Rich, flavorful tofu shepherd's pie combines traditional elements with a dash of greens and toothsome tofu. It's deliciously hearty and one of my family's favorite meals!
Any time the temperatures begin to dip in Atlanta, my family requests a vegan shepherd's pie for supper. And I'm happy to oblige. This recipe takes about an hour and change to make, but there isn't a lot of active cooking time.
That means I can fix myself a tea and relax while I cook at a nice, leisurely pace. Perfect for a weeknight, when I don't want to work hard in the kitchen.
What's a shepherd's pie?
A traditional shepherd's pie is "a meat pie with a mashed potato crust." And I'll confess something now: I've never had a shepherd's pie with meat in it before.
My very first shepherd's pie was vegan, and I ate it at Crank's in London when I visited with my family in the 90s. It was a life-changer, y'all. My vegan shepherd's pie recipe is based on my memory of that first mashed-potato-creamy, veggie-packed bite.
Instead of piling on the meat, this shepherd's pie is loaded with greens and firm, diced tofu. It's still full of the veggies you'd expect in a more conventional shepherd's pie, like peas, corn, and carrots.
And, of course, it still has a dreamy, creamy mashed potato crust.
Pressing the tofu
Pressing your tofu well is critical for this recipe, since the tofu is meant to give this casserole the toothsome texture that traditionally comes from meat. I love to press my tofu using my EZ Tofu Press.
The EZ Tofu Press is faster than weighted pressing, and it does a great job of maintaining your tofu block's shape, so you can dice it into perfect cubes for this dish.
You can get as much as a half cup of water out by pressing with the EZ Tofu Press. I have measured it!
What I love most about this recipe is how easy is is to make. You even save a dish by baking the pie in the same Dutch oven (or other oven-safe dish) that you use to sauté the veggies.
To make the shepherd's pie, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic. Then add the tofu and the rest of the veggies along with veggie broth, water, and a bit of flour.
Simmer for a few minutes as the veggie turn tender and the broth thickens up to make a flavorful gravy.
Once the veggies and tofu are cooked, pile on those rich, vegan mashed potatoes, and you're ready to bake.
Make ahead option
If you want to make this ahead of time, you can do that easily!
Just assemble the shepherd's pie as directed, put the cover onto your Dutch oven, and refrigerate.
When you're ready to warm it up, pull the pan out of the fridge while the oven preheats. Then, bake as directed in the recipe below.
Feel free to mix up your veggies to use what you have on hand! I love kale in a vegan shepherd's pie, but feel free to replace it with dark, leafy greens of your choice.
If you want a sausage shepherd's pie, omit the tofu in the recipe below and stir in my vegan tofu sausage crumbles just before spreading on the potatoes and baking.
You can also mix up the other veggies, as you like. Just cook the hard veggies with the onions, so they have time to soften. Then, add softer, quick-cooking veggies when you add the remaining ingredients.
If you like a little crunch, tofu shepherd's pie is delightful topped with a sprinkle of French fried onions just before baking.
Want to really mix things up? Make this a shepherdess pie! Substitute sweet potatoes for the mashed potatoes, and prepare the rest of the recipe as directed.
How to store
I like to store leftover tofu shepherd's pie right in the same Dutch oven I baked it in. Just replace the lid, and stick it in the fridge. It will keep for three to five days.
If you prefer, you can transfer it to a different storage container. I just don't like to dirty an extra dish unless it's necessary.
Tofu Shepherd's Pie Recipe
For the mashed potatoes
- 4 cups diced red or yukon gold potatoes cooked and drained
- ¾ cup soy or oat milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For the tofu filling
- 2 additional tablespoons olive oil to saute
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu pressed and diced into ¼" cubes
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 packed cups baby kale or chopped dinosaur kale
- ½ cup corn kernels – fresh frozen, or canned is fine
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 cup water
- 1 cube Not Chick'n Bouillon (or your favorite veggie bouillon cubes)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour You can use chickpea flour, for a gluten-free option.
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Make the mashed potatoes.
- In a large bowl, mash up the potatoes with the soy milk, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set this aside.
Make the vegan shepherd's pie.
- In a Dutch oven (or any pan that can go stovetop to oven), heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the tofu, onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Cook for a few minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the gravy thickens and the kale wilts, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of your veggies, and transfer the pot to the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until it's nice and bubbly. Serve hot.
- Add them to the Instant Pot with ½ cup of water. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, then do a 10-minute natural release.
- Add the cubed potatoes to a pot with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, until they're fork-tender.
Frequently asked questions
I wouldn't freeze the whole pie, since then your Dutch oven will be out of commission until you thaw it. But you can freeze leftovers in a freezer safe container!
Either thaw in the microwave or place into an oven-safe dish and bake at 350° F until heated through. This could take anywhere form 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the quantity of leftovers.
The difference between these two pies is the type of meat. Since we are bucking tradition and using tofu, you can call this a tofu cottage pie or a tofu shepherd's pie!
You really do, if you want to achieve a super firm, meaty texture. Pressing doesn't take long, and you can prep the rest of the ingredients while the tofu presses. Don't skip it!