Hearty vegetables and nourishing buckwheat, topped with a layer of crisped creamy mashed potato, make my vegan mushroom and buckwheat shepherd’s pie a deliciously comforting, filling, and very frugal cool weather dish. Plus, it's gluten- and soy-free too, and is so delicious, you won’t miss the meat!
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.
You can of course, use less butter/margarine - I just like my mash to be buttery! If you are using salted vegan butter, you can reduce the amount of salt you add to the potatoes.