Saturday, 23 March 2013

Quinoa Chickpea Shepherd's Pie- vegan

Crispy, fluffy top with hot runny gravy... this is real feelgood food without compromising on nutrition!

A few  days ago our delivery of wholefoods from Suma arrived. We get a bulk order from them for stuff like wholemeal flour, alfalfa seeds, yeast flakes, brown rice etc. once or twice a year as it saves money and shopping trips and means we can afford some organic dry goods to go with our homegrown veggies. (We are always trying to cut down on costs and energy while still eating well!) We'd recommend this way of shopping for anyone who cooks a reasonably large amount of meals and wants to buy at wholesale prices; you can even get together with your friends to share large orders or form a wholefood co-op with them. (Have a look here  for some more thrifty shopping tips...)
-So anyway, the order was there sitting invitingly in the hallway in bags and boxes when I got home from work; it was like Christmas had come! Rummaging through the stack I found myself trying to think up ways to use it all, and that's when I decided to try a different take on shepherd's pie from our usual TVP/ bean one as the boxes were not the only reason it felt like Christmas...


It can still get cold in March, so we're not quite ready to ditch the hot dinners in favour of salads yet...
... it was COLD! I know it's a cliche to talk about the weather, but if you lived where we live (West Midlands, UK) you'd find its changeable nature fascinating! This week started off all balmy and warm and the first daffodils were coming tentatively into bloom, then within a couple of days there was a freezing cold wind and icy showers of snow, leaving the ground hard and frozen once more and the poor birds extremely confused. Global warming?- Bring it on, I say! (Only joking.) Anyway; the connnection between the weather and this recipe is that this time of year can still be cold so a bit of comfort food doesn't go amiss, and needn't spoil your New Year's health resolutions if it's low in fat like this shepherd's pie. Cheese lovers could substitute some grated hard cheese for the yeast flakes in the topping, but of course this will add to the fat and calories and it's not needed here nutritionally.

This recipe will make enough to feed 6-8 people, so do scale it down if you need to, or else freeze the rest in individual portions. The secret of a good shepherd's pie/ cottage pie is not just in the fluffiness of the mashed potatoes, it's the balance between the top and bottom. The top should not be too thick or too thin, but ideally a little thinner than the bottom, and the bottom should be quite moist or the dish becomes dry and stodgy. (The addition of gravy will ensure success with this!)
Filling:
1 1/2 cups (1 cup being 250ml) dry weight quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked kala chana (or yellow chickpeas if you can't find it)
400g chopped mixed veggies (try celery, carrot, white cabbage, parsnip, courgette or whatever you have to hand)
500ml passata
4 tabs soy sauce
1 tab olive oil
1 level tab paprika
1 tsp compound hing
1 level tab dried thyme
1 tsp coarse black pepper
2 tsps seasalt
Topping:
8 medium-sized potatoes, diced small
 soya milk
2 tsps seasalt
4 tabs yeast flakes

  • Dice and cook the potatoes in a minimal amount of water until they are soft and the water is absorbed. (Don't peel them either; these two methods keep more nutrients.)
  • Mash them until smooth and stir in the soya milk, salt and yeast flakes. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa and set it to cook in 3 cups of water until it is soft and has absorbed all the liquid.
  • Blitz the chickpeas in your blender or food processor until they are minced to the texture of breadcrumbs.
  • In a large bowl, add the quinoa to the ground chickpeas along with 4 tabs of soy sauce.
  • Saute the diced vegetables in the oil until soft, then add them to the quinoa mixture.
  • Add the passata, paprika, hing, thyme, pepper and salt. (Tip: Add the salt last then you can use less if you think the flavour's okay.)
  • Stir in 500ml water and adjust the seasonings if you like.
  • Put this mixture into a large deep roasting dish and cover with the mashed potato mixture. Make it rough, as this will result in lovely crispy bits when cooked.
  • Bake at 200C until the pie is thoroughly warmed through and the potato topping is starting to get brown and crispy.
  • Serve with lashings of piping hot gravy! For gravy recipes/ tips, see here (tomato flavour) and here.
Linking this to My Culinary Trial room's event (see above)


6 comments:

  1. Mmmm, that looks good! Is it lunch time yet? :)

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  2. this is on my to do list for so long , will make it soon. looks delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Let me know how it turns out when you make it :)

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  3. Yummy shepherd's pie!! Wonderful snaps!!
    http://www.rita-bose-cooking.com/

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