Here’s the Beef: Shepherd’s Pie

I’m a (relatively new) Seventh-day Adventist and therefore have only been introduced to the strange and ‘spensive world of Faux Meat, Adventist Style, in the last few years of my life. Worthington’s line of meatlike substances with fanciful names like “FriChik“, “Stripples” and “Big Franks” are common at potlucks and, for some families, regular use.

These fake meats are fairly tasty, I must admit, but they’re pricey and rather packed with sodium and odd, unpronounceable ingredients. So I’ve never been fond of using them. Occasionally I indulge in a Big Frank, if someone else pays for it, but that’s about it. The way I figure it, I am vegan because I don’t WANT to eat meat; generally I don’t want to eat imitation meat, either. (This excludes Frontier Organic Bac’uns. OMNOMNOM.)

When I got married, I had a lot of recipes that were favourites that involved meat, of course, and to please my husband I had to come up with some sort of substitutes so I could still make my favourite dishes and us both be happy.

Today I’m going to talk about ground beef, and I’ll include a recipe for good measure. Ground beef is a common, common thing. I grew up eating tons of it.

My ground beef substitute of choice: PINTO BEANS.

I happened upon it by chance one day while making a spaghetti sauce and that’s what I just happened to have a can of in the cupboard. They are tasty, take on a variety of flavours quite well, and add nutritious bulk to many recipes. Dry pinto beans are usually under $2 per pound, while ground beef might be $3 or more per pound. That adds up to quite a bit of savings over time.

Two examples:

  • Pinto beans + taco seasoning + sauteed onions/garlic: instant taco filling
  • Pinto beans + oregano + basil + tomato sauce + sauteed onions/garlic: spaghetti sauce

Okay, here’s a recipe: Shepherd’s Pie for Shepherds Who Love Their Animals Too Much to Eat Them, or People Who Maybe Aren’t Even Shepherds at All

3 cups cooked pinto beans (you can use canned as well)
1 c chopped onion
2 cans green beans, drained (or 4 cups frozen)
2 cans tomato sauce
6-8 potatoes, cooked and mashed with milk, butter, and 1 egg (vegans can skip the egg, use appropriate margarine, and unsweetened non-dairy milk OR blended oats OR blended cashews)
1 c grated cheddar cheese (vegans can use Daiya or homemade cheeselike substances, or skip altogether)

1. Get the potatoes going. I don’t peel my potatoes. I just wash them, eye them, and chop them up. If you prefer peeled, go ahead. Put them in water and start them cooking. It will usually take around 20-30 minutes until they come to a boil and are soft.

2. Saute onion. Put in the bottom of a 13×9 pan. Add pinto beans and stir together.

3. Spread green beans over pintos/onions, and tomato sauce over green beans. Just add enough tomato sauce to make it wet, not look like soup.

shepherd's pie

This is what it will look like, except don’t add quite this much tomato sauce. Oops. (Also, I was out of regular onions, so I just dumped some fresh chopped green onions in this particular batch.)

4. When your potatoes are cooked, drain them and mash them with the milk and other stuff. Spread this mashed potato mixture over the filling.

shepherd's pie

Before spreading, distribute blobs of smushed potato thusly all over the surface.

shepherd's pie

Then use a knife or other type of utensil to spread the smushed potato blobs all over the surface.

5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. For the last 15 minutes of baking, sprinkle cheese substance of choice on top if desired.

shepherd's pie

And here it is toasty brown and golden and ready to eat.

Categories: entrees, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, substitutions, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Here’s the Beef: Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Pingback: Vegan Month of Food, Day 14: Shepherd’s Pie | Too Cheap for Pine Nuts

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