Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie Sweet potato

This dish makes a beautiful centerpiece, with its top layer of bright, orange sweet potatoes. The filling of chickpeas and vegetables gives the pie a nice “bite,” making this recipe a top contender for any holiday gathering.

Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 1/2 lb. chickpeas, dried
  • 2 bay leaves
    • (or, substitute 2  14.5oz cans of low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 lb. turnips
  • 1 10-oz. container cremini or button mushrooms
  • 2-3 medium carrots
  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks
  • 2 large stalks of celery
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 3-4 sprigs sage
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4-6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-4 cups homemade very low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 5 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


For the chickpeas (omit these steps if using canned chickpeas)

  1. Soak chickpeas overnight in enough lightly salted water to cover them by 4”. If you don’t have the time, put the chickpeas in a pot, cover with lightly salted water (also about 4”), bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them sit for about 2 hours.
  2. Once the chickpeas have soaked, combine the chickpeas, soaking liquid, and the bay leaves in a soup pot, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for a little over an hour, or until the chickpeas are tender but still retain a bit of texture. Strain the chickpeas and set them aside.

For the carrots, turnips, and mushrooms

  1. Wash everything, and cut into evenly-sized 1/2” pieces. Heat an oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine vegetables, and divide into batches so the baking sheet isn’t overcrowded.
  2. Toss each batch in olive oil, and place on baking sheet. Roast each batch in the oven until browned and cooked through – this can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Set the roasted veggies aside when finished.

To complete the filling

  1. Cut the root off of the leek(s) and remove the dark green leaves, keeping only the very light-green and white parts. Take off the outer layer. Cut the leek(s) into a small dice (about 1/4” pieces). Soak the leek pieces in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, then lift them out (don’t pour them out) and place them in a colander to drain. Cut the celery into a small dice, and mince the garlic. Mince the herbs.
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a 2 quart pot over medium-low heat, and add the leeks, celery, and garlic. Sweat the veggies for 5-8 minutes until translucent – keep the heat low so they don’t color. Add the herbs, black pepper, and tomato paste, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly so the tomato paste doesn’t stick and burn.
  3. Add 4 Tablespoons olive oil to the pot, and then the whole wheat flour. Stir the flour and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the vegetable stock while stirring, starting with about 2 cups. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then add more stock if necessary to bring the sauce to a thick stew-like consistency. Remove from the heat.
  4. Mix together the chickpeas, mushrooms, turnips, carrots, and filling ‘base’. You may not need all of the filling base – add a little at a time until you get to the desired consistency. It should be rich and fairly thick – not soupy. If needed, season to taste with kosher salt.
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap each yam/sweet potato in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until completely soft, 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. Scoop out all of the flesh from the sweet potatoes/yams and put in a mixing bowl with the olive oil and black pepper. Mash with a big fork or potato masher. Whip the egg yolks with a little kosher salt until smooth, and add to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined.

To assemble and serve

  1. Heat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the filling in the bottom of a 9×11” casserole dish. Spread the mashed sweet potatoes/yams evenly on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

More recipes to Prioritize Plants for Healthy Holiday Cooking

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of recipe):
488 calories, 15 g protein, 87 g carbohydrate, 11 g fiber, 17 g sugar (includes 0 g added sugar), 226 mg sodium, 1279 mg potassium, 11 g fat (2 g sat, 6 g mono, 3 g poly, 0 g trans), 92 mg cholesterol

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