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 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 100 g dry buckwheat groats
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large leek cleaned and sliced
- 2 large carrots cleaned and diced
- 250 g mushrooms cleaned and cut into small chunks
- 1 tbsp 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 tbsp Vegeta or other powdered vegetable seasoning
- 1 tbsp 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 tbsp = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml