Shepherd's pie with tempeh satisfies on Meatless Monday

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​​​​No one's saying you have to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as an incentive to join the growing Meatless Monday movement, we're featuring an animal-free recipe each week.

Shepherd's pie is a comfort-food staple that contains several of our favorite things: mashed potatoes, tender veggies and a tomato-based gravy. It's every bit as satisfying as its meat-containing cousin, without all the calories, cholesterol and guilt. It's also a little more complicated than anything else we've featured so far, but we're confident that you can pull it off...because we did.

You will need:

2 8-ounce packages of tempeh 1/3 cup tamari 2 cups water 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 small onions 3 cloves garlic 1 cup mushrooms 2 carrots 1 tablespoon thyme 1 tablespoon coriander 1 tablespoon oregano 3 medium-sized Roma tomatoes 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 cup frozen peas 1 cup frozen corn 2 cups vegetable broth 1/4 cup flour 1/2 cup fresh parsley 3 pounds potatoes (we used some Idaho gold) 1/3 cup hemp milk 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic 1/4 cup vegan butter (we like Earth Balance sticks) salt to taste

You don't have to take this step, but we highly recommend making your own vegetable broth: It tastes much better than the canned or boxed versions. We take two onions, two turnips, two carrots (peeled), two leeks, one potato, three cloves of crushed garlic, 1/4 bunch fresh parsley and 1/2 cup dill, then coarsely chop all the veggies, place everything in a pot (if you have a stock pot, this is what it was made for) and fill with water until everything is covered. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and let it work, covered, for about an hour and a half. Strain the broth, discarding the veggies; you can freeze this for use in future recipes for up to six months.

Or just buy yourself a can or a box of broth.

1. Crumble the tempeh in a large skillet; add the water, tamari and one tablespoon of oil. Bring to a boil, cover and let bubble for ten minutes. 2. Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes. Place them in a large pot and fill the pot with water (it should cover the potatoes by an inch or two). Bring them to a boil, covered, and let them cook for twenty minutes or so, until they are fork-tender. 3. Meanwhile, remove the lid from the covered tempeh and continue to cook for five minutes more or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated off. When most of the liquid is gone, drain the tempeh in a colander and set aside for now. (You'll use the skillet again, so you don't need to rinse it.) 4. Chop the onion and peel the garlic. Peel and grate the carrots. Chop the mushrooms, and seed and chop the tomato. 5. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in your large skillet and add the onion. When the onion is soft and translucent -- after about five minutes -- it's time to add the garlic. 6. Press the garlic into the skillet with the onion and saute for another minute or so. 7. Add the tempeh, grated carrot, tomatoes, mushrooms, coriander, oregano, thyme and tomato sauce to the onions and garlic in the skillet, and saute for another ten minutes or so, until everything is tender and the tempeh is slightly browned. 8. Chop the parsley. Measure out one cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn. 9. Meanwhile, your potatoes should be done; drain them in a colander then return them to a large soup pot for mashing. And while you're at it, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the hemp milk (or soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk) for thirty seconds in the microwave, and add the milk, vegan butter, half the chopped parsley, the granulated garlic and salt and pepper to taste to the potatoes; mash well. Perfect. By now, your tempeh skillet should look something like this. 10. Stir in the peas, corn and the rest of the parsley, and cook until everything is heated through. 11. Whisk the flour and broth together, until there are no lumps. Beautiful. 12. Pour the broth-and-flour mixture into the skillet and cook for five minutes or so, until the sauce is thick -- it will thicken up more in the oven, so don't worry if it's still a little watery. Crack some black pepper and salt into the mixture, while you're at it. 13. Spread the tempeh-and-veggie mixture into a casserole dish (we used a 9"x13" glass dish). Spoon the mashed potatoes in a second layer over the top, using a fork to evenly distribute the potatoes. 14. Bake in your pre-heated oven for twenty minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned on top.

You can also replace the tempeh with some meatless sausage or beef (Lightlife makes a good ground beef in a plastic tube), but the tempeh is delicious; you won't miss the real (or fake) meat one bit.

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