Beat the winter blues with this hearty Vegan Shepherd’s Pie! This recipe uses cauliflower-millet mash for the crust, rather than the traditional mashed potatoes, for a healthy twist. It's the perfect comfort food dinner. This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Traditional Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is a traditional Irish dish made with minced meat and topped with a mashed potato crust. Shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are pretty much the same dish, the only difference being the type of meat used. Years ago, it was a means of using leftover roasted meat, but in recent years, it’s come into it’s own as a hearty and filling comfort food dish.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
It’s very easy to veganize shepherd’s pie using meaty beans in the filling. In this recipe, I’ve used toothsome lentils with a few mushrooms thrown in for good measure. Rather than a mashed potato crust, I’ve used cauliflower-millet mash. It looks similar, and it's a great way of sneaking extra veggies into your dish.
This shepherd’s pie is a hearty dish that’s perfect for keeping you warm and cozy on a cold winter’s day. I like to make it on Sunday, so I have dinners for a few nights throughout the week, because there are always leftovers.
What is Millet?
Millet is small, round, grain about 2.5mm in diameter. Actually, it's not really a grain, but rather a pseudocereal, which means it's actually a seed that's cooked the same way a grain would be. It originated in Africa and Asia.
Millet is high in protein, and it contains large amounts of fiber, B vitamins, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Some of its many health benefits include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, aiding in the prevention of heart disease, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cruicferous vegetable with many health benefits. It's high in vitamins A and C, folic acid, antioxidants and fiber. Cauliflower is also loaded with phytonutrients, which are known for their anti-cancerous properties. Some of the compounds in cauliflower are known to combat heart disease, fight inflammation, and boost brain health. Cauliflower mixed with millet dish a big nutrient boost.
How to Make Vegan Shepherd's Pie
This recipe does take a little bit of time to put together, but the payoff is worth it!
- First you make the topping. You start by boiling the water in a large pot. Then you add the millet, cauliflower, and salt. You reduce the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and the millet is cooked.
- Then you transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder. You mash it all together until smooth and creamy. You can use an immersion blender or food processor to speed things up. If the mixture is dry, you can add more non-dairy milk,.
- While the cauliflower and millet are cooking, you can begin to make the filling. You add lentils to water, bring to a boil, and cook until they are tender, about thirty minutes.
- Then you sauté the onion for about 5 minutes. Next you add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and salt, and cook for another 10 minutes. Then you add the diced tomatoes, peas, and tomato paste, spices. You add lentils to the mixture once they are cooked.To assemble the pie you spread the vegetable mixture in a 13" x 19" casserole dish and then carefully top with the cauliflower millet mash. You can sprinkle the paprika on top for a little color, if you like. Cook cook your shepherd's pie for 20 minutes, and then garnish it with the chopped parsley.
How to Customize Your Shepherd's Pie
You can mix up your shepherd's pie's filling to suit your tastes.
- Try kidney beans or black beans instead of lentils. Crumbled tempeh works well, too.
- You can omit the mushrooms, if you don't like them.
- Diced carrots, sautéed green beans, and leafy greens can be added, if you like.
- To speed things up, you can use two 15-ounce cans of cooked lentils rather than cook dry lentils.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower-Millet Mash Crust
For the Crust Cauliflower Millet Mash Topping
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 cup millet
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
For the Filling
- 3 cups water
- 1 ½ cup brown lentils rinse and picked over for stones
- 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 ounces button or crimini mushrooms sliced, about 8 or 10 mushrooms
- 2 carrots sliced
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes drained
- 1 cup peas frozen or canned
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
Make the Topping
- Bring the cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add millet, cauliflower, and salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and the millet is cooked.
- Transfer the cauliflower millet mixture to a bowl and add the non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mash together until smooth and creamy with a potato masher, or process with an immersion blender. You can also use a food processor. Add more non-dairy milk, if needed.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and then fold in the chopped chives.
Make the Filling
- Add lentils to water, bring to a boil, and let cook until lentils are tender, about thirty minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onion in the oil over medium-high heat until they are translucent and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and salt, and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, peas, and tomato paste, spices. Add lentils to the mixture once they are cooked.
Assemble the Pie
- Spread the vegtable mixture in a 13" x 19" casserole dish and then carefully top with the cauliflower millet mash. Sprinkle the paprika on top. Cook for 20 minutes. Garnish with the chopped parsley.