One of the things I miss most about living in a colder climate is the winters. I miss hot teas, cozy sweaters & socks, frost on windows, and crunchy leaves under foot. And that’s just a few…the biggest thing I miss is enjoying soups, stews, and comfort food when it’s chilly outside. I love getting warm from the inside out with delicious, veggie-full, from-scratch food.
Luckily it’s been cooler here! Not cold, mind you, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it has cooled off enough for me to want to wear socks and sweaters in the morning as I pad around the house doing morning things.
I’ve taken advantage of this cooler weather and have been working on my Chickpea Shepherd’s Pie. I LOVE shepherd’s pie. It’s warm, comforting, and easily made vegetarian or vegan. I first made this with lentils, which was good, but chickpeas is definitely better. The chickpeas have a nuttier flavor and hold up better texturally with the sauce and small-chop veggies. Give them both a go and see which you like better! Make sure to read the additional notes at the end for my experience making it vegan.
Ingredients Yield: 6-8 servings
- 1 Extra Large Sweet Potato (peeled or not, your choice, I like peeled), cubed, & boiled
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled until soft (or 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1/2 of 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 generous cups of thick-sliced mushrooms
- 1 generous cup frozen mixed veggies (like corn, carrots, & peas)
- 3 Tbsp Organic or Grassfed butter, divided
- 2-3 Tbsp Unbleached All Purpose Flour (for the roux)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 cup cooking liquid from the boiled sweet potatoes
- 1 cup cooking liquid from the chickpeas
For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 1 Tbsp butter (optional)
- 3 Tbsp Almond Milk
- 3/4 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
*If you are using canned or pre-cooked chickpeas you can just use 1 cup of hot water or an additional cup of the sweet potato cooking water. I do not advise using the liquid from the canned chickpeas because of extra sodium and preservatives used in the canning process.
- Start by preparing your sweet potato. Peel (if you like), cube, and put into boiling water. The cook time will vary depending on how large you cut the potato.
- Preheat your oven to 350° and get out an 8″x8″ dish.
- Heat a large (preferably non-stick skillet) over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp butter.
- Once skilled is hot, add the onions and cook about 5 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Add sliced mushrooms and toss to coat with butter. (Adjust the heat as necessary so mushrooms don’t burn.) Season with salt & pepper and stir frequently, cooking another 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned.
Now you will make a roux. If this is your first time, don’t be scared! Roux’s used to scare me as I never did them correctly, but now I know there’s nothing to be scared of and they are actually pretty easy to do.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle in the flour over the top of the mushrooms, stir well, allowing the butter to absorb the flour and stick to the mushroom mix. It will be clumpy, this is ok. Set a timer for 1 minute and allow to cook for 1 minute untouched.
- When your timer goes off, add in the 2 cups of cooking water, 1/2 cup at a time. Make sure to stir each time you add the liquid. You’ll know when it’s time to add more, don’t over think it. I like to use a wooden paddle-spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Once you have added in all the liquid, then add in thyme and oregano and about 1/4 tsp sea salt and stir well.
- Continue cooking for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. It will bubble and thicken as it heats. After the 7 minutes has passed taste and adjust for salt, pepper, or spices.
- Now add in chickpeas and your mixed veggies.
Measure your frozen veggies into a colander and run hot water over them to get rid of ice and keep your sauce the correct consistency.
- Continue cooking this mixture about another 3-5 minutes.
- While the final mixture finishes in the pan, drain your potatoes and mash with a potato masher in the pot you cooked them in. Add in butter, salt, pepper, and almond milk and stir well. Set aside.
- Gently pour veggie and chickpea mixture into a prepared 8×8″ baking dish and smooth out.
- Add mashed sweet potatoes, spreading them over the top of the veggie mixture carefully.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
- Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Share & Enjoy!
- I attempted to make this dish vegan using a cornstarch slurry as a thickening agent and while it did the job and the consistency was ok, it did not taste as good as when made with the butter roux. I have never attempted a roux with vegan butter. If you have please leave a comment below and let me know how it turns out! I have done a roux with oil and the results were
awfulnot very good. I would not recommend using oil.
- You may wonder why I suggest using cooking water from the potatoes and beans and it’s because it’s super easy, there’s less waste, and you’re getting some of the nutrients back into the dish that would otherwise have been poured down the drain.
- You can, of course, use an immersion blender instead of a potato masher for the sweet potatoes, but I prefer the chunky aspect of the potatoes when using a masher.
- If you happen to have a rosemary plant in your garden or some fresh rosemary lying around, add it in! I love the combination of rosemary, mushrooms, and onion. Divine!
That’s it. This actually comes together pretty quickly once you have the veggies prepped. The frozen mixed veggies save time as well. Happy Eating!