I have to admit that during my time abroad in England and Ireland, while I never had any trouble finding delicious foods to enjoy, I often felt like I was missing out with all of the “Sunday Roast,” “Cornish Pasty,” and “Shepherd’s Pie” staples and specials featured at nearly every restaurant and pub I visited.
There was just something so cozy and comforting about the idea of these foods in the winter months or on a gray day, served with a dark beer to warm the bones, and I often found myself wishing more places offered vegetarian takes on these options when my friends would order them. When I returned home, I started researching how to make them, meat-free.
Lately, I’ve been doing my best to alter “comfort foods” and make them a little healthier. Substituting cauliflower mash for mashed potatoes has become a pretty regular occurrence in our home, and one of our favorite ways to serve it up is atop a vegetarian-friendly Shepherd’s Pie!
I’ve made this recipe several times over the past few years and we always enjoy it the week of St. Patrick’s Day (usually with a side of Irish Soda Bread and a good stout!)
The original recipe can be found here and is delightful as-is, but I’ve made a few small changes each time and have finally landed on a version that we love. Suggestion: Add a little kale into the mashed cauliflower to turn it into the Irish staple, colcannon!
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 package vegetarian “beef” crumbles (we use Quorn brand)
- 1 8-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
- 1 8-oz can peas and carrots mix, drained
- 1 8-oz can corn, drained
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 cup mushroom soup
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 prepared recipe Easy Mashed Cauliflower (or you can use a batch of mashed potatoes)
- Pour the olive oil in a large pan over low heat. Chop the onion and sauté in the oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the vegetarian crumbles and let warm a few minutes, then add in the mushrooms and let sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add carrots and vegetable broth (or water) and let simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add corn, mushroom soup, and spices. Stir well, then add in flour.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a 2.5 quart casserole dish or cake pan.
- Top mixture with mashed cauliflower (or potatoes), spread evenly.
- Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and topping is slightly browned.
- Let stand a few minutes before serving.
- Optional: Sprinkle with a little shredded cheddar cheese!
Do you have a favorite comfort food dish that hails from Ireland or Great Britain?