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Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Mushrooms and Root Vegetables

Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Mushrooms and Root Vegetables is a comforting and hearty dish that brings a plant-based twist to the traditional shepherd's pie. This version swaps out the meat for a rich, savory filling of mushrooms and a medley of root vegetables, topped with a creamy mashed potato crust. It's a perfect dish for chilly evenings or whenever you're in the mood for something warm and satisfying.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Mushrooms and Root Vegetables

Ingredients:

For the Filling:
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
• 2 large carrots, diced
• 2 celery stalks, diced
• 1 parsnip, diced
• 1 cup frozen peas
• 1 cup vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari (for gluten-free)
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch (for gluten-free)
• 1/4 cup red wine (optional, for extra depth of flavor)
For the Mashed Potatoes:
• 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other plant-based milk)
• 2 tablespoons vegan butter
• Salt and pepper to taste
For Garnish:
• Fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

For the Tofu:

Tofu: Firm or extra-firm tofu is ideal for this recipe. It should be pressed to remove excess water and then cut into cubes or slices.
Cornstarch: Lightly coating the tofu in cornstarch before frying helps to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the interior soft and moist.

For the Sauce:

Black Pepper: Freshly cracked black pepper is the star of the sauce, providing a robust and spicy flavor that defines the dish.
Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil: These form the base of the sauce, giving it depth and a hint of smokiness.
Garlic and Ginger: Minced garlic and ginger are sautéed to add pungency and warmth, enhancing the overall complexity of the sauce.
Sugar: A touch of sugar balances the heat of the black pepper and the saltiness of the soy sauce.
Vegetable Broth or Water: Used to adjust the consistency of the sauce, making it as thick or thin as desired.

For the Vegetables:

Bok Choy: Fresh bok choy adds a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a crunchy texture, which contrasts nicely with the creamy tofu. It should be washed thoroughly and can be chopped if the leaves are large.

Cooking Steps:

Prepare the Tofu: After pressing and cutting the tofu, coat it in cornstarch. Then, fry in a skillet with a bit of oil until all sides are golden and crispy. Set aside on paper towels to drain.

Make the Sauce: In the same pan, add a little more oil and sauté garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add cracked black pepper and stir for a minute to release its flavors. Mix in soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and a bit of broth or water to create a cohesive sauce.

Cook the Bok Choy: Add the bok choy to the pan, tossing it in the sauce until it begins to wilt but is still vibrant and crunchy.

Combine: Return the crispy tofu to the pan, toss with the sauce and bok choy until everything is well-coated and heated through.

Tips:

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