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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

By Dipika Patel

Being a Brit, I love this dish. An old-time hearty comfort food which can be packed with goodness, it most definitely sates me and my taste buds. 

I am not a vegan, nor a full vegetarian; however, I do believe in having a balanced diet and looking at the fundamentals of how we do, what we do and how our pre-programmed habits impact our society today. With all that being said, all I want to do is share some love, get you to think out of the box, and introduce you to something new.

I consume an 80-90 percent vegetable diet and 10-20 percent animal products. Back home in England, I was introduced to a product called Quorn which has been around for more than 20 years, and I have noticed that it is becoming more widely available in some of our local stores in the desert, so if you are looking to add something different to your pantry, give this a try.

Quorn is a completely meat-free form of high quality protein and is also a good source of dietary fiber. Its most common ingredient is mycoprotein which is made by adding oxygen, nitrogen, glucose to a fungus called Fusarium venenatum. These ingredients are combined into a fermenter (like a brewing process) to form a continuous supply of mycoprotein which is then harvested and dried before egg albumen (powdered egg white) is added to bind and form a meaty texture.

The taste and texture reminds me of soy mince, also known as texturized vegetable protein, or tempeh. It makes a great one pot meal, with great texture for a meatless alternative especially if you make it with mushrooms.

Mycoprotein is a source of good protein (about 11g per 100g), contains all the essential amino acids, is high in digestive fiber, and low in saturated fats and sodium. It is rich in selenium, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.

Even though this current product is not vegan friendly, I want my vegan friends to know that Quorn is working on a vegan alternative for this product which is already available in some parts of the world. Mycoprotein is not safe for those who have allergies to fungus, and it is safe for children to consume. Most Quorn products are not recommended to celiac sufferers or those who are lactose intolerant.

Healthy, Hearty Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients for the stew

  • 1 bag of minced Quorn (frozen)
  • 1 ½ finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1-2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (to help it all come together)
  • ½ – 1 cup of vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • black pepper to taste
  • Maldon sea salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Braggs aminos

Ingredients for the mashed potato topping

  • 1 small bag of baby red potatoes (washed and boiled with skin on)/ you can also use sweet potato
  • 1 cup of raw cheddar cheese (nutritional yeast can also be used)
  • 2 tbsp of raw butter or ghee
  • Maldon sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp of coconut cream or whole cream

Instructions

  1. Add oil to a pan over a medium heat, add in the mushrooms and sauté without a lid for about 10 min., until all liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are nice and brown (take out into a bowl and put to the side)
  2. Add oil to the same pan over a medium heat, add in the Quorn (frozen), sauté for about 10-15 min. until it has lightly browned and all water has evaporated (take out into the bowl with the cooked mushrooms)
  3. Add oil in a pan over a medium heat and add in the bay leaf and onions, sauté for about 10 min. with the lid on to make them sweat.
  4. Add in the carrots, celery and sauté for another 10-15 min.
  5. Add in the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes, sprinkle over the turmeric, black pepper, tomato puree stir and cook for couple of minutes.
  6. Add in the cooked mushrooms and Quorn and stir well to incorporate all the veggies.
  7. Add in the Braggs liquid aminos, tomato puree, cayenne pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.
  8. Pour in the vegetable stock or water stir and add in the xanthan gum.
  9. Season with salt and pepper as needed at this point.
  10. Stir, put lid on and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  11. The stew is now ready; you can leave to the side and let it cool down.

Instructions for the mashed potato topping

  1. Mash cooked potatoes together with the peel on (if you don’t like the peel you can remove)
  2. Add in all the ingredients cheddar cheese or nutritional yeast, raw butter, garlic, coconut cream or whole cream and season with salt and pepper.

I just bind all these ingredients with a fork as I like it a little chunky. If you want a smooth texture, you can put into a food processor for your preferred texture if you have kept the potato skin on, but if you have removed the potato skin you will be able to get this consistency without the food processor.

Putting the Shepherd’s Pie together

  1. Get a medium-sized baking dish and pour in the stew mixture, level off.
  2. Now you can scoop the potato mixture on top of the stew and level off so it has been spread evenly to the corners of the pan.
  3. I like to top the potato with a little more cheese and some dried parsley herbs.
  4. Cook in the oven for 30-45 min. at 350F or until the potato is nice and crispy to your preference.
  5. Serve with a side salad or on its own, or even some thickened vegetable stock in place of a gravy.

Dipika is a holistic health coach who empowers clients to activate balanced lifestyle of the mind, body and soul. She can be reached at Dipika@dipikapatel.life or visit www.loveyourlifehealthy.com.

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