps remaining). Careful not to mash too much, or they might get to starchy.

5. Slowly add nondairy milk (soy and coconut work best, but almond is also very good) until the potatoes are light, creamy, and fluffy. Garnish with paprika sprinkled on top and freshly cracked pepper. Serve by themselves, or spread on top of Shepherd's pie vegetable filling for a great casserole your guests will love.

(P.S. I tried making these mashed potatoes by just incorporating the lentils into the potatoes, without processing the cooked lentils in the food processor first. The lentils did not blend well with the potatoes, and were a bit chewy -- distracting from the smooth texture that mashed potatoes normally have. I also prefer my potatoes to be creamed with nondairy milk, instead of oils and fats. I honestly can't tell the difference by taste, but I know which version makes me feel happiest!)

Vegetable Filling

1/4 cup water, for sauteeing
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, peeled & small dice
2 parsnips (or other root vegetable), peeled & small dice
4 celery stalks, small dice
1 cup, full sodium vegetable broth (or more as needed)
1/4 cup red wine (or more broth)
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste + black pepper
3 tbsp flour (I used 4 Tbsp Spelt flour)


1. Preheat oven to 425F and lightly oil a 2.5 quart/2.3 litre casserole dish.

2. Prepare the vegetable filling. Chop the onion and mince the garlic and add to a skillet along with the oil. Cook on low for about 5-7 minutes. Now add in the chopped carrots, parsnip, and celery. Cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients (broth, thyme, and flour). Add this liquid mixture to the vegetables in the skillet and stir well. Add your salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or so until thickened. Season to taste.

4. Scoop vegetable mixture into casserole dish. Spread on the mashed potato mixture and garnish with paprika, ground pepper, and Thyme. Bake at 425F for about 35 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Mixture will be very hot in the middle so be careful! I suggest serving this with homemade vegan gravy. Makes 6 generous servings.


This Sumptuous Shepherd's Stew by Angela Liddon also looks incredible; I will be trying it soon! She has my respect...(and loyalty, and jealousy, and...)

Do you have to cook Thanksgiving dinner?

I miss out on that privilege (buahaha) this year. Paul's family is having it catered. Cross my fingers that they will have something I can eat...if not, oh well!


  1. You had me at "thyme infused savory broth"!!! Or was it "mashed potatoes"?! :)

  2. Aw, thanks, Aimee! I need your comments! I am missing you and wishing I could be there for Thanksgiving.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Love ya!

  3. This is definitely one to bookmark! So glad I found you through Bring Joy!

    1. Hey, welcome to Plant Infusions! So glad you are here!

      This recipe is a total winner for guests/Holidays. At least, all my guests have said so... :)

  4. I made this for my family for thanksgiving and have been meaning to give you serious credit. My husband and I thought it tasted like yummy!

    1. Awesome, I love it when a plan comes together, and a dish works out well. Meat centered holidays seems especially tricky. I am so glad this worked for you!

      Super-nice of you to comment and let me know how it went; means a lot to me! Thank you so much!