I stand in the garden as the sun sinks below the green pines. Earthen colors of winter are more pronounced now. Pinecone laden branches sway in the wind and I treasure the stillness of nature, my sanctuary from the busyness of holiday to-dos.
In a season where packed holiday schedules and stress can manifest, carving out time for the gentleness of presence grows mindful connections with our family, our community and more importantly, ourselves. And while cooking nourishing meals often takes time and effort, there are times when we simply need a little help. Which is why crafting comfort food like these Instant Pot Vegan Shepherd’s Pies are a saving grace during the holidays. Festive enough to serve to guests (or fast enough for busy nights), these individual pies deliver fuss-free comfort food and sumptuous flavors to your holiday table.
Topped with the fluffiest mashed potatoes you’ll ever have, these Instant Pot Vegan Shepherd’s Pies don’t require a ton of energy or forethought. Unlike traditional Shepherd’s pie recipes that can take upwards of an hour or more, using the Instant Pot ensures these pies are ready in just 30 minutes. They’re nourishing and warming, yet full of classic flavors and good-for-you ingredients (like vitamin D2 touting mushrooms, protein-packed tempeh and pecans, and phytonutrient-rich leeks, carrots and more!).
Red wine and a bit of vegetable broth marry a tempeh-pecan meaty crumble with winter vegetables and a fresh bouquet garni (comprised of rosemary, thyme, and sage). Served in ramekins and topped with hearty mashed potatoes, digging into these vegan shepherd’s pies are complex flavor bliss.
Nesting back inside with the twinkle of holiday lights, I grab a spoon and can hardly wait to warm-up with this little serving of comfort. Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, I hope you are able to create a little space for wellness and nourishment, with a simple recipe or two, that gives time back to you!
Looking for more seasonal and/or self-care recipes?
🌟 For a little “me time” try this Golden Chai Latte.
🌟Holiday appetizers are easy with these Hoisin-Glazed Vegan Meatballs.
🌟 Santa approved cookies can be found here.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs of celery, sliced
- 1 leek, cleaned and sliced, ends removed
- 3 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- bouquet garni (comprised of thyme, rosemary and sage)
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 cup frozen organic peas
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 8 oz organic tempeh, cubed
- ½ cup pecans (toasted if you aren't in a rush)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- salt to taste
- fresh herbs to top (I used a mixture of parsley, dill, sage and thyme)
- Add pecans, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, sea salt and Italian seasoning to a food processor. Pulse about 10 times to mix the pecans with the spices. (Do not over grind.)
- Then add the cubed tempeh and tamari to the pecan mixture, and pulse lightly (about 20 more times) until the tempeh-pecan mixture comes together and is coarsely mixed.
- Next set the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting. Add in the olive oil (3 tbsp of olive oil is a little more than what I’d normally work with, but I found adding a bit more oil up front avoided burning and sticking), the carrots, onions, celery and leeks. Sauté for roughly 5 minutes or so, then add the mushrooms and sauté for another couple of minutes.
- Pour in the red wine, vegetable broth and add your bouquet garni (more on this in the Notes section) and tempeh-pecan meaty crumble.
- Place your Instant Pot trivet into the Shepherd's pie mixture and sit the peeled potatoes on top.
- Cancel the Sauté setting and change the setting to Manual for 12 minutes. Make sure your Instant Pot lid valve is set to “sealing.”
- While the Instant Pot is working its magic, pre-heat the oven to broil.
- Once the Instant Pot is done, transfer the potatoes to a food processor. Pour the almond milk over the top, add the vegan butter and puree until smooth. Do not over puree, or the potatoes will be hard to work with and glue-like.
- Fold in the frozen peas to the vegan Shepherd's pie filling and spoon the filling into 6 large ramekins (or an 8 x 8 baking dish). Top each serving with the mashed potatoes. Transfer ramekins to a large baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Broil for 5-10 minutes (this will vary depending on your oven — keep a close watch!) until the potatoes are golden brown on top.
- Allow the vegan Shepherd's pies to cool ever so slightly, top with fresh herbs and enjoy!