If Gordon Ramsay were vegan, I could picture him preparing this dish in his cozy kitchen in Scotland for his adorable kids. I’m not sure if Ramsay really has a cozy kitchen, but I’d like to think that he does. A European cottage in a Scottish hillside? It’s imaginable. But considering that Ramsay has made it publicly known that he’d probably disown his children if they turned vegetarian, the likelihood of him crafting a vegan shepherd’s pie is slim to none.
While The Boyfriend and I make it a point to compromise in the kitchen (and- hello? that’s the entire crux of our future cookbook), there are times when he lets me take the reigns and prepare an all-vegan dish. I love creating elaborate vegan dinners that are spin-offs of classic meat dishes. If it is done correctly, with the right combination of spices, it is easy to please the taste buds of even the most vivacious carnivore. There’s a classic mistake made by newly-turned vegans when cooking for omnis- they instantly think that the goal should be to convince them that tofu/seitan/tempeh is better than meat. If this is the mission, it will fail time and time again. Forget the comparison altogether; instead, the goal should be to illustrate the appeal of the vegan dish in and of itself.
This vegan shepherdess pie was inspired by a recipe found in the epic cookbook Veganomicon (aka, to some, the vegan bible.) While there are many similarities, the main difference is that I incorporated seitan into my dish rather than the tempeh used by Moskowitz & Romero. As described in our stew post, seitan is a product made from wheat gluten. Tempeh, on the other hand, is made from soy, like tofu. It usually also contains other whole grains and beans, giving it a chunkier texture. I chose to use seitan instead, because it has a firm and chewy consistency that would counterbalance nicely against the vegetables and potatoes.
Seitanic Shepherdess Pie
serves 8- be prepared for leftovers (Recipe follows)
photos © connorgleasonphotography