1. Quinoa-Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

    Be warned: I ate all of this. In one sitting.

    This was born out of a desire for utter comfort food, because it’s May and the sky has been grey for days. However, it’s still May so fatty foods really aren’t on the table. However, I did recently find vegan Worcester sauce in my local supermarket (though tahini is still beyond them?!) so something very savoury, with a gravy kick and lots of mush was in order. I freeze little bags of cooked quinoa. It defrosts perfectly and is great for meals like this that need a little somethin’ somethin’ to fill you up. The low fat content leaves you free to inhale avocado dressed with Worcester sauce on toast (heaven).

    The ingredient list seems long, but the broccoli, peas and spinach can be swapped out for whatever you have lying about.

    creamy, crispy cauliflower top - savoury, rich mushroom gravy - chewy, crumbled quinoa vegetable mince

    The Filling

    • ½  a carrot
    • 1 leek
    • 1 field (large) mushroom
    • 3 sticks of celery (from the centre)
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 100g cooked quinoa
    • 1/3 of a head of broccoli
    • A handful of frozen peas
    • 1 block of frozen spinach

    The Gravy

    • 150 ml vegetable stock
    • A handful of dried mushrooms
    • Siracha
    • 2 tbs marinara sauce (I used some homemade that was lying around – use chopped tomatoes and a little tomato paste if needs be)
    • Vegan Worcester Sauce (use mushroom ketchup if you can’t find this)

    The Top

    • ½ a head of cauliflower
    • 1 tbs mustard
    • 50ml soy milk
    • 1 tsp corn flour

    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Steep the dried mushrooms in the vegetable stock.

    Assemble all the vegetables for the filling except the broccoli, spinach and peas. Divide each vegetable in half. Blitz one set in a food processor for 30 seconds. Dice the other half into small pieces. Put the hob on a medium heat. Sweat the leeks with a little stock or oil for a couple of minutes. Then add the chopped vegetables. Season. Let them sweat for a few minutes before adding the blitzed veg. Cook for 15 minutes until browning nicely.

    Meanwhile, Blitz the cauliflower in the food processor. Steam in the microwave or in a pot until soft (about 3 minutes in the microwave). On high, heat the soy milk, mustard, corn flour and a little salt. Be sure to whisk it. When it has thickened a little, add the cauliflower and mix thoroughly. Keep on a low heat. Add some of the stock if it seems a little dry. Cover and leave on a very low heat, stirring occasionally.

    Add the quinoa, peas, spinach and the broccoli, cut into small pieces, to the vegetable filling. Stir and leave for a couple of minutes. Mix in the marinara sauce, a squirt of Siracha and Worcester sauce to the filling. Stir and leave for a moment. Taste. Add about 100ml of the stock-mushroom liquid. Mix and gradually let the liquid steam down, about 10 minutes.

    Assemble in an oven proof dish, with the filling on the bottom and the cauliflower mixture spread on top. Scallop the top with a spoon if you want a bit of crunch. Cook for about 30 minutes, until golden with some crunchy (read: burnt) bits.

    Serve with homemade vegan baked beans or a rocket and carrot noodle salad. Or, just scrape that third serving right from the oven dish.

    Mama Yoc’s Kitchen

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