This traditional dish is full of plant based ingredients. To add color, top your pie with a variety of potatoes. Here we have combined sweet potato with russet potato.
Regardless of what you call it, a traditional shepherd's pie is basically a casserole with a layer of cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the mashed potatoes are well browned. This plant-based version replaces the meat with mushrooms, and it's pure comfort food!
Why Use Two Kinds of Potatoes?
Potatoes are a great addition to a plant-based diet. They are a versatile root vegetable and a staple food in many households. Aside from being nutritious, potatoes are also incredibly filling.
Potatoes are a good source of fiber, which can help you lose weight by keeping you full longer. Fiber can also help prevent heart disease by keeping cholesterol and blood glucose levels in check. Potatoes are also full of antioxidants that work to prevent diseases and vitamins that help your body function properly.
Calorie- and carb-wise, sweet and russet potatoes are about equal, but sweet potatoes offer more fiber, vitamins A and C, and calcium. Russets are lower in sugar and offer more protein, vitamin B6, omega-3s, iron, and slightly more potassium.
Why Sweet Potatoes are a Great Main Ingredient
Sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy root vegetables that are grown worldwide. They come in a variety of sizes and colors — including orange, white, and purple — and are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Not to mention, they provide a number of health benefits and are easy to add to your diet.
Sweet potatoes are one of the top sources of beta-carotene—a precursor to vitamin A. This helps keep your eyes healthy as well as your immune system, your body's defense against germs. It's also good for your reproductive system and organs like your heart and kidneys.
Even better, one sweet potato has about 4 grams of plant-based fiber, which helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Sweet Potato Buying Tips
Sweet potatoes are available year-round and are at their peak during the winter. When choosing sweet potatoes, have in mind what you are going to use them for. Larger ones tend to have a more stringy texture and take longer to cook because of their size. Small sweet potatoes have a more uniform texture but contain less meat. Avoid any with bruises or signs of sprouting.
Some common traits of bad sweet potatoes are discoloration and growths through the skin. They will begin to get soft and wet (water will leak out) and then turn brown and/or black. If part of the sweet potato goes bad, the whole potato should be thrown out, as the flavor is affected.
You can also look for frozen sweet potato cubes, which are already peeled and diced, making it easy to add to various recipes. Pre-bagged sweet potatoes may be a better buy than individual pieces.
Storing Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes stay fresh longest in a cool or room-temperature location, away from moisture, heat, and light. As long as the location is cool, dry, and dark, sweet potatoes will last up a month or longer.
If you've already peeled a sweet potato and want to save it for later, you can store it in the fridge. In this case, you can store it tightly wrapped or in an airtight container in the fridge. Use it as soon as possible—within 2 to 3 days is best.
Mushrooms are the Secret Star in This Dish
Mushrooms are a rich, low calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They not only provide you with B vitamins, such as niacin and riboflavin, but are also excellent sources of three essential antioxidants, glutathione, ergothioneine, and selenium.
Mushrooms are also rich sources of potassium, a nutrient known for reducing the negative impact that sodium can have on your body. Potassium also lessens the tension in blood vessels, potentially helping to lower blood pressure.
Veggie Shepherd's Pie
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp low-sodium vegetable broth
- 8 oz mushrooms your favorite type or a combination of several
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 medium carrot chopped
- 1 cup cooked green lentils
- 1/2 cup cooking red wine
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup frozen peas thaw before adding
- 1 medium sweet potato cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 medium russet potato cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder or to taste
- 1/4 cup almond milk if needed
- Preheat the oven to bake at 350 degrees F.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Put potatoes in a large saucepan with boiling water. Cook potatoes until soft. Drain and mash the potatoes together. Add almond milk if needed to make potatoes smoother. Add the garlic powder.
- In the meantime, Saute the onion and garlic in the vegetable broth until the onions are soft. Add more broth if needed.
- Add the mushrooms, celery, carrots and saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables are getting soft.
- Add the cooked lentils, red wine, tomato paste and spices. Stir to mix. Cook for 3 minutes before adding peas. Stir well and let the peas heat up.
- Divide the vegetable mixture into two oven-safe containers. Top the vegetable mixture with the potato mixture and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- If you wish to brown the top of the potato, turn the oven setting to broil and broil for a few minutes. Keep your eyes on the potatoes so they don’t burn.
- Eat one of the pies now and let the other cool and cover with a tight lid and freeze for up to 7 days.