Zelda prefers to bake…and cuddle
Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans, the appropriately badass yet strikingly family friendly (and entirely vegan) new cookbook by longtime blogger, Bake and Destroy’s Natalie Slater, made me do something I never thought possible. I’ll just get right to it: I found myself putting a Shepherd’s pie…on…pizza. Okay, I’ve done mac & cheese pie (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t by their thirties), been dreaming about a tahini-dressed falafel pie for years, and heard about a friend’s banh mi chay pie just a few months ago, but this was an unexpected page out of an enthusiastically animated new cookbook. Look, I grew up Italian on Long Island, where the closest thing I remember to casseroles were baked zitis and endless trays of lasagna. My knowledge of green bean casserole comes from sitcoms. I’ve tried a scoop or two of Shepherd’s Pie since going vegan a decade ago, but it’s been packed with lentils, which definitely strays from the classic, and I certainly never attempted to make my own.
Never before, had I anticipated cooking such a thing, so naturally, it was the perfect, surprise fit for my featured recipe on the Bake and Destroy Blogtour today, and now that I’ve conquered this revamped, on-the-go version (one I could take by the slice to “walk a dog”, as Natalie suggests) perhaps I understand this Irish casserole’s influence on the land of the red, white and blue dinner tables, just a bit more.
Certainly comfort food: Shepherd’s Pie Pizza
Pre-baked on a warmed cast iron skillet
Since I hit the local produce market to make this, I substituted yellow beans for the green beans and sliced pattypan squash for the cauliflower, based on what was available. Our favorite part of this casserole-pizza was the herbed mashed potatoes, which I dabbed a little extra of on top, just for good measure. It makes sense, because I’m already a huge fan of thinly sliced potatoes covered with olive oil and herbs on pizza, any day of the week.
This is definitely a meal where one slice can suffice, and ditto for the next day’s lunch, and the one after that…and I bet this holds it structure just a tad more than the traditional, casserole version, which is a plus in my book.
Is this calling your name? Give it a go!
Shepherd’s Pie Pizza
[reprinted with permission from Page Street Publishing]
Some people are born to rock ’n’ roll. Others are born to ride. I was born to put mashed potatoes on pizza. I’ve done it so many ways I can’t even remember them all, but this was my favorite. Mashed potatoes, carrots, peas and plenty of savory herbs make this the only shepherd’s pie you can eat while walking your dog, and for that reason, I am quite proud of it.
Serves 8 to 10
1 pizza crust, prepared (page 100)
- 1 pound (455 g) Yukon Gold potatoes
- ½ cup (80 g) finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Splash of oil, for sautéing
- ¼ cup (60 ml) soy creamer
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 carrot, diced
- ½ cup (75 g) peas (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup (50 g) chopped cauliflower
- ½ cup (50 g) green beans
- ½ cup (35 g) sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons (5 g) chopped fresh sage
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C), bake the pizza crust for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from the oven, leaving the stone inside, and set aside.
Make the “sauce”: Peel the potatoes and cut into ½-inch (1.3 cm) dice. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover the pan and over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook the potatoes until you can easily smash them with a fork or tongs, 15 to 20 minutes.
Sauté the onion and garlic with a splash of oil in a small pan over medium heat, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl with the garlic, onion, soy creamer, margarine, rosemary and thyme. Use a potato masher to mash everything together—some lumps are fine! (You can also use a food processor, but be aware that will result in a gluey mashed potato!)
Make the topping: Steam the carrot, peas, cauliflower and green beans until tender. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the steamed veggies, mushrooms, margarine, flour, vegetable broth, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until a thick sauce forms, about 3 minutes, and set aside.
Spread the potato mixture over the pizza crust and top with the vegetables and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until everything is warm and toasty.
In short, potato + pizza = good times
The ultimate in leftovers?
The Shepherd’s Pie Pizza is actually the latest recipe I’ve been playing around with from the just-released, punk-loving cookbook. I’ve had my hands on it for a couple of busy weeks now, and the rest of what I’ve made is featured below. This includes Pretzel Dogs, Samoa Joe Cupcakes with the DIY Chocolate Cake Mix. The one that got away? I’ve got my eye on the fried Mac ‘n’ Cheez Balls with Ranch dressing for dipping, while J. Legume has been quite vocal about her interest in the Burger Time Whoopie Pies. To be continued, indeed.
The Samoa Joe Cupcakes: Girl Scout cookie dreams come true!
First comes the chocolate cupcakes, then comes a chopstick…
…and the Caramel Sauce…
& finished off with Salted Caramel-Coconut Buttercream, Chocolate Drizzle and toasted coconut.
True story: I frosted 12, and came back to 11 in the room. j .Legume consequently wiped chocolate from her face. Cue laugh track.
Pretzel Dogs of the Dead. Such a dang hit.
Pre-baked (I used the other half of the dough to make soft pretzels for my root canal woes)
Brushed with melted Earth Balance and dusted with Kosher salt. Not Pictured: the tasty Chee-Zee Sauce served with them.
24 hours later: 2 remain
9-inch round cake from the DIY Chocolate Cake Mix
Which J. Legume topped with chocolate coconut ice cream, no less
See the rest of the stops on the Bake and Destroy Blogtour right here.
More on the book over here.
So…Bake! Destroy! Enjoy! etc.
Bonus behind the scenes with Zelda:
Disclaimer: The Bake and Destroy cookbook was provided complimentary in return for my promotional participation on the blogtour. The views and photos within are entirely my own. This is not a review.