A classic vegan shepherd's pie but topped with creamy mac and cheese! Packed with veggies yet it's so comforting and so fun!
This shepherd's pie contains 5 vegetables and protein, giving you the immunity boost you need, especially during Winter! It's nut-free and can be made gluten-free by simply using a gluten-free pasta.
Ingredients to make this Winter warmer
To make the shepherd's pie filling, you'll need basic ingredients such as:
- Onion + garlic
- Green peas
- Canned lentils
- Canned tomatoes
- Flavourings such as herbs, spices, salt and vegetable stock (or water)
And even the mac and cheese topping is loaded with vegetables! To make the topping, you'll need:
- Macaroni or any short grained pasta (I used San Remo)
- Nutritional cheese
- Vegan cheese (optional)
How do I make the filling for the vegan shepherd's pie?
Get your favourite cast iron or oven-safe fry pan. If you don't have one, feel free to use any fry pan then transfer the filling to a oven-safe casserole dish when it's finished cooking.
First, saute the onion and garlic in a little oil over high heat. When it's softened, set aside half of the mixture for the topping.
Add all the vegetables and herbs. Saute until fragrant.
Then add your canned tomatoes! Reduce the heat to allow the vegetables to cook. Sometimes I forget to reduce the heat or my stovetop takes a while to cool down so the tomato evaporates too quickly. If so, add some water or vegetable stock to prevent the mixture from burning!
When all the vegetables are tender, add your canned lentils and peas then set aside.
If you're not using an oven-safe pan, simply transfer the vegetable mixture to a casserole dish at this stage :).
How to make vegan mac and cheese
I'd strongly recommend doing these steps at the SAME time as cooking your filling. It'll save you so much time!
Cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Make sure your pasta is al dente as you don't want your pasta to disintegrate at the end.
Use the same pot to boil your potatoes and carrots until they are very soft.
Add those vegetables, plant-based milk, nutritional yeast and salt (and vegan cheese if using) to a high powered blender. Blend until as smooth as possible.
I used a vegetable-based mac and cheese sauce rather than a nut-based one as I find the former to be better for baking!
Once you have your creamy golden sauce, combine it with your cooked macaroni.
Then top the tomato-based vegetables with the creamy mac and cheese!
Baking the vegan shepherd's pie
This is the easiest part! Simply bake the pie for 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
You may also like my other vegan comfort food recipes:
- One-pot Easy Vegan Ramen
- Vegan Rainbow Lasagna
- Chickpea and Spinach Mango Curry
- Vegan Sticky Cinnamon Buns (with maple glaze)
Vegan Mac and Cheese Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd's Pie Filling
- 1 tbsp oil, or sub water
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsps dried herbs, such as basil, thyme and oregano
- 2 medium-size carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large red capsicum, peeled and diced
- 1 x 400g canned tomatoes, whole or crushed
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 1 x 400g canned brown lentils, drained
- ½ cup green peas
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Mac and Cheese topping
- 1 ½ cups macaroni, gluten free if needed or any short pasta
- 2 medium-size potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 medium-size carrot, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 ½ cups plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut
- ¼ cup vegan cheese, optional
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
To prepare the filling:
- Heat the oil in large oven-safe frypan over high heat.* Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and herbs and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Scoop out half the mixture and save it for the topping.
- Add the herbs, carrots and capsicum to the fry pan. Saute for 5 minutes then add the canned tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add some stock or water if the tomato is evaporating too quickly.
Meanwhile, to prepare the topping:**
- Cook the macaroni in a large pot according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Add the potatoes and carrot to the pot and cover with water. Boil for 15 minutes or until everything is extremely soft, then drain.
- Add the cooked potatoes, carrot, milk, cheese (optional), nutritional yeast and reserved onion/garlic mixture to a stand blender. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix together the macaroni and sauce in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Add the drained lentils and green peas to the filling and mix through. There should be some liquid in the mixture, like a watery stew.
- Flatten the top of the filling. Scoop the mac and cheese on top and flatten.
- Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Serve immediately. Store the leftovers in the frypan (make sure you cover it) or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.