Even for me, this recipe seems a bit long and bothersome. However, I implore to try it out.
Let’s break this recipe down so it is not too daunting. Thankfully, even the sweet potato coconut mash topping could stand-alone on a Thanksgiving spread.
First, start with roasting your sweet potatoes. I honestly would have double next time. I would not judge you if the potatoes never made it to the shepherd’s pie.
I started with my favourite recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Low and Slow) which coaxes and highlights their natural sweetness. I made them the night before so this recipe would work fabulously with leftover roasted sweet potatoes, too. Despite roasting 3 big potatoes, I wanted more volume. I ran out of drinkable non-dairy milks so I grabbed a can of lite coconut milk. Just a touch whipped into the spuds created a silky sweet puree. Inspired by Candle Cafe’s Paradise Casserole’s mash, I added some miso as well. You could stop right here with a delicious side.
Let’s pretend you still want to make the whole shepherd’s pie, though. I used a mix of beans, which along with carrot, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes had a nice texture. Balsamic vinegar and nutritional yeast added a nice depth and if you have red wine, that would work well here, too. I used a pressure cooker for my lentils, overcooking them slightly, but this was a great way to use them. I also slightly overcooked my butter beans (pressure cooker equilibration issues) but the butter beans were a fantastic counterfoil to the smaller bits. They don’t call them butter beans for nothing. Rancho Gordo’s Florida butter beans were silky smooth, almost like butter!😛
I tried to have a good sweet potato-mash to filling ratio, with a decent height with the mash. I chose a smaller but high casserole dish, as opposed to a 9×13″ pan. I think it worked out really well. The sweet potato mash makes this a less traditional shepherd’s pie but since it is vegan, can I really claim any authenticity?
Sweet Potato Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 tbsp coconut oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup dried green lentils, washed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked larger bean (I used Rancho Gordo’s Florida Butter Beans – excellent choice!)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1.5 cups chopped mushrooms
12 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (reconstituted with water if really dry)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup water
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 tbsp white miso
1. Begin by roasting your potatoes: Preheat oven to 350F. Clean sweet potato and cut into 1-cm thick discs. Mix together half the oil, salt and pepper and rub it onto each side of the sweet potatoes discs. Lay each disc onto a silpat-lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes at 350F. Flip and continue to roast at 400F for an additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile, cook your lentils. In a medium pot, place lentils and 4 cups of water along with a bay leaf. Increase heat to high until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, until tender. The water should all get absorbed. Discard bay leaf.
3. Once you got the potatoes and lentils going, begin the main dish: Keep your oven at 350F. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil. Once hot, add onion and carrot. Sprinkle with salt, coriander and thyme. Saute for 5-10 minutes, or until translucent and soft. Add garlic and mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms cook, around 5 minutes. Deglaze with stock or water if it sticks. Add in sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and nutritional yeast as the mushrooms cook. Add the water and cooked lentils and simmer for 5-10 minutes, to let the flavours meld.
4. Meanwhile, take your cooled sweet potatoes and mash them. I left the skins on, but it is up to your preference. I had around 4 cups of mashed potatoes and stirred in 1/2 cup lite coconut milk along with the miso. Whip until nice and fluffy.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and scrape it into a casserole dish (mine was a round 8″). Top with the sweet potato mash. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, then open the oven’s door and turn on the broiler. Broil for 5-10 minutes, or until you smell or see it browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool prior to serving.