sweet potato shepherd-less pie

I have never been a fan of shepherd’s pie.

My childhood self dreaded the nights where nobody wanted to cook and I was instead served a frozen dinner of the lamb-and-potato mixture. The weekly meal at sleepover camp of dry ground meat and instant potato mush was even worse.

However, the idea of mashed potatoes and some sort of mealy protein definitely appeals to me. So I decided to take all the traditional bits out of the potato-meat pie (except for a handful of frozen corn nibs) and create a healthy vegan version that’s full of hearty ingredients and lots of flavour.

While “shepherd’s pie” refers to the sheep (like mutton or lamb) that a shepherd would cook into a pie, my variation has very little to do with its namesake. The protein comes from a quinoa-lentil mixture stuffed with veggies.

For a soy-free, gluten-free, vegan shepherd-less pie, here’s what you’ll need:

For the mashed potato:

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled cut into 1-inch cubes; keep the strips of potato skin for later!
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp margarine or butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

For the quinoa mixture:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 leek, sliced into rounds (just the white part)
  • 5 mushrooms, diced
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large handfuls bok choy
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the topping:

  • the peeled potato skins
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • canola or vegetable oil
  1. Boil potato cubes for 20 mins, or until you can poke easily with a fork.
  2. Mash up potatoes with the margarine, maple syrup, salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Simmer the lentils in 3 cups water for 15 minutes, uncovered
  4. In a separate pot, cover and simmer the quinoa in the vegetable stock for 12 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff and let sit for a few minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F.
  6. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil and sauté the leeks for a couple minutes until translucent. Add in the mushrooms and stir for a minute. Then, add the tomatoes, corn and bok choy and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add quinoa and lentils to vegetables and stir until combined.
  8. Pour quinoa mixture into a 12-inch square baking dish (or similar-sized rectangular one) and spread evenly.
  9. Pour mashed potatoes on top  and gently spread with a rubber spatula so it’s evenly distributed (like icing a very mushy cake).
  10. Bake for 20 minutes.
  11. While it’s baking, heat a small pan and fill with 1/2 inch oil. When it’s hot (drop in a shred of potato skin to see if it bubbles), toss in the potato skins and turn occasionally until they start to get crisp. Add in the onion when it’s about 2 minutes away from being done.
  12. Scoop and drain the potato skin-onion mixture on a couple layers of paper towel. Garnish each slice of pie with it.

These potato skins make for a flavourful, crispy topping.

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3 thoughts on “sweet potato shepherd-less pie

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