Shepherdless Pie for the Ultimate Vegan Thanksgiving
VEGAN | WFPB | OIL-FREE | GLUTEN-FREE| ONE DISH MEAL | HOLIDAY
Just because some of us who would prefer to hug a turkey (well, that might be tricky - blow it a kiss?) rather than eat one doesn't mean we don't want to experience those Thanksgiving-y flavors so familiar to the holiday. You know, the ingredients that make a home smell like Thanksgiving. And maybe we'd like some mashed potatoes, but the version available is full of butter and cream and we are lactose intolerant. Well, bring this savory pie and you have your Thanksgiving bases covered - for you and the other herbivores at the table. That's right, all in one dish. One glorious, five-layered dish.
I'm going to be straight with you. If you're looking for a low-key holiday recipe, then last week's recipe is probably more for you. This recipe is best for making the prep part of the party. Get the friends and family involved. This year, I will be giving my husband and each of my kids a layer to work on so that the production can be a real family affair, and more memorable than yet another Xbox session some of them might be doing otherwise. I love that they want to help. If you're able to get help like this, it's a piece of cake. This can be such a fun project together!
One of the beauties of this dish is that you can assemble the layers a day or two in advance. Then all you have to do Thanksgiving Day is take it out of the fridge and pop it in the oven, easy peasy.
Thanksgiving In 5 Layers
Layer 1: Rosemary Sage White Bean Puree Layer
This versatile puree was featured in last week's recipe, and makes a nice base layer for Thanksgiving in a Shepherdless Pie.
Layer 2: Farro Layer
It may surprise you that farro is the ingredient most likely to win over the omnivores. That's because of the "meaty" texture it brings to the dish.
Layer 3: Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion Layer
These veggies bring a touch of sweetness and color to the dish.
Layer 4: Mushroom Gravy Layer
Sooo yummy. I like this with pieces of mushroom still visible, but if there's someone in your bunch who would likely want a serving but is not into mushrooms, try pureeing the gravy layer. Often it's the texture of mushroom, not the flavor, that people dislike.
Garlicky Mashed Potato Layer
Roasting onions and garlic with fresh herbs in vegetable broth brings a wonderful flavor to the mashed potatoes as a puree. Warning: Your house will smell divine with this stuff cooking!
SHEPHERDLESS PIE FOR THE ULTIMATE VEGAN THANKSGIVING
VEGAN | WFPB | OIL-FREE | GLUTEN-FREE| ONE-DISH MEAL | HOLIDAY
SERVES: 12+ sides or 6-8 mains
PREP: 1-2 hours, depending on whether or not tasks overlap
COOK: 2-3 hours, depending on whether or not tasks overlap
Note: I highly recommend reading through the entire recipe before you start. With preparation and time to spare, this can be a great way to get the family together. Or mix up some drinks and invite your friends over to help and hang out!
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & RED ONION LAYER:
- 1 1/2 cups red onion chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 cups butternut squash chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
ONION & GARLIC PUREE FOR GARLICKY MASHED POTATOES LAYER:
- 1 generous cup onion chopped in roughly 1/2 “ strips
- 6 large cloves garlic (about 1/8 cup)
- 1 soft sprig rosemary (about 2”) - soft parts only, no woody stem
- 1 sage leaf (about 2”)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup soaked and drained cashews
- 3 tablespoons plant milk or broth, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 cups dry farro
- water according to package instructions
GARLICKY MASHED POTATOES LAYER:
- 4 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice (around an inch)
- one batch Onion & Garlic Puree (above)
MUSHROOM GRAVY LAYER:
- 3 cups onion
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 soft sprigs rosemary, about 2 inches in size, minced
- 2 sage leaves, about 2 inches in size, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups plant milk (I used cashew)
- 2 tablespoons tamari or coconut liquid aminos
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 6 tablespoons whole grain flour, or for gluten-free, oat flour or cornstarch
- 1 cup water
ROSEMARY SAGE WHITE BEAN PUREE LAYER:
- 2 cups white beans
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 soft rosemary sprig (woody stem removed), about 2 inches in size
- 1 sage leaf, about 2 inches in size
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
SALT & PEPPER TO TASTE
PRE-PREP: Soak the 3/4 cup cashews for the Onion & Garlic Puree (cover with water and set aside in the fridge) at least 3 hours in advance.
1. PREP the ingredients for both the Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion and the Onion & Garlic Puree just through the 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the broth and vinegar and toss the squash and red onion in the mixture, then spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment, with the red onion in the center and the squash around the onion. This should help prevent the onion from burning. Place the Onion & Garlic Puree ingredients (onion-broth) in a 2 quart baking dish. When the oven is ready, place both the baking dish and baking sheet in the oven, baking both parts at once.
2. BAKE for about 40 minutes or until the squash and red onion have softened and browned a bit. Toss them halfway through for even roasting.
3. WHILE BAKING, cook the farro according to package instructions. I used Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro for a quick and easy option, but "regular" farro can cook for 45 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it as you move on to other tasks.
4. START PEELING THE POTATOES for the garlicky mashed potatoes, keeping an eye on the oven. Fill a large pot with water and drop the prepped potatoes in. Make sure water covers the potatoes when all of them are in the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes or until a tested potato chunk slides easily off a fork.
5. REMOVE the squash and puree ingredients from the oven when done. Set the roasted vegetables aside. Let cool about 10 minutes, then place the Onion & Garlic Puree mixture in a high speed blender or food processor along with the soaked and drained cashews and 3 tablespoons plant milk or broth. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed. Add the garlicky onion puree to the potatoes. With an electric mixer, whip the potatoes until smooth and creamy, adding plant milk by the tablespoon until you achieve the desired consistency.
6. PREP the Mushroom Gravy. Mix the flour/cornstarch with the water. Preheat a saucepan, preferably a narrow pot with tall sides. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until all have softened and browned a bit. Stir in the herbs, then the broth, plant milk, and tamari/liquid aminos. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer and stir in the nutritional yeast, then the flour/cornstarch and water mixture. Continue to stir occasionally until thickened. Puree with an immersion blender if desired.
7. PREP the White Bean Puree. Add the beans, rosemary, sage, and garlic to a high speed blender or food processor. Pour 1/2 cup of the broth into the blender. Blend, adding more broth a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
8. To assemble, spread the Rosemary Sage White Bean Puree on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the farro over the top carefully to maintain a layered effect. Sprinkle the roasted butternut squash and red onion over the farro, then spread half the mushroom gravy over the squash and onion. (Reserve the other half for serving.) Cover the gravy with the mashed potatoes, spooning the potatoes carefully over the top to achieve a neat layer.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for 55 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve with the remaining half of the gravy available at the table to pour over the top.