These delicious, healthful vegan mini shepherd’s pies are baked in individual ramekins for convenience — and cuteness. Meaty mushrooms and quinoa along with a rainbow of veggies go into the filling, and the sweet potato topping is infused with chili-garlic oil for vibrant, bold flavor.
I’ve made shepherd’s pies with lentils and the traditional potato topping forever, it seems, and delicious though it is, this time, for St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to try something different. Just as healthy, but different. Something a little more meaty, perhaps, than the lentil filling. Something more intriguing.
I had long had my eye on a roasted mushroom base recipe from Martha Rose Shulman who uses it to reduce meat in her recipes. It sounded so flavorful, I knew I could make it work just as well without any meat, so long as I had some great, fresh veggies in the mix. And some quinoa, for more chewy texture.
These individual shepherd’s pies are absolutely, unbelievably delicious. The mushrooms, roasted in the oven and then chopped into a mince in the food processor, are really the star of the show. They add oodles of flavor to the filling, and an unbelievably satisfying texture.
And the topping, oh, the topping. Sweet potatoes and coconut are a match made in food heaven, and in this recipe they are a knockout. Scooped up with the savory quinoa-mushroom filling, the sweet potato topping provides a beautiful contrast of taste and texture. Just before the pies go in the oven, you brush on a delicious chili garlic oil for even more flavor and contrast.
Saturday’s here, and I am off to do the thousand and one things that are on my to-do list. Have a lovely weekend, all — make it sweet, savory, and delicious.
Mini Shepherd's Pies
For the sweet potato topping:
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp canned coconut milk
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
For the mushroom-quinoa filling:
- 1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dry thyme (sub with 1 tbsp fresh)
- 2 tsp tamari
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas
Make the filling:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Use a cooking spray to spray a baking sheet and place the mushrooms on the sheet, trying not to overcrowd and overlap.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the mushrooms for 20-25 minutes until they are dried out. Place the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse 10-15 times or until you have a coarse mince. Set aside.
Heat the oil. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables are softened and the onions translucent, about five minutes on medium heat
Add the garlic and thyme. Stir well to mix for about a minute. Add green peas and saute until thawed and warmed through, about three to four minutes.
Add the quinoa, minced mushrooms and tamari. Mix well and let it all heat through. Add more salt and ground black pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Make the topping
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, preferably lined with aluminum foil. Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a knife. Roast for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked and oozing liquid.
Mix the olive oil, crushed garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.
Peel the roasted sweet potatoes and mash them into a bowl. Add the coconut milk and some salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Assemble the pies:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scoop the filling into four ramekins, stopping about a centimeter from the top. Scoop on the sweet potato topping and even it out slightly. You can do the traditional thing by smoothing the topping and then running the tines of a fork through it to make grooves.
Brush on the chili-garlic oil on the tops. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden.
More vegan Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day: