Taking the full measure of life

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie & Dijon Avocado Salad (A Healthy, Easy, High-Veggie Meal)

January 10th, 2008 · 7 Comments

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This is a recipe I adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe last year. The VT version was okay, but I wanted to boost the flavor quotient. As you can see, I used the staple aromatics I mentioned in a recent post to keep this healthy and make it more flavorful. This meal was a big hit with my friends. Interestingly, people assume the color from the sweet potatoes means there’s cheese in it when there isn’t any!

I can’t eat this meal with soy crumbles anymore because of my soy allergy, but for those of you without soy issues, it’s a great gluten-free way to have a hearty, meatless meal–perfect for a cold winter night. For those of you who have never tried soy crumbles, they are lower in calories and fat than ground beef, and they can be cheaper, too. If you don’t tell your family that you’re serving them soy, in a mixed-together dish like this, I bet they won’t even notice.

Those of us who can’t tolerate soy can try it with organic, preferably pastured ground lamb or ground beef.


Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into small cubes
salt for potatoes
1 T olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. package soy crumbles (looks like ground beef–buy the regular kind; check for gluten if you are gluten intolerant)
0.65 oz. vegetarian, gf dark brown gravy mix
1 2/3 c. water
2 c. frozen peas and carrot pieces (or use fresh and chop the carrots finely)
2/3 c. 2% milk (use soymilk or ricemilk for vegan/allergies)
4 tsp. butter/casein-free ghee/margarine
1/2-1 tsp. garlic powder or garlic Mrs. Dash
salt and pepper

Chop everything you’ll need chopped and set out the appropriate amounts of what you’ll need for the dish.

Cut your sweet and reg. potatoes, placing them in a large pot as you go. Add about 1 tsp. of salt to the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with about 2″ of water. Turn the heat to high and bring the dish to a boil. When the water is boiling, turn the heat to medium. Let it simmer 15 min. or until potatoes are tender.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over med. heat. Add shallots and onion, and cook 4-5 minutes–until onion and shallots begin to be translucent. Add garlic; cook one minute. Add soy crumbles, and cook three minutes or until crumbles are heated through.

Sprinkle gravy mix into the skillet, and stir it all together. Pour in water, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add carrots and peas, and allow mixture to simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain potatoes, and mash with milk and butter. (I put them back into the same pot and mixed with an immersion blender, leaving a few small chunks of potatoes.) Season with garlic seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

Spread vegetable mixture into a deep casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until vegetable layer gray bubbles around the edges of the mashed potatoes.

To up the veggie quotient even more, I usually served this meal with a simple, delicious salad and dijon dressing. As of early last year, I was still having fairly major problems with acidic foods, so I sought to make salad dressings that were still satisfying but were somewhat lower in acid than store-bought dressings.


Dijon Dressing

2 T. grainy dijon mustard
4 T. olive or canola oil
1 tsp. honey
(Add other ingredients as you deem necessary.)

Combine ingredients in a jar. Put the lid on the jar, and shake it well. Let the dressing sit in the fridge for an hour or more for the flavors to meld. You will want to toss the dressing with your salad well so that the grains of mustard are spread out in the salad.

I served a salad of butter lettuce, freshly shaved Parmesan Reggiano, toasted walnut halves, and avocado. Sliced apples or tangerines would make a solid addition to the salad.

Tags: 2/3 veggies · allergen-free recipes · vegetarian · winter

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Les // Jan 11, 2008 at 6:17 am

    This was a meal I was present for!!! And it was absolutely delicious! I’m not vegetarian, and the soy crumbles were just as good as (if not better than) meat. It really was a good meal. And the salad was really lovely, as I recall, even though I had to pick out the avocado because of a very painful allergy. I’d vouch for your Dijon Dressing any day of the week!

  • 2 monica // Jan 13, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Everytime I have leftover mashed potatoes I promise myself I’ll use it to make veggie shephard’s pie. The trouble is I didn’t have a recipe… until now. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for posting!

  • 3 monica // Jan 22, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Sally – I wanted to let you know that I made this tonight, the pie AND the salad! I used TVP in place of the crumbles (impossible to get in London) and added some mushrooms. For the salad, I used spinach and leaf lettuce with some red pepper, avo and walnuts. A fantastic meal. Thank you.

    Monica–I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. –SPA

  • 4 Darlene // Oct 12, 2009 at 6:52 pm


    My grandson is 8 yrs. old. He has food allergens that bring on asthma attacks. My daughter has muscle tested a long list of foods that he tested negative to. When he was younger, he ate a regular diet including meat. Now his diet has been cut of sugar, dairy, eggs, cheese, wheat, soy, all berries, milk, meat and some fruits. This leaves a very short list of things that he is allowed to eat. I’m not real sharp on creating recipes that he : 1. loves, 2. will eat, 3. nutritious for him. Does anyone have any recipes that I can try? Thanks, frustrated grandmother.

  • 5 sima // Jan 11, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Unable to find soy crumbles that are gluten-free. Have never seen veggie crumbles…are they gluten-free? If they are, what brand do you buy? Thanks for your help. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • 6 sally // Jan 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Sima–I can’t eat soy, but I have had testers use Butler Soy Curls and say that they are fabulous. I would rehydrate them before using them in this recipe. http://www.butlerfoods.com/

  • 7 sima // Jan 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Sally…thanks for the fast response. I am looking for gluten-free crumbles to make tacos with. Any ideas?

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