A childhood favourite

[donotprint] My mum’s shepherd’s pie was always a favourite growing up – we called it shepherd’s pie but it was actually a cottage pie seen as it was always made with minced beef! It was a comforting meal served up during the chillier months, more often than not with a tall glass of milk which I occasionally partook in.

Of course these days anything meat filled is far from desired or deemed comforting but it’s the combination of a protein rich base and the creamy topping that it was really all about. I’ve been craving a lot more what I would deem to be traditional meals a lot more lately. There is nothing better than having a warm and nourishing meal ready and waiting for lunch.

I decided to give the classic a go of course with a vegan friendly twist as well as interesting topping idea. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to potatoes per se, I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes, but the white kind…they generally don’t do a whole lot for me. After the success of incorporating the cauliflower in the moussaka topping last week I got the versatile veggie out once again.

Before we get to the topping lets talk about the colourful veggie packed base! From kidney beans, to corn, peas, celery and carrots, slightly tomato-ee, plenty of herbs, a little spice…I would of happily have eaten a bowlful just as it was. Jam packed full of variety, the possibilities were endless but I tried to limit myself for the sake of providing you with a compact recipe rather than a weeks shopping list for one dish Smile

Cauliflower mash on top, mixed with nutritional yeast cheesy goodness and a little almond milk, spread out nice and evenly, piled reasonably high….in to the oven it went followed by a few minutes under the grill to brown it ever so slightly.

I wasn’t sure if my dish was oven proof so I was taking one hell of a risk. I wanted a dish that I would be able to load up with the filling. The standard pie dish just wouldn’t have sufficed…besides I thought it would look prettier this way. Food blogger madness at it’s best!

It turned out it was oven proof…no explosions occurred and it survived both the grill and the oven. The topping remained lovely and creamy, the base just saucy enough. One hefty portion, no sides required. Those bowls are deceptive and hold WAY more than I anticipated. What was going to be two pies turned in to one with a little leftover filling for taste testing.

Absolutely delicious and just what I was craving. It had it all…cheesy topping, creamy beans, sweet and savoury veg. and little sauciness to bring it all together. Not a whole lot like the “shepherd’s pie” I grew up with, but it had all the same comfort providing flavours (don’t tell my mum but I prefer my version Smile)

Pretty enough to serve up at a dinner party, easy enough to make any night of the week, and delicious enough to satisfy even the biggest of meat eats…well I’d certainly give it a try!

Of course you could leave out the whole baking and grilling step and simply eat it with a dollop of the cauliflower mash on top but baking it just makes it that bit more special – it also means you can make your two components at your leisure, not worrying about anything going cold and then enjoy it while piping hot (even after you’ve taken a few snaps if you’re that way inclined!).

Do you have a favourite childhood meal that you have give a complete revamp to? [/donotprint]

Shepherd-less Pie


Servings – 1

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 35 minutes



  • 1 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1 tbsp finely diced celery
  • 1 tbsp sweet corn (frozen, fresh or tinned)
  • 1 tbsp peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 2/3 cup mixed beans (I used kidney and black beans!)
  • 1/4 tsp each of dried oregano, basil & thyme
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp marmite – optional but I love it!
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) passata (sieved tomatoes – you could use tinned chopped tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp liquid aminos (you could use soy sauce or a little salt)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • 2/3 cup finely diced cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast


  1. Place onion and garlic in a pot with a little drop of water and “fry” for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add in carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding in more water when it dries up.
  3. Toss in herbs and paprika along with the vegetable stock, tomato puree and passata (or tinned tomatoes). Bring to the boil and allow to then simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add in sweet corn and peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  6. Place cauliflower in a pot of water and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Place in a food processor and blend to a smooth puree along with other ingredients.
  7. Place bean and veggie mixture in to your dish of choice (you’ll need something relatively deep to hold the filling), place cauliflower puree on top, pack and pile high, smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon before placing in to the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Remove and place under a preheated grill for 5 minutes to brown the topping ever so slightly.
  9. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving as it will be PIPING hot! Enjoy!

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  1. I’m the same as you, I’ve been craving traditional meals as well. I think it’s the cold weather that makes me crave them. Your shepherdess pie looks lovely. The dish is super cute. I used go make a shepherd/cottage pie with mixed beans, tomatoes and spices. I haven’t made it for a while. Maybe I should. You’ve inspired me. I usually topped mine with white potato mash, I love both white and sweet potatoes. I’ve never made cauliflower mash before.