This vegan shepherd’s pie recipe combines some traditional shep pie elements with plenty of healthy kale. It’s one of my family’s favorites!
I am terrible about pressing tofu. The idea of delaying supper so that I can drain a little water from my tofu makes me hungry just thinking about it! And I know freezing/thawing makes tofu’s consistency amazing, but that’s another one that I never plan ahead for. Usually, I’ll do the quick press I describe here, and that definitely gets a bit of water out, but not nearly as much as proper pressing.
When my sponsors at EZ Tofu Press offered to send me their press to try out, I was super excited! It arrived just in time for a small dinner party, so I put it to work pressing my tofu for a shepherd’s pie recipe.
I was extra excited to try this press out because it’s made in Alpharetta, GA, a suburb just outside of Atlanta. Yay for supporting the loconomy!
How the EZ Tofu Press Works
The EZ Tofu Press is pretty simple. It’s basically two rectangular pieces of plastic connected bolts and screws. It came with an instruction booklet, but I will confess here that I am terrible about following instructions. Here’s what I did:
- Grab a big plate – do not skip the plate!
- Unscrew the press as wide as it goes, and put it on the plate.
- Slide the block of tofu into the press.
- Tighten the screws on both sides until the tofu is compressed about 1/4″ – 1/2″.
- Chop some onions for your dish.
- Tighten the screws another 1/4″ – 1/2″.
- Mince some garlic. Forget that you were pressing tofu and start frying the onions and garlic. Remember that you are pressing that tofu and pull it out.
I was super impressed! The bottom of my plate was full of water – like at least 1/2 cup of water!
I diced up the tofu and tried a piece, and the consistency was nice and chewy. It reminded me a lot of what you get when you use the freeze/thaw method, but without the hours of waiting.
Normally for a vegan shepherd’s pie recipe, I put the tofu in at the very beginning, so it can firm up in the pan, but this time I added it after cooking the onion and garlic (but before the other veggies). The results were great! Chewy and delicious.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe with Kale
This vegan shepherd's pie recipe combines some traditional shep pie elements with plenty of vibrant, green kale.
- 4 white or red potatoes cooked (They should each be about the size of a tennis ball.)
- 3/4 cup soy or almond milk
- 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 additional tablespoons olive oil to saute
- 1/2 of a sweet onion chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 bunch dinosaur kale chopped
- 1/2 cup corn kernels – fresh frozen, or canned is fine
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cube Not Chick'n Bouillon (or your favorite veggie bouillon cubes)
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mash up the potatoes with the soy milk, the 2-4 tablespoons olive oil, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set this aside.
In a Dutch oven (or something else that can go stovetop to oven), heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, press your tofu in the EZ Tofu Press, and press using the method described above. When the tofu is compressed by 1/2" – 1", dice it up and add it to the pan.
Cook for a few minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Give everything a good stir, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, and let the veggies stew in there for 5-7 minutes. You’re waiting for the kale to turn bright green and start to wilt. Different pans will take different amounts of time. How long the frozen veggies sat out before you added them can also impact the cooking time here.
Turn off the heat, and use the back of your spoon to pat down the veggie/tofu mixture until it has a flat-ish top. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of your veggies, and transfer the pot to the oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the potatoes start to brown on top. Let the shepherd’s pie sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. You can really make it using any ingredients that you have on hand. If you don't have kale, use collard greens instead. If you substitute a less hardy leafy green, like spinach or Swiss chard, just reduce the cooking time, so you don't overcook the greens.