A Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe For A Healthy Twist on Passover

April 6, 2016

Passover begins on April 22 and in our search for healthy dinner ideas in lieu of the traditional brisket we found this delicious Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie from Kenden Alfond. Kenden is the founder of Jewish Food Hero, which nourishes the minds, bodies, and spirits of Jewish women around the globe. She offers vegan recipes that are a modern twist on traditional Jewish meals and resources to support an intuitive turning toward greater health. You can find The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant­Based Recipes for Your Holiday Meals on her website here. Get her healthy and scrumptious recipe below and enjoy and excerpt from her book.

 "Jewish women everywhere are already thinking about what they’re going to serve for Passover. Many would love to serve healthier food options on their holiday menus, but how can you when you’re committed to preserving beloved traditions ­­ many of which are preserved at the holiday table?

On a mission to find a holiday menu that inspired me and was healthy for my family, I only found recipes that made me feel like I was a Bubbe or Savta, and were not reflective of my or my daughter’s generation. I wondered if poor health and weight gain was the “price to pay” for engagement in Jewish life.

I never found the menu of my dreams—so I created my own instead. The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant­Based Recipes for Your Holiday Meals is organized around the 10 major Jewish holidays, and designed to inspire women to honor traditions and add healthy food to the holiday table.

Passover is an invitation for food simplicity. It allows your body to experience true “freedom” during a special 7 day period. Keeping things simple allows you to focus on how you feel and the experiences you’re creating instead of worrying about a particular advanced cooking technique or dreading feeling stuffed after the meal.

This version of shepherd’s pie celebrates vegetables in a light, springy version of a family favorite. It’s about fresh ingredients that leave you feeling nourished." ~ Kenden Alfond

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Serves 8


Extra large pot
Large skillet
Small bowl
Potato masher
Glass baking dish (9 x 13 inch)
Large spoon
Medium pot and steamer basket


Mashed potatoes topping:
3 pounds red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 cup almond milk
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt

Pie filling:
2 cups diced onion (from about 2 medium onions)
3 cups sliced mushrooms (from about 1/2 pound whole mushrooms)
3 cups vegetable broth (not low sodium)
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
2 cups, peeled and sliced carrots (from about 2 carrots)
2 cups cauliflower florets (from about 1 small head)
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pepper to taste
Topping: Steamed carrots, yellow summer squash, and zucchini (cut into rounds)*

*If you eat kitniyot during Passover, you can also use peas and thin string beans here.


Preheat the oven to 350 F

Boil the potatoes:
Place the prepared potatoes in a extra large soup pot, and cover with at least 1 inch of cold water. Boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork­tender.

Meanwhile, sauté the vegetables:
In a large skillet, sauté the onion and mushrooms in 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water for 10 minutes, adding more broth if needed.

Add the sage, thyme, and carrots, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth to the vegetables in the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup to mix with potato starch.

Create the potato starch slurry and finish cooking the vegetable mixture:
In a small bowl, combine the potato starch with the 1/4 cup reserved vegetable broth. Mix well.

Add the potato starch mixture, sea salt, and pepper to the vegetables.

Stir until thickened

Mash the potatoes:
Drain the cooked potatoes and mash them, adding the almond milk, pepper, and sea salt.

Assemble the dish and bake:
Pour the cooked vegetables into a lightly oiled 9 x 13­inch glass casserole dish.

Top with the mashed potatoes and smooth the surface with a spoon.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Prepare the garnish:
While the casserole is cooking, chop the vegetables for the garnish, paying attention to maintaining a uniform and delicate shape.

Steam the vegetables for the garnish just enough so they retain their beautiful color and a bit of crunch

Arrange the garnish and serve:
Arrange the warm vegetables on top of the casserole in a design that inspires you.

Keep warm in oven until ready to serve. Serve family style on the table.

Recipe reprinted with permission of Jewish Food Hero. Copyright © 2016 Jewish Food Hero.   


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