It may not be the world’s most photogenic food, but shepherd’s pie has been a favorite of mine since I was little (my mom was even so kind as to make it for our vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner this year, yum!), so naturally I have been experimenting with veg-ifying it over recent years. In the process, I discovered that sweet potatoes are one of the best things to ever happen to this classic rustic dish. My version features zucchini and peas in a protein-rich meaty filling made of textured vegetable protein. This one takes a little longer but can be easily prepped ahead of time, and is so worth it! Perfect cold weather food. Serves 6.
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes
- 2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP, dehydrated, can be purchased in bulk in natural foods stores)
- 3 cups hot water
- 1 veggie boullion cube or 1 Tbsp veggie broth powder
- 1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine (I used leftover cabernet sauvignon)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 Tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan butter
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 zucchini
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme leaves
This first step is to soak your textured veggie protein to reconstitute it. In a medium sized bowl or soup pot, mix the 2 cups TVP with 3 cups hot water and the boullion cube, mixing until the boullion cube is dissolved. Let that sit for at least 20 min until soft and rehydrated (but several hours or even overnight is ok!).
Next, get started on the sweet potatoes: wash and peel the potatoes, then slice into about 1-inch cubes.
Add to a medium sized pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a nice rolling boil, covered.
Meanwhile, work on the filling. Chop your onion and saute it in a large pan or wok in the olive oil over medium heat, stirring periodically, until the beginning to brown and caramelize. At this point, add in the wine and mix to deglaze the pan. Add half your liquid aminos or soy sauce, and the vinegar as well, mixing, and cook another couple of minutes to reduce slightly.
Add the minced garlic, thyme, sesame oil, half of the Earth Balance (3 Tbsp), and the remainder of the soy sauce, and give it a stir. Now add in your TVP and mix very well. The TVP should take on a nice brown color and everything should be smelling amazing! Chop your zucchini finely and add it in, stirring periodically, and lower the heat to medium-low.
About now is the time to get your oven preheated to 350 F and turn your attention back to the potatoes. Once they are nice and tender, drain them and put them back in the pot with the remaining 3 Tbsp of Earth Balance, and mash away!
Now, to finish off that filling – add the frozen peas, mix, and turn off the heat (they will continue to cook).
Now, to assemble the pie, layer the filling into a greased 9 x 13″ baking pan.
Then, layer the mashed sweet potatoes over the top, and bake for about 30 min.