By Sari Huhtala
You know you’re onto something when your own mother says “This tastes better than my shepherd’s pie.” This means something coming from a woman who has a lifetime of experience making hearty homecooked European meals made with meat, potatoes and veggies. Imagine that? And not only is there no meat in there, you can whip it up in a minimal amount of time and fuss for a fraction of the cost of making a conventional shepherds pie with ground beef.
Those who’ve read The China Study, which references studies that stem from a nationwide survey to collect data on incidence of cancer among 880 million people in China, may recall that one of the findings in those studies revolved around fibre from plant-based foods. They discovered people who ate more plant-based foods had more fibre in their diet and as a result higher iron hemoglobin levels in their blood than those who ate animal-based foods. That’s right. Higher levels of iron! How much fibre is in a pound of ground beef? Zero. How much fibre is in a cup of mixed beans? A whopping 48 per cent of your daily recommended fibre needs, not to mention 13 grams of protein.
Just as an aside, one of the biggest findings outlined in The China Study was that animal-based diets are “strongly” linked to breast cancer.
This recipe is incredibly easy. Teach it to your son or daughter who is heading off to college this year, or send them off with a load of single-portion frozen meals for a go-to dinner.
Vegan shepherds pie
• 1 540-ml can of mixed bean medley – chick peas, kidney beans, romano beans and black beans are a nice combo
• 4 potatoes
• 1 can of organic non-GMO corn
• 2 medium onions, finely chopped
• 5 cloves of garlic, minced
• A few tablespoons of olive oil
• Salt and seasonings of choice (garlic powder, sage, onion powder, paprika, thyme, parsley)*
*Do not use store-bought shepherd’s pie seasoning made with chemicals, caramel colour and other nasties.
Peel and cut potatoes into chunks and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, chop onion and mince garlic. Drizzle oil in a pan and sauté onion and garlic till transparent. Mash the beans with a potato masher until no chunks remain. Stir into pan with onions. Add seasonings and blend well, and leave to simmer on low for about five minutes.
Boil potatoes till soft, drain, leaving a bit of extra water from the boiled potatoes to mash them with. Spread the bean mixture in a lightly oiled baking dish. Top with corn. Spread mashed potato on top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, if desired.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.