Shepherd’s Pie

Once again finding myself with leftover mashed potatoes, I was trying to find a use for them. Shepherd’s Pie fit the bill!

Shepherd’s Pie

1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups vegan “beef” broth
8 oz tomato sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 14.5 oz can your choice of beans (I used pinto)
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
TVP, optional
3-4 cups mashed potatoes
vegan cheddar “cheese”, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the carrots, onions, celery, broth, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are just tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add the beans and frozen peas.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan then whisk in the flour, forming a roux.

Cook for a couple of minutes, then transfer to the Dutch oven and whisk until it thickens to a gravy. I seemed to have a higher gravy-to-veggie ratio than I wanted, so I added in some TVP to soak up some of the liquid, which ended up being good because pinto beans are so creamy, the TVP gave the final dish some needed texture.

Spread the mashed potatoes on top.

I had an open package of Daiya cheddar, so I sprinkled that on top. That’s totally optional, though.

Bake for half an hour. The gravy bubbled up around my mashed potatoes. It’s definitely not the prettiest dish.

Although it’s impossible to make this shepherd’s pie look attractive in photographs, it was really tasty. I don’t think food gets more comforting than this. Mark literally licked his bowl clean. I will be making this again.

In craft news, after a particularly mighty battle with my sewing machine while making my fabric gift bags this year, I finally broke down and bought a new one. I’d resisted for a while because I didn’t want to spend money on a sewing machine when I hate sewing. Nonetheless, I do actually sew from time to time and I decided my sanity when doing so was worth $159 (which was the price I paid a few weeks ago). So far I’m really liking the new machine, although I haven’t done much more than make the gift bags so far. My dream sewing machine has long been an antique Singer, converted for electricity (honestly, I wasn’t even sure about the electricity) – I just assume they don’t make them like they used to – but I must say, this one seems pretty good and although I always thought it was silly for sewing machines to do all kinds of crazy stitches I’ll never need, some of these ARE pretty neat:

Anyway, does anyone have any favorite sewing projects for relative beginners? Since I’ve forked over the money for the machine, I might as well put it to use. I’ve already decided to make a rag quilt, but my ultimate goal is to be able to make my own clothes. If there are any sewers out there with suggestions for things to keep my interest without frustrating me too much right off the bat, let’s hear them!

And speaking of sewing, although I suck at it, my mother does not. She recently made the kittens a kitty bed. It contains a heating element, and with all this blustery, cold weather we’ve been having, the warm kitten bed is getting a lot of use. Often both kittens are snuggled up on it together. You can’t see much of Mom’s handiwork in this picture (just the blue edges sticking up from the cat tree I’ve set it in), but here is how you’ll usually find the kittens these days:

And with that, I wish everyone a very happy Hogmanay. (I just finished reading a Scottish book that takes place during this time of year, so New Year’s Eve is Hogmanay to me right now. Bring on the vegan haggis!) (The Crow Road, Zoa – don’t want you burning with curiosity!)


  1. Heather Said,

    December 30, 2010 @ 1:20 am

    I am an amateur seamstress and have made some clothes.


    When you’re choosing a pattern, pick one that says very easy. The ones that just say “easy” are lying. Or are easy for people who are capable of doing the ones that are complex.

    Sleeves can be tricky, since they have to match.

    Always do zippers by hand.

    Solids and non-repeating prints are your friend. Stripes and obviously repeating prints are your enemy.

    I am totally jealous of your crazy stitches! What an easy way to dress up something plain or simple!

    Good luck!

  2. Jenny Said,

    December 30, 2010 @ 2:43 am

    Ohmygoodness, that shepard’s pie sounds divine.

  3. Josiane Said,

    December 30, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

    I’ve always thought shepherd’s pie was an approximate equivalent to what we call here pâté chinois, but seeing yours, I realise it seems to be quite different. I’ll have to give it a try! (and also post my veganized pâté chinois recipe, so that I can pay you back!)

    Mom went from hating sewing to almost enjoying it when she got a new sewing machine. It can make a big difference! I hope you’ll have fun with yours.

  4. Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day Said,

    December 30, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    that looks so good.. and your kitties are adorable.

  5. Zoa Said,

    December 30, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

    You are so thoughtful 😉 One less stressor in this vale of tears. Happy Hogmanay. Your pie looks divine and your cats are so cute. I wish mine would curl up together like that but they’ve portioned out the house into floors and mostly they just keep to their own territories. I suck at sewing too but it’s quite amazing what even a doughhead can do with a sewing machine. In my case, mostly pillows, but they’re nice pillows that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

  6. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    December 31, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Happy New Year to you and your family. I look forward to reading about your new recipes and adventures. May 2011 be filled with time for reading, napping, cooking, baking and sewing.

    Today was a milestone for our family – all four kitties curled up on the bed, at the same time. A harbinger of good things to come, perhaps…

    Lisa G/K

  7. amy lynn Said,

    January 1, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    Made this yesterday, it was amazing!!!

  8. anarchotoads Said,

    January 1, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    Happy Hogmanay from Scotland! Trying to find vegan food at 3am in the morning in Central Scotland – not something possible!
    Did you ever watch the television adaptation of the Crow Road, by any chance? It’s a little dated now, but still worth the watch if you enjoyed the novel.

  9. Jes Said,

    January 1, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

    That shepherd’s pie looks so so lovely for a cold night! And holy cow, I had no idea sewing machines could make so many crazy stitches–pretty cool 🙂 Happy new year to you and Mark and the kitties!

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