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Curried Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie


This is not so much a #MeatlessMonday post as that vegetarian dishes can be so so fulfilling and satisfying. I have said it here many times that growing up for me meant a very predominantly vegetarian diet, one that I rarely tired of because of the variety of produce in India (tropical country joys, even if it doesn’t have the beauty of four seasons!) and the breadth and depth of Indian cuisine. Just as an example, there are more ways to cook greens, say spinach, than can be counted on both hands; and more varieties of greens with they subtle and distinct flavor profiles, than can be counted on both hands!

An easy excuse for me when I moved to the US and shifted to a meat almost-everyday diet was the much restricted diversity of vegetables in the North East. That is true as is that meat is here (especially, when I originally used to buy it from supermarkets) is so cheap! Sometimes, cheaper than vegetables. But, in the years since I started this blog and understood the agriculture here so much more, I have made significant shifts. We eat a lot more vegetables, mostly seasonal, as much as possible directly from the farmers; buy meat from known sources, try to eat nose to tail (tail a lot more than nose to be honest :D), and overall respect everything we eat and waste less.

Sometimes meals at home are just salt and pepper flavored, especially when making stew with good meat and fresh vegetables. And others, a rich spice profile depending on mood! Lately, I have been on an Indian kick. It is a feeling that ebbs and flows. I love Indian food but do not cook it often, simply because it is more involved (especially South Indian) and sadly, I detest the stickiness of the odors of the cuisine. You see, turmeric is a grand spice but it is a cloying one! They simply take forever to leave the house, days after the last chana masala was cooked! I think it has to do with the closed circuit ventilation that most homes in the West have, compared to the cross ventilation layouts of homes in the South East that allow fresh air to circulate and smells to not linger for long.


To twist out of the traditional dishes but yet embrace the warmth of the flavors of the cuisine, I often incorporate the basics into an international dish. Like this one. Shepherd’s pie is a favorite comfort food. The British/American version is typically heavy on the meat and perhaps just meat in the base layer. The Irish version, that I honestly prefer, has a lot of finely diced vegetables mixed in (for economic reasons obviously). And, now my Indian version takes that up another notch and go all out vegetarian!

Truthfully, I originally meant this to be Moroccan spiced, only I did not have any Ras-Al-Hanout and switched tactics. :) And, that is one of the boons of this dish - keep the base of ingredients and switch out the spices and you have a new dish every time! It is one I would firmly stick into my cooking repertoire.


{Vegetarian} Curried Shepherd’s Pie

Make it vegan by substituting the butter with olive oil and heavy cream with either tofu cream or vegetable stock



1 large red onion, diced fine

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces

1 eggplant, diced into 3/4 inch cubes

1 can chickpeas drained

1 tsp curry powder

2 tsp cumin powder

1-1/2 tsp chili powder

salt and pepper as needed

generous amount of olive oil


1 russet potato, peeled and diced into 2 inch cubes

2 large-ish sweet potatoes, diced into 2 inch cubes

1/4 cup panko crumbs (I used glutenfree but you can use regular as well)

1/2 stick butter + 2 T, cut into cubes

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper as needed

Sauté the onion and garlic in heated olive oil until softened. Add everything else except the chickpeas and sauté until softened. (About 10 minutes).

Add the drained chickpeas and fold to mix. Adjust seasoning as needed.

When done transfer to a deep baking dish.

While the vegetables are cooking, steam the potatoes to fully cooked and very soft. Peel the skin of the sweet potatoes and transfer all to a deep bowl. Mash them as fine as you can. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the 1/2 stick of butter and melt into the mix. When nearly melted, add the heavy cream and whip the mixture using a hand mixer (do NOT use food processor) to make a smooth purée.

Spread this evenly on top of the cooked vegetables and chickpeas in the baking dish. Make any swirls or patterns you may like on top. Sprinkle the panko crumbs on top.

Place on a sheet and bake at 350F for 40 minutes until the sauce from the base starts bubbling out.

Serve with chopped parsley for garnish. It is also great with a dollop of sour cream or cottage cheese!

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Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK