Hey ya’ll; welcome to the inaugural post on vegan cookin’.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself, “What do vegan recipes have to do with Tarot cards and art?”
Great question. It has pretty much nothing to do with art. But I like to treat Tarot cards as my personal way of spreading joy and compassion with the world at large. I, personally, am not a strict vegan, but I’ve been experimenting with vegan cooking for a handful of years now. Since my site is finally up and running, I’m going to go ahead and start documenting the delicious dishes in which I take pride. Because who doesn’t like delicious food?
Why vegan? Because it’s generally compassionate to not eat cute critters. And also because heart disease totally runs all up in my family, so I’m going to do all I can to head it off at the pass.
Without further adieu, I present my experience cooking Scott Pilgrim’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.
The recipe for this sucker comes from the second volume of the excellent Scott Pilgrim comic book. There’s a fair amount of chopping, so it’s definitely not the quickest recipe, but once you revisit it a second (or third) time, you should be able to get a groove going between boiling the potatoes and cooking the veggies that really cuts down on time. You can also double the recipe easily to make a whole bunch of meals out of it, and best of all, the recipe itself is kind of barebones so it’s super easy to make it your own.
So. What will we need?
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine
- A big ol’ Onion
- 4 potatoes (I’d recommend sweet potatoes, but russet works fine if your favorite color is beige)
- Chives and Dill (optional)
- Smart Balance or whatever vegan butter you dig
- Some kind of non-dairy milk beverage (I like almond or coconut milk)
- A celery stalk
- 4 or 5 carrots
- Vegan gravy mix
- Fake ground beef (1-2 packages, depending on size. Worst case scenario, you may make a little extra)
- Some salt
- A baking dish. 13 x 9 inches or thereabouts (This is what I use for a double batch. You can probably get away with smaller)
- Boil a bunch of water while you’re peeling the potatoes and cutting them into chunks. Put ‘em in that boiling pot for maybe 15-20 minutes. Y’know. Til they’re cooked.
- While boiling the taters, dice up the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. When that’s done, put ‘em in a large pan and sauté them with olive oil for 20 minutes. I like my onion on the caramelized side, so I tend to go a little longer. But you do you, because I’m sure your way is cool too. Stir frequently unless you want it burnt. I would definitely recommend adding red wine during the sautéing process, because it’s delicious.
- Back to the tatoes. Add chives, dill (go light and add more if you need it), smart balance, and some of your milk substitute of choice. Mash the tatoes and ingredients all up together. Taste to check deliciousness. You’ll probably want to add some salt here.
- Back to the sautéed veggies. Once they’re cooked to your liking, add the fake meat, the gravy mix, and a few generous splashes of your milk substitute to activate the gravy mix. Now stir it all up. I should mention you can use a homemade gravy and pour it right in if you want. Just use less than you expect, because if you use too much, you’re going to be boiling it down for a while (although it will probably still taste awesome in such a circumstance).
- Place that whole veggie concoction into your baking pan and smooth it out. Now, take your mashed potato deliciousness and smooth that on top of it to form a shell on top. If you enjoy nutritional yeast as much as I do, you’ll sprinkle it on top. You can totally serve it this way, or…
- Put it in the oven with the broiler on for a few minutes. Keep an eye on it until the potatoes get a little bit of that browned broiler touch. You’re done. Go wow your friends with it, because it’s a crowd pleaser.
You can add pretty much anything to the veggies in this recipe. Want peppers in there? Chopped mushrooms? Cooked spinach? Some corn? They’ll all work great as riffs on this recipe.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be cooking up breakfast grub in the form of Heart of Steel Cut Oat Bars (courtesy Bake And Destroy’s recipe) and making my own seitan with a corned beef marinade flavor (courtesy the Chicago Diner cookbook).
And one last plug: If you like this, you owe it to yourself to check out Vegan Vortex this weekend from 11am-4pm. Sure, I’m going to be reading Tarot card readings and selling arty stuff, but you can also find vegan tamales, biscuits and gravy, deep dish pizza, and innumerable other sweet and savory delights.