Hearty and satisfying plant-based comfort food. This vegan shepherd’s pie with mashed cauliflower is so deliciously savory and perfect to enjoy on cold winter’s night.
Now that winter has decided to be winter and not pretend it’s October anymore, I’ve been craving hearty, comfort foods like WHOA. This week it’s chili. Last week was this bomb vegan shepherd’s pie. With…wait for it…MASHED CAULIFLOWER. You know, like mashed potatoes only it’s not potaters.
When I told Steve what I was making he sighed (‘”you’re depriving me of my mashed potatoes AND I have to eat lentils?”). My response: “Mmmm…yeaaaaah. But you’re going to love it.” And he did. He loved that vegan pie HARD. When I told him yesterday that I was blogging the shepherd’s pie for today. He said “Mmmm, that was so good.” And I was all like told ya so. But not really. I said thanks and we moved on
But seriously, if you’re a little hesitant about changing a favorite comfort food classic, I get the resistance cause…food memories. They are everything. And sometimes you just gotta stick with the original. But if you’re feeling a little frisky in the new year and willing to try something new, you gotta try this veggie-packed pie. The mushrooms and lentils make the filling hearty, savory, and satisfying. The parsnips and carrots make you say hello, winter and all your root vegetable glory, and then thyme and sage take savory to a whole other level.
And then for the piece de resistance, the mashed cauliflower. The creamy, buttery, if you close your eyes you wouldn’t know it’s cauliflower, mashed cauliflower. It basically just melts in your mouth. Poof. Gone. This dish is hearty and healthy – loaded with fiber, plant-based protein, B vitamins, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. Plus, you’ll have leftovers for days as this makes at least eight servings.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion (approx one small-medium onion)
- 1 cup diced carrot (approx two carrots)
- 1 cup diced parsnip (approx two parsnips, peeled)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch sage (about 5 leaves), chopped
- 1 bunch thyme (about 3-4 sprigs), chopped
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 lbs. cauliflower florets (approx 3 heads cauliflower)
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and parsnip and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until onions are translucent and veggies are slightly tender. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Stir in garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned.
- Add vegetable broth, lentils, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 35- 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
- To thicken the lentil mixture, add cornstarch or arrowroot to a heaping spoonful of the lentil mixture in a separate bowl. Whisk together. Add thickened mixture back to the pot and whisk in. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Meanwhile, steam cauliflower florets until fork tender and transfer to a food processor (you may need to do this in batches depending on size of food processor). Add almond milk, vegan buttery spread and pulse to a smooth and creamy puree. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer lentil mixture to a 9x13 baking dish or 2 qt baking dish. Carefully spread mashed cauliflower evenly over top.
- Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then transfer to under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until cauliflower is crispy and starting to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool briefly before serving.
Tell me, are you a fan of shepherd’s pie? Have you ever tried mashed cauliflower?
For more cauliflower inspiration, check out my recipes below: