Fannie’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Before I share this blog I wrote on my way home from NYC on Sunday, I’d like to send thoughts, energy, prayers, and love to all those affected by yesterday’s tragedy in Boston.

The blog:

It’s a stunning April Sunday here in the New York area and I’m cruising back to Connecticut on one of the sweet new MTA trains after spending last night and this morning with my Doing It co-host Fannie Cohen in Queens. These trains are great – there’s even a power outlet next to my seat!

The reason for my visit to NYC’s most diverse borough (actually, Queens is possibly the most diverse location on the planet) was to conduct an interview for our upcoming Doing It podcast episode about the stuff we get rid of, a.k.a. waste. This morning, Fannie and I trekked out to the picturesque neighborhood of Forest Hills to speak with a leading member of the Freegan movement at a Stop n’ Swap organized by GrowNYC. Stay-tuned for the show and you’ll learn all about what the Freeganism movement is and much more.

The main reason for this blog today is to share the recipe for the delicious vegetarian Shepherd’s pie Fannie served up last night. Fannie’s crust-less, hearty, yet healthy creation definitely hit the spot after a full day of running around NYC! It’s also really easy and cheap to make.


The Cost

Fannie said the ingredients cost her about $7 to $8. This dish could serve 4-6 hungry people.

What You Need:

  • 2 quarts of Button Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 can of Black Beans, drained
  • 6 or so Medium Sized Potatoes (Fannie used red rustic ones)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large carrots or 3-4 smaller ones, cut in thin semi-rounds
  • 1 large shallot (or medium onion), diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • Splash of Red wine/ red cooking wine
  • A few tablespoons of Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon or so of Dried Oregano
  • Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
  • Dash of Coleman’s Mustard Powder
  • Dash of Red Chili Flakes
  • Roughly 2 tablespoons of Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cast Iron Skillet for baking. You could also use a 9” deep pie pan or smaller baking or casserole dish (8” x 8”)


What You Do

Fannie’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is composed of 3 layers of vegetables:

  • The bottom layer is made up of meaty tasting mushrooms.
  • The middle stratum is carrots and tomatoes.
  • The top “crust” is made out of seasoned mashed potatoes.

First, you’ll want to wash and prep all vegetables accordingly. Shortly before baking, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

For the Potato Layer

  • Place potatoes in a large pan, cover by water about 2 inches, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until soft, about 25-30 minutes (time will vary depending on what type of potato you use).
  • Drain potatoes or transfer them to a bowl.
  • Mash with a masher or the back of a fork.
  • Add the butter, salt, pepper, some Old Bay Seasoning, parsley, and some chili flakes (optional).
  • Mash some more.


For the Mushrooms

Cook these while the potatoes are boiling in the cast-iron skillet you’ll use for baking the Shepherd’s pie. If you are using a baking dish, cook the mushrooms in a saucepan.

  • Heat a glug of olive oil and sauté 1 clove of minced garlic and 2/3 of the shallot (or onion) until soft.
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté over medium heat.
  • As the mushrooms cook, add some salt, pepper, oregano, and any other dried herbs you’d like to throw into the mix.
  • Once mushrooms are tender, add a generous splash of red wine and reduce the liquid.
  • Then, add black beans and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Lastly, mix in fresh parsley and remove from heat.
Fannie cooking the mushrooms.

Fannie cooking the mushrooms.

For the Carrot-Tomato Layer

This can also be prepared while the potatoes are boiling.

  • In a saucepan or skillet, heat a little olive oil and sauté the remaining shallot (or onion) and 1 clove of minced garlic until soft.
  • Add carrots and cook for a couple minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes, some salt, pepper, and a Coleman’s mustard powder and cook until ingredients are tender and slightly incorporated.

Constructing the Pie


  • Spread the mushrooms evenly in the bottom of the skillet or baking pan.
  • Spoon the carrot-tomato mixture on top and smooth out.
  • Next, add the mashed potatoes.
  • Put in oven and back for about 25-30 minutes. The potatoes should be slightly golden brown on top and the mushroom layer bubbling up.

Serve hot!


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