This comforting, hearty vegan sweet potato shepherd’s pie is a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas main dish, but you need not wait for a holiday to enjoy it. Shepherd’s pie is already pure comfort when made with white or golden potatoes, but it becomes even more blissful when topped with sweet potatoes.
A filling of beefy ground (packaged or homemade), black beans, and corn with a subtle BBQ flavor provides a visual contrast with the beautiful orange topping. This could be just the thing for impressing your host or guests at your next Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
Vegan beefy ground options: For the “meaty” filling, you have a choice of plant-based protein options. Use your favorite plant-based beefy ground product (or even crumbled vegan burgers), or make your own easily with whole foods. A list of options is in the Notes section of the recipe box.
Learn more about Plant-Powered Protein by Nava Atlas
Recipe is from Plant-Powered Protein: 12 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives © 2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
For the topping
- 4 medium or 3 large sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- ½ cup plain unsweetened plant-based milk
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
For the Filling
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- ½ medium bell pepper, any color, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 to 10 ounces plant-based beefy ground (see options in Notes)
- 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 1 ½ cups bottled barbecue sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning or barbecue seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- To prepare the sweet potatoes: Prick the potatoes all over with a knife or fork. Cook on high in the microwave until soft, starting with 4 minutes per potato, then adding a minutes per potato until all are done. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 425.ºF. Wrap the potatoes in foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins. You can do this step ahead of time.
- Combine the sweet potatoes in a shallow bowl with the vegan butter (if the potatoes are no longer hot melt the vegan butter in a saucepan or microwave it in a small bowl). Add the plant-based milk and mash until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy. Season with salt; add a pinch of nutmeg if desired, then cover and set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the bell pepper and garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the beefy ground beans, corn, barbecue sauce, seasoning, parsley and pepper. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes over medium-high heat or until everything is well blended and piping hot.
- Lightly oil a 2-quart (preferably round or oval) casserole dish or two deep-dish pie plates. Pour in the ground-and-bean mixture, then spread the sweet potato mixture evenly over the top with a silicone spatula.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve — or just scoop out. It doesn’t have to be neat to taste great!
Plant Protein Options
- 8 to 10 ounces plant-based beefy ground
- 8 ounces beef-style vegan burgers, crumbled
- Or … here are 4 ways to make your own plant-based beef-less ground (aka crumbles). I recommend the Walnut and Mushroom Taco Crumbles for this recipe, but any will work!
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