Recipe: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (and a confession)

I have something very important to own up to here today.

Are you ready for it?

I don’t understand the full-on pumpkin obsession that is happening right now.

I just don’t.

in skillet with handle - edited

As a foodie, a blogger, and a huge fan of fall, I feel a little bad about this.  I mean, anyone who has browsed through a blogroll lately, walked past a bakery or coffee shop, or even taken a trip to the grocery store has surely seen the pumpkin explosion that is taking over the food world.

Pumpkin is a big deal, y’all.  And, I just don’t get it.

It’s fine, I guess.  It’s alright. It’s O.K.   But, honestly, it’s not a flavor that I get excited about.  I think my pumpkin gene never fully developed.  I get excited about other fall flavors, namely apple, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.  I go nuts for steaming bowls of soup, rich broths, and earthy aromas.  I’m crazy about casseroles, root vegetables, and pots of warm chili.  But, pumpkin?

Eh.

I could take it or leave it.

cooking - edited

I realize I probably just lost a lot of cred with you all, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I felt it needed to be said.

In that vain, I hope you enjoy this dish.  It is perfect for a chilly autumn evening, eaten in a setting where you feel comfortable and cozy, in the company of those you’re most at home with.  And with nary a pumpkin in sight.

For those who are disappointed with me and think I’m missing out, don’t worry . . . I’ll probably cave in and bake some pumpkin bread soon.

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie bowl - edited

Tweaked just a smidge from the wonderful Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  •  2 lbs potatoes (I used red), cubed (peeled or unpeeled – it’s up to you)
  • ½ cup soy milk creamer
  • 1 tblspn Earth Balance (or oil or butter)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped into ½ inch pieces (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups packed spinach, chopped
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tblspn Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (could sub soy sauce or tamari)
  • 1 tblspn red miso
  • 1 tblspn fresh thyme (or 1 tspn dried)
  • 1 tblspn fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tspn dried)
  • 1 tspn fresh oregano (or ½ tspn dried)
  • ¼ tspn dried, ground sage
  • 1 1/2 tblspns corn starch
  • 2 tblspns water
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare the potatoes by boiling them in a large pot of salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.  When tender, drain and toss into a large bowl (if using a hand mixer/masher) or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add soy milk and Earth Balance and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Mix/mash until soft and creamy.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a large cast iron skillet or large sauté pan with cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook until they are soft and begin to brown.  Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Next, add the vegetable broth, Bragg’s, miso, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs.  Bring the broth up to a low boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender and cooked through.
  4. Add the spinach to the skillet and mix well.  Let the spinach wilt over the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Finally, mix together the corn starch with the 2 tablespoons water until smooth and stir into the skillet.  Cook for a few minutes longer, until the sauce has thickened up a bit.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat and turn on your broiler to high.  If you used a cast iron skillet, leave the vegetables in the skillet at this point and spoon the mashed potatoes evenly onto the top.  If you used another sauté pan, transfer the vegetables into an oven-safe baking dish and then continue on by spooning the mashed potatoes onto the top.    Place skillet or dish under the broiler for approximately 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Recipe: Spicy Potatoes and Cabbage in Herby Tomatoes

Have you ever eaten a meal that is so humble it takes you by surprise?

potatoes and cabbage plated - edited

There are no big super foods here.  No crazy punch of unusual or particularly bold seasoning.  No exotic ingredient, rare or peculiar.

What we have here are the basics – potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage.  Staples.  Hearty, strong ingredients that have fed people for centuries.  Nothing in this dish screams of specialness or excitement, but in my mind, that’s precisely what makes it so good.  My first bites of this meal were taken with a lack of enthusiasm.  I expected nourishment, but nothing to get worked up about.  As I continued to eat it, though, working my way through my plate, then seconds, and then leftovers the next two days, I fell in love with this humble meal.

potatoes and cabbage - close up in bowl edited

While I’ve called this dish simple, I don’t mean it as a slight.  It’s a compliment.  Hearty vegetables dressed up with aromatics and emboldened with a bit of peppery-heat make for a dish that feels like the best kind of old friend – familiar and warm, but still able to catch you by surprise.

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Spicy Potatoes and Cabbage in Herby Tomatoes

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 lbs potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 ½ tblspns tomato paste
  • 1 tspn agave
  • 1 tblspn olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tspn dried oregano
  • ½ tspn ground cumin
  • 5 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced (optional, depending on your heat preference/tolerance)
  • 3 tblspns lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Hearty sprinklings of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Submerge chopped cabbage in water and blanch for 5-6 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Return pot of water to stove and return to a boil.  Add chopped potatoes and boil 5-7 minutes, until tender.  Drain potatoes, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking water, and set aside.
  3. Add tomato paste and agave into reserved cooking water, stir to combine, and set aside.
  4. Warm oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  When warm, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until vegetables soften.
  5. Add tomatoes, chiles, tomato paste/water mixture, oregano, and cumin to the pot.  Continue to cook for 5-6 more minutes.
  6. Add cabbage and potatoes to the pot.  Add a hearty sprinkling of salt and pepper, too.  Stir to combine all ingredients and let cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, just to get everything combined and warmed back up.
  7. Turn off heat, add lime juice and cilantro, and stir to combine.  Taste and add extra salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Serve over rice or quinoa, or with warm tortillas.

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Yellow Curry Vegetable Stuffed Burritos

Its Virtual Vegan Potluck time, people!

A whole day where the blogging world is flooded with a variety of delicious vegan recipes is one of the best days ever.  This is my first time participating and I am thrilled to be able to share this recipe.

burrito sliced - edited

I put quite a lot of thought into what I would contribute to the potluck.  I knew that I wanted to create something different from recipes I’ve featured on the blog in the past and I also knew I wanted something that would really represent who I am as a foodie.  It would be a tall order to find the perfect representation of my food tastes, as I like a lot of different things for a variety of reasons, but I do feel that in many ways, this meal does it.  It is full of veggies, packs layers of flavor, includes potatoes (one of the foods I find most satisfying to eat), allows for some flexibility and personal twists to be made, and it gets rolled up in a tortilla.

I love anything that can be rolled up in a tortilla.  Tortillas make life better.  Period.

I stand by that broad, sweeping claim. (I ❤ tortillas.)

Collage

I made my own curry powder for this, which I highly recommend.  It can seem daunting when you look at the long list of ingredients, but the process itself is straightforward.  If you have access to a bulk spice and herb shop, consider paying them a visit.  You certainly can use a pre-mixed curry powder, too, if blending your own powder isn’t your thing.

You’ll also notice that I cook the potatoes separately from the other ingredients.  There is a reason for this extra step, my friends, and that is to give the potatoes a slightly crisp outside, which will lend to textural variety in the burrito itself.  You could cook the potatoes differently.  You could do so.  BUT, you would lose the slightly crunchy, delicious potato magic that happens when you roast them in this way and who wants to lose that?

flat tortilla with filling - edited

I served my burritos with a side of snap peas sautéed up with some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, garlic, ginger, a dash of sesame oil, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  I also took leftover burritos for lunch (as I tend to do with leftovers) and they held up nicely.  I would venture to say that the curry flavors may have even deepened upon sitting overnight.

I hope you try them.  I hope you love them.  And, I hope you find lots of goodies visiting all the Virtual Vegan Potluck dishes!

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Yellow Curry Vegetable Stuffed Burritos  rolled burritos on pan 2 - edited

Makes 10 burritos

Ingredients:

For the curry powder:

  • ½ tblspn coriander seed
  • 1/2 tblpsn white peppercorns
  • 1 tspn yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tspn cumin seed
  • ¼ tspn fennel seed
  • 1 tblspn ground turmeric
  • 1 tspn red pepper flakes
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • ¼ tspn ground fenugreek
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 curry leaves, minced (optional)

For the burritos:

  • 1 cup yellow onion (about ½ large onion), diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped small
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 ½ tblspn olive or canola oil, divided
  • 2 tblspns curry powder (above recipe or pre-mixed), plus more for sprinkling on potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tblspn fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tblspns vegetarian fish oil (if you can’t find this ingredient, vegetable stock may be substituted)
  • 10 soft burrito-sized tortillas
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fistful cilantro, chopped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment.
  2. To make the curry powder, place first 5 ingredients (all the seeds) into a dry skillet over medium-high heat.  Toast the spices, shaking and stirring seeds often, until they start to pop and become fragrant.  Remove from heat and grind into a fine powder.  I used a coffee grinder for this, but you can use a mortar and pestle if needed.  When ground, add all other curry ingredients and stir together to combine well.  Set aside.
  3. Place chopped potatoes into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a hearty sprinkling of curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Toss to combine and coat potatoes well.  Spread potatoes out onto parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, make the rest of the filling.  Heat ½ tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large non-stick sauté pan or cast iron skillet.  Add onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, until starting to soften.
  5. Add bell pepper, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons of the curry powder to the pan, stir so all ingredients are coated with the curry powder, and sauté for 3-4 minutes this way.
  6. To finish cooking the vegetables, add the vegetarian fish oil to the pan, stir, and cover.  Cook, covered, for 5 minutes over medium heat.  You may want to stir once or twice during this time to prevent any items from burning, but keep covered when not stirring.
  7. Turn off heat and add cooked potatoes to the pan with the rest of the vegetables.  Combine well.
  8. To make burritos, fill each tortilla with ¾ cup – 1 cup of the filling, sprinkle with cilantro, and roll up.

*** Note:  If you want to keep burritos warm while you eat an appetizer or finish any side dish preparations, you can place rolled burritos onto a baking sheet and into an oven heated to 200 degrees until ready to serve.

Click here to see the tasty dish that preceded mine in the Potluck (@ vegan miam):  Go back

Click here to check out the next goodie in the line up (@ Honk If You’re Vegan):  Go forward