Shepard’s pie is not something I think I have ever eaten before let alone made. But for fathers day (yes I know a little late) I was having my parents and I wanted to make something that would satisfy the dad and still be easy to prepare. Whenever I have guests I try to think of recipes that will not require me to be in the kitchen so I can spend time with everyone relatively uniterrupted. This recipe is perfect which is also why I love putting dishes in ramekins because it not only adds to presentation but makes the cooking process a breeze!
Now although I am not a “vegan” most of the time I choose to eat vegan because I do prefer it- but I am just not one to commit to an extreme. But for awhile now I have lost any craving for meat and I knew that I would want my Shepard’s pie to be meatless. So I made this 2 ways, 1 Vegan (except for butter) and 1 with beef. Personally, I thought mine was wayyy better and more flavorful :)
It may sound like a lot of work but it only adds another 7-10 minutes because I made mine first. I used my favorite meat sub in, some finely crumbled mushrooms sauteed. They add such a savory, meaty flavor I can never get enough. Oh and I haven’t even mentioned the skinny mashed potato part. Here is sneaky secret–it’s cauliflower!. Yeah and it taste just as amazing. I added a bit of dijon mustard (something I used to despise) for a tangy kick. Overall this recipe was a huge hit and is definitely going to become a new staple. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the ingredients are super cheap!
Vegan in front, beef only next and pancetta and beef in the back
1 lb. ground beef, your preference
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 of 1 shallot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup peas-thawed
1 cup carrots, diced the same size
1/2 cup mushrooms minced in food processor to “meal like” consistency
1 head cauliflower
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter, divided
up to 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
optional add-in, 1 container pancetta (from trader joes)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Chop cauliflower and lay on tin foil lined baking sheet. Spray with canola spray, salt and pepper. Roast till tender, around 20 minutes. Turn once halfway through
To make Vegan Shepards Pie:
-Finely minced mushrooms in food processor.
-Add 1/2 tbsp butter to at least 1 inch deep sauté pan and sauté shallots for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup carrots if they are raw, saute for 2 minutes.
-Add mushrooms, reserved butter and 1 garlic clove and sauté for 1 minute. Add a splash of white wine for acidity and continue to sauté till it cooks off. Add peas, turn off heat and stir everything together really well.
-Pour into ramekin, set aside
To make beef Shepard’s Pie:
-If using pancetta, pan fry till cooked, roughly 5 minutes, and set aside.
-Using same pan (make sure it is big enough) add 3/4 of package of beef and cook until it is almost cooked completely through or cook completely, pour onto separate plate, set aside.
-Add onion and carrots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes until carrots are tender. Add peas and pancetta if using. Season well with salt and pepper. Divide between 3 ramekins
To make mashed cauliflower:
Add 2 garlic cloves to blender (I used vita-mix) and mince. Add cauliflower and season with salt, pepper and dijon mustard. Thin out with unsweetened non-dairy milk. If your sneaky like me add some nutritional yeast ;) Divide among all ramekins.
Put in fridge until ready to cook. Take out 20 minutes before you bake them to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 and put ramekins on baking sheet, bake for 15-20 minutes until they are nice and hot.