Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada, and while most families were spending hours cooking turkeys, I opted for a Tofurky meal instead.
My fiance unfortunately didn't get the chance to have a home-cooked meal with his family this weekend, so I decided to whip up something extra special for him. I had been toying with the idea for a few weeks, and I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try it. What resulted was a vegetarian, Thanksgiving version of a shepherd's pie that I have dubbed Autumn Harvest Pie. This takes all of your standard Thanksgiving dinner components and puts them together in one convenient dish.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking time: 2-4 hours (ingredients cook separately as well. Amount of time depends on whether or not you have more pots than I do!)
Cost: Under $20
Classification: Vegetarian, easily made vegan
- 1 medium-sized squash of choice (I used buttercup)
- 5 potatoes
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5-6 slices Tofurky deli slices (if you want a thick layer of Tofurky, use a whole package)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- sprinkle nutmeg
- 2 slices bread
- 1/4 cup (soy) milk
- butter or margarine
- 1 can vegetarian-or-vegan-friendly gravy
- 3 tbsp. cooking oil of choice (e.g., olive oil)
- herbs and spices of choice (e.g., garlic salt, chives, oregano, basil, dill)
- Numerous pots and pans with lids
- casserole dish
Begin by cooking squash. Cut and separate the flesh of the squash, and boil. Mash the squash with butter/margarine and (soy) milk. Add half the cinnamon and nutmeg, and (optional) 1/2 tsp. of brown sugar. Coat the bottom of the casserole dish with the squash, then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon and nutmeg on top.
Next, chop the cloves of garlic and place in a pot with the cooking oil. Cook on low. Chop carrots while garlic is cooking, then add in. Chop onion, then add and turn up the heat a bit. Put the cover on and continue to cook until carrots are tender.
While this is cooking, shred Tofurky into very small pieces and coat the layer of squash. See the picture on the right for how it should look. Do this until the layer of squash is completely covered by shredded Tofurky pieces.
Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place potatoes in a pot with water. I left the skins on, because the skin is very nutritious, and it also adds nice colour to your dish. Bring to a boil, then cover. Cook until tender. Remove from heat, drain. Mash with butter/margarine and (soy) milk and some salt. Whip until potatoes have a uniform, creamy texture.
Layer carrot, onion and garlic mixture on top of the layer of Tofurky.
Now, for my favourite part: open the can of gravy and pour evenly over the carrot layer. It should look like the picture to the left.
Layer mashed potato carefully over the gravy. This part can be sort of tricky so take care while spreading the potato over top.
Finely crumble bread into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the potato. This is considered the "stuffing" part of your meal so feel free to add a small amount of cooked onion or celery as well, if you wish. Go nuts with the spices! Sprinkle them on top.
Bake uncovered on lower rack for 20 minutes. You'll know it's ready when the gravy is bubbling steadily over the crust. Breadcrumbs should be very crispy as well.
Leave to sit and cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with cranberry sauce if you wish!
- This is a great way to get rid of bread heels. I used the heel of the loaf for both slices of bread and it made a fantastic crispy crust.
- If you have to reheat it later, use your oven or toaster oven. Don't use the microwave or your breadcrumb crust will go soggy.
- You can add other vegetables if you have a really deep casserole dish and are feeling adventurous. Turnips or green beans would go nicely.
This is a recipe of my own invention so please let me know what you think of it. It turned out EXACTLY the way I planned on the first try so I was very pleased. In my experience, it tastes even better the day after.