Do you remember what you used to eat as a child? I remember a few things, but there are great big blank spaces. I remember sitting down for dinner with my family, but I have very few specific recollections.
I do remember not liking a lot of things though. There was meatloaf (yuck), and there was spaghetti – I complained about the “pine needles” in the sauce so my parents tried to explain to me what rosemary was. With an aunt named Rosemary, I thought that was very funny as a 6 year old. There were stuffed green peppers (really yuck), and there was chili. My mom actually made great chili, and that was the last thing I ate that had an animal in it (that story to come soon, as I’ll be updating my “About me” page later this week). And there was shepherd’s pie (always too dry).
But now I’ve decided to reclaim some of the things that I didn’t like and make great vegan versions of them, starting with the shepherd’s pie. That seemed like it could have potential if it were more fun, so I decided to make individual, portable shepherd’s pies. And they’re really cute!
I made these in large muffin tins (the kind that have 6 in a pan), but you could use mini springform pans (easier to get out of the pan) or regular muffin tins. And to make them even easier to remove, you can try making them with either paper or silicone muffin cups.
Mini Individual Shepherd’s Pies
- 2 large russet or yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and diced
- 1 package tempeh
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (+ more if needed while sauteeing the tempeh)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 dashes cayenne
- 1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
- salt & pepper to taste
Steam the potatoes until soft.
While the potatoes are steaming, first crumble the tempeh: cut it into several large pieces, then pulse it in the food processor for about 15 seconds. It will quickly fall into small pieces.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft & transluscent, about 7 minutes. Add the tempeh, garlic powder, sage, thyme, salt, tamari & cayenne. Stir together well and cook until heated through. If it’s too dry, add a little more oil so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When heated, put in a small bowl.
In the same pan, add the corn and cook for a few minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar – this adds flavor and also helps deglaze the pan, so all of the tempeh seasonings come up. Stir well, scraping the seasonings from the bottom of the pan.
My potatoes were just finished cooking as the corn was done, so then it’s time to mash them in your favorite way. You can use a potato masher, hand mixer, or place them in the food processor. I used the food processor, and they came out a bit gummy that way, but very smooth. I think they’d have a different charm if mashed by hand. However you do it, add the Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk, salt & pepper before you mash.
Use a little oil to grease the pan(s) that you’re using. Place some of the potato in the bottom of each section, and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides, making a well in the middle. Add some tempeh in each, then corn. Top with another dollop of potato, smoothing it across the top to meet the edges. It takes some patience, but it does work!
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until set and lightly browned. I broiled mine for the last minute to give them a darker top.
Getting them out was a bit of a trick. Since I’d made my potatoes so smooth, they were quite pliable and I had to wait until they’d cooled to be able to remove them from the pan. With thicker potatoes, it might be a little easier. I’d love to hear how it goes from anyone who makes these!