Ever since I saw Claire from Bon Appetit recreate tater tots, I have been determined to get my fix of them. The allowance of tater tots as a meal was not common in my house as a child, so naturally I remain fixated on them as an adult. In what is essentially an excuse to buy and consumer tater tots, today I am sharing a recipe for FODMAP friendly Shepherd’s pie. It’s vegetarian (and accidentally vegan) gluten free, easy and truly delicious.
The ‘meat’ aspect of this FODMAP friendly shepherd’s pie is a variation on my vegan bolognese recipe. It uses frozen and defrosted tofu, which develops an alarmingly mince meat like texture once the defrost is complete. The pie uses a number of flavourings to develop a meat like umami, and is finished with the heart and soul of the dish, tater tots. Tater tots are essentially a lazy person’s version of mash – no manual labour required.
On a frozen tofu bender? Try these recipes:
- ‘Meatballs’ and pasta
- Gluten free and FODMAP friendly hamburger helper bake
- Vegan, gluten free and FODMAP friendly lasagne
- Vegetarian mince stuffed capsicums
- Vegetarian ‘mince meat’ nachoes with FODMAP friendly queso
FODMAP FRIENDLY SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE NOTES
- Make sure you buy firm tofu for freezing. Anything else will not work in the same way.
- I like to buy a few packets of tofu while they’re on sale and pop them in the freezer. That way I have frozen tofu ready to go whenever I need it.
- My preferred method of defrosting it is to throw it in the sink (with the packet still intact) while I’m doing dishes. The hot water defrosts the tofu in around 20-30 minutes.
- If you need a frozen tofu refresher, have a read of this article.
- Peas are FODMAP friendly in 15g serves per person. I’ve added some but you can leave them out if you want to.
- You could really throw whatever vegetables you have on hand into this pie. Some rocket or spinach wouldn’t go astray, nor would some grated pumpkin or chopped tomatoes. Feel free to use it as an opportunity to sneak vegetables into your children by disguising them with tater tots.
- I have used Massell Beef stock cubes for this recipe. They’re vegan (just beef flavoured) and FODMAP friendly.
VEGAN UMAMI BOOSTERS
Because this is a vegan dish, it requires a hit of umami to recreate the depth of a meat variety. Aside from the beef stock cubes, there are a few ways to bump up the umami in a vegan dish. These include:
- Miso paste. Half a tablespoon of (gluten free) miso paste can add a lovely umami boost.
- Red wine. Red wine is huge in developing an umami, meaty depth of flavour. I never recommend omitting it for this reason. The alcohol cooks off and you are left with a delicious, flavoursome sauce.
- Tomato paste and balsamic vinegar.
- Vegemite, nutritional yeast, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and seaweed are more options. They’re not in this recipe, but you could add some to your next pie if you’re into it.
- Green tea is another umami booster. If you have a random cup of cold green tea lying around (or even if you don’t) throw that in for a umami boost.
VEGAN, FODMAP FRIENDLY SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH TATER TOTS
- 1 x 31cm cast iron skillet
FOR THE VEGAN SHEPHERD'S PIE
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 350 g carrots, finely chopped
- Couple of bay leaves if you have them
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Good pinch of salt
- 1/4 + 1 tablespoon cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Tamari
- 2-3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar or pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups stock (I used 2 Massel FODMAP friendly ‘beef’ cubes in boiling water)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 x 400g tin of plain tomatoes
- 1 x 500g packet firm tofu, frozen and defrosted (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons gluten free cornflour
- 1/3 cup frozen peas (optional)
- 1 x 1kg bag of tater tots (check that they don't have gluten containing ingredients if necessary)
OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED:
- 1 teaspoon cocoa (for colour and depth)
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida for that garlic onion flavour
- 1/4 teaspoon clove powder (for savouriness)
- Pinch of any dried herbs you have on hand (tarragon, thyme, sage, marjoram)
- Pinch of allspice (for savouriness)
- In a large 31cm skillet, heat the olive until shimmering before adding the chopped carrots, bay leaves, cracked pepper and a good pinch of salt. The salt will draw out moisture from the carrots so they will cook without browning. The pepper will mellow as it cooks. Cook for 15-20 minutes until soft.
- Meanwhile, mix together the tomato paste, balsamic, Tamari, Worcestershire sauce, miso and light brown sugar in a medium ball. Whisk to combine and adjust for taste as you see fit. Add the cocoa, asafoetida and spices here if you’re using them.
- At this point, preheat the oven to 230C or 445F.
- Once the carrots are cooked, pour the tomato paste mixture into the skillet and use a silicon spatula to combine it with the carrots. Deglaze the pan with the red wine.
- Allow to cook for a few minutes before crumbling in the defrosted and drained tofu. Stir to combine and allow the tofu and stir to combine, cooking for a minute or two. Add the stock and tinned tomato and stir to combine. Cook for 10 or so minutes until the tofu has taken on colour and flavour. Turn off the heat and add the frozen peas if you’re using them. Allow them to cook slightly before adding the cornflour. If you add them together the cornflour will clump to the peas.
- Take your 1kg bag of tater tots and arrange them around the top of the dish. I had about a cup worth left over, so unless you’re using a significantly bigger skillet don’t panic about not having enough.
- Place the shepherd’s pie into the oven for 25 minutes. If necessary, turn the oven to grill in order to brown the tater tots in the last few minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.