Hearty veg, nourishing buckwheat, and creamy mashed potato make my vegan mushroom and buckwheat shepherd’s pie a deliciously comforting dish, whatever the weather!
Why is it that whenever I think of autumn and winter comfort food, I think of my Gran? And in particular, her amazing casseroles and shepherd’s pies? If we'd known about hygge back then, that's exactly how I would have described them.
My mushroom and buckwheat shepherd's pie is totally hygge!
How many shepherds are we talking about? Do they all have pies? Or does only one have a pie, which he shares with his fellow sheepy watchers? Answers in the comments section, if you would. Ta muchly.
I grew up absolutely loving casseroles and stews, pies and puddings, and my Gran’s were THE best! Her shepherd’s pies though… they were rich, creamy, full of veggies, and so delicious.
They set the benchmark for all my future shepherd’s pies.
Traditional shepherd’s pie
Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with minced lamb or mutton (hence it being called a shepherd’s pie, and not, say, a cowboy pie), vegetables, lots of gravy, and topped with mashed potato.
By the way, if it’s made with minced beef, it’s a cottage pie (still not a cowboy pie). And if the mashed potato has breadcrumbs sprinkled over the top, it’s a Cumberland pie.
Now you know.
I suspect, although I have no proof, that shepherd’s pie may be to British households what meatloaf is to their American counterparts – that is to say that it’s a frugal dish which goes far, and is very filling.
When I was a child, we often had shepherd's pie on Monday evenings because my Gran would make it with leftovers from Sunday dinner. And yes, she minced her own meat - not with a food processor, either. She used one of those metal meat grinders that you clamp to the table top.
I suspect that lots of people of my generation have similar memories.
Vegan shepherd’s pie
Since giving up meat several decades ago, I’ve made a gazillion vegetarian shepherd’s pies (or shepherdess/shepherdless pies, as they are sometimes called) – some have been great, some not so much.
I’ve made shepherd’s pie with lentils, pearl barley, a ton of veggies, just mushrooms and onions, and once, with walnuts. That one wasn’t so good.
This one, with buckwheat (AKA kasha... which simply means 'mash') is my favourite, and does not rely on veggie or soya mince, or seitan crumbles to give it substance. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those - I’m more than happy to have something plant-based which resembles meat - however, this is something I can make pretty much anywhere in central/eastern Europe, without having to make seitan, or having to trawl the health food stores in search of a mince replacer. And paying a small fortune for it.
(It may be mainstream in Britain and the US but veggie/soy mince is still ‘new’ enough here to carry a premium price tag.)
Besides, buckwheat is low in fat, and high in protein and fibre (around 20% of our daily needs for both), plus it's rich in complex carbohydrates and B vitamins.
Also, it’s a staple food here, so is really easy to come by, and it’s incredibly cheap. In fact, this entire dish is pretty frugal. And it’s really filling too.
This vegan shepherd's pie doesn’t have much in the way of gravy - just the natural juices from cooking the veggies - but that doesn’t mean it’s in any way dry. Quite the contrary. Were I to add gravy to this, the buckwheat would just be a horrible mush, and it really wouldn’t be very nice at all.
vegan mushroom and buckwheat shepherd’s pie
- full of goodness
- soy-free (depending on which vegan butter/marg you use)
- really easy to make
- great for weeknight meals
- totally hygge!
As ever, I hope you love this as much as we do. Enjoy!
Do you like shepherd’s pie? Tell me your shepherd’s pie stories in the comments below!
Vegan Mushroom and Buckwheat Shepherd's Pie
For the topping:
- 1.5 kg floury potatoes peeled, washed, and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 100 g vegan butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 100 g dry buckwheat groats
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large leek cleaned and sliced
- 2 large carrots cleaned and diced
- 250 g mushrooms cleaned and cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon dried mushroom powder
- 3 large plum tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos or light soy sauce/tamari if you're OK with them
- 1 tablespoon Vegeta or other powdered vegetable seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- small bunch parsley chopped
- ground black pepper to taste
- A few fresh rosemary needles
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C (400°F / gas mark 6).
- Place the buckwheat into a saucepan over a medium heat, and add around 500ml (2 cups) of cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for around 10 minutes, until soft and plumped up. Drain, and set aside.
- At the same time, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the prepared potatoes, and return to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft enough to mash.
- While the potatoes and buckwheat are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet, and gently stir-fry the leeks and carrots for five minutes or so.
- Increase the heat, and add the mushrooms and mushroom powder. Fry for another five minutes, stirring all the time.
- Add the tomatoes, soy sauce, Vegeta, and paprika. Mix in well, lower the heat again, and cook - stirring occasionally - until the carrots have softened. Add a little vegetable stock if you feel the mixture is too thick.
- Mix the buckwheat, black pepper, and parsley into the veggies. Turn off the heat.
- By now, the potatoes should be cooked, so drain and mash them. Stir in the butter/marg, and season with the salt.
- Place the filling into a large oven dish, and smooth down. Sprinkle a few rosemary needles over the top.
- Dot blobs of mashed potato over the filling, and gently spread out until it's all covered. Rough up with a fork.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, then brown the topping under a hot grill (broiler).
- Serve immediately, on its own, or with a crisp, green salad.
- Leftovers can be stored - covered - in the 'fridge for a couple of days. Either reheat in a moderate oven or the microwave.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
My husband adores shepherds pie. I made one a while back that was also vegan. I must try this version. I haven't had buckwheat for ages. Wonderful idea and gorgeous images.
Thank you for your kind words, Lisa - it means a lot that you've taken the time to stop by and comment. 🙂
I've had more dentistry done this week, so I am, by necessity, living on things like thick soups, congee, and shepherd's pie - huzzah for soft foods!
Kirsty Hijacked By Twins
Oh Nico, I need this shepherds pie in my life! I love everything about this dish, it is going on my to try list! x #cookonceeattwice
Yay - I hope you love it as much as we do... oh, what am I saying? Of course you will! 😉
Buckwheat is a tricky ingredient to cook with as it has such a distinct flavour and you really have to match it with the right ingredients, which you have done so well in this recipe! Buckwheat and mushrooms are perfect together and the potatoes look gorgeous and creamy:) Great photography too!
Hi Monika - thanks so much for stopping by!
How strange that you should say that because I find that buckwheat is incredibly bland and flavourless, and so is great to add to pies, soups, stews, etc. because it just soaks up the flavour of whatever it's teamed with! I actually fell in love with buckwheat when I first had žganci (minus the cracklings and the lard, of course), which is bland as anything - yet with a steaming bowl of jota, it's perfect! One of the first things I do when I return to Slovenia for the winter, is to go up into the Alps, to a little cottage halfway up the Vršič Pass, and have a big bowl of jota, plus žganci. I feel properly at home then!
Now, Amaranth... that's a definitely a grain with a distinct flavour. And not one I'm overly fond of.
That sounds gorgeous. I love shepherds pie, well veggie style anyway. I could happily dip into the screen.
There's just something so comforting about shepherd's pie, isn't there, Jacqueline? I'm convinced that our love of it is a throwback to our childhood!
Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
Wow, how inviting does your vegetarian shepherds pie look Nico....sooo good!! We often make shepherd's pie but I must admit we usually include soya / quorn mince in it so i love the idea of using buckweheat for a change. I've only recently tried buckwehat for the first time and still have some of the groats in the cupbaord so you've defo inspired me to sub the soya mince.
PS My mum and grandma had one of those hand mincers which they clamped to the table too 🙂 it sounds like they were popular in their day 🙂
I've made it with veggie mince, and also ground up seitan that I've made, and it's great but I have friends who can't eat soy or gluten (and one who can't have either), so I needed a reliable alternative. And I wanted something that was cost-effective too. This pie is a total win on all fronts!
I love how we - and so many others - are united by our Grannies' kitchen equipment! 🙂
Kirsty Hijacked By Twins
Oh wow!! This dish looks and sounds amazing! We love mushrooms so I know we would love this meal. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x
Mushrooms are amazeballs, aren't they, Kirsty? Do let me know how you get on with the shepherd's pie!
I love the look of this pie it looks hearty and super delicious.
Thanks Nayna - you're right on both counts!
Yum! Definitely going to have to have a go at this - Buckwheat is one of those things I have kind of experimented with fairly unsucessfully but this looks fab!
I feel the same way about millet, Midgie - I must give it another chance! Buckwheat though, is great - I really like how versatile it is. Hope you enjoy the shepherd's pie!
This looks absolutely delicious and it's vegan and gluten-free! I am absolutely making this. Thanks for the share on Fiesta Friday.
Thank you for hosting FF, Zeba! I hope you love the pie as much as we do!
Julie @ Running in a Skirt
This looks so filling and delicious! Perfect comfort food for fall. Can't wait to give it a try.
Thank you, Julie - I'm sure you'll love it!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
I just LOVE how you used the buckwheat here! So yummy and perfect way to make it hearty without the typical lentil or beans you see!
Thank you, Rebecca... and I know what you mean. As much as I love lentils and beans, I don't want to eat them with everything! There are so many great grains and cereals available, it seems a shame to only stick to a few staples.
Next on the list is millet but not the brown stuff; I got some of that last year, and it just wouldn't cook. I ended up putting it out for the birds - I'm sure it was the same stuff you get on millet sprays! LOL!
IT sounds delicious and I keep meaning to try buckwheat again. I tried it a few years ago but wasn't impressed although now I think it could be that I just didn't cook it properly! I do love shepherds pie too although my mum never used to make it when I was growing up so I didn't learn to like it until I was an adult and a friend's husband (who is a chef) made a really good one when I was visiting. I suddenly realised what I'd been missing. Thank you so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice!
Since living in Croatia and Slovenia, I've come to love buckwheat... and it's a good deal cheaper than quinoa and other 'fashionable' grains/cereals! LOL!
One of my favourite things is Žganci, which when made with cornmeal, is like soft polenta but with buckwheat flour, forms little lumps. On its own, it's pretty bland but with jota or grah, works so well. And of course, it's cheap and filling too. I just need to learn how to make it properly... which may involve the help of my 70-year old Bosnian friend back in Slovenia!
Did you have bubble and squeak as a child? That's another of my favourites!
Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com
Ha - my mum has one of those metal meat grinder machines - she also uses it to make marmalade 🙂 Love the sound of this Shepherd-less pie. I have also made many veggie versions of shepherd's pie in my life (and meat ones - I do both), but have never considered buckwheat before - what I great idea! I love buckwheat and it is super good for you - certainly pinning this recipe 🙂 Eb x
Hi Eb - thanks for stopping by!
Using a grinder to make marmalade has never occurred to me but now you mention it, I can absolutely see the logic of it!
It's great to find another buckwheat fan - I love it! And as you say, it's so good for us too. 🙂
Ooh this sounds delicious! My Granny also had a metal mincer that she clamped onto her kitchen counter. And a deep fat fryer. And an enormous cupboard full of tins. Happy days!
Oh gosh, the tins... yes! Mine had a pantry full of tins too. And jars of jam. I'm sure she was stocking up in case rationing ever came back! Mind you, I do remember when there was a sugar shortage, and she sold some of her supplies to her friends and neighbours... at a grossly-inflated price! I would not be at all surprised to discover that during WWII my Gran, instead of working for the MOD, was actually a black marketeer! Or maybe both! Ha ha!
My Gran also had a chip pan, and made the best chips in the world! I'm sure it was because she used lard though (barf). There'd always be scoop marks in it too, where she'd remove some from the pan to use to cook something else! I don't think she ever replaced the old lard, just topped it up when it got low. Seems so gross now!