Adventures in Ethics and Science

Saturday is Pi Day, and I figure we need at least one dinner pie to precede the parade of dessert pies currently on hand. (It’s the whole parental responsibility thing. I do not judge adults who eat dessert pie for breakfast, trust me!)

Since the Free-Ride household is vegetarian, the pie Wilkins posted won’t quite work. In lieu of an actual meat pie, we offer the vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

“Meat” layer that isn’t really:

Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 small onion, finely chopped, and saute until translucent. Add 12 ounces Yves Meatless Ground (or other vegetarian ground beef) and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Puree 4 medium tomatoes (fresh or canned) and add to skillet, along with 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 4 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. Stir and simmer until the mixture thickens up. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Smashed potato layer:

Scrub and trim about 1.5 pounds of potatoes. Cut the potatoes into cubes (but leave the skin on them). Boil until easily pierced with a fork (about 10 minutes).

In a large bowl, mash the cooked potato chunks with about 3 ounces of cream cheese plus enough of the boiling water (or milk, or butter milk) to help the potatoes hang together rather than existing as distinct potato-y chunks. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble:

Spread the “meat” that really isn’t in the bottom of a Pyrex pie pan.

Spread about 1/2 pound of peas (frozen are fine; no need to thaw) evenly over the “meat” layer that really isn’t.

Pile the smashed potatoes on top of the pies. With a rubber scraper, carefully spread the potatoes outward from the center to reach the edges of the pie pan.

Bake at 350 oF until the potatoes get a little brown, about 25-35 minutes.


Serve to appreciative children.


  1. #1 Zuska
    March 12, 2009

    Verily, thou are Queen of the Pies. And yet, my Bird Pie is teh awesome and will totally win the contest! I am so sure.

  2. #2 rimpal
    March 14, 2009

    That sounds like a great thing to try out. Soy-grounds are so good that the last time I made some filling for quesadillas, my guests never found out! Vegetarian! Way to go!

  3. #3 sarcozona
    March 14, 2009

    I just put mine in the oven – I added finely chopped mushrooms to the fake meat mix. It looks like it’s going to turn out well!

  4. #4 Sandra
    March 15, 2009

    No appreciative children, but two appreciative tummies here tonight. Great recipe! Happy Pi Day!

    (I used Vegenaise to bind the potatoes instead of cream cheese & milk, so mine was a vegan version.)

  5. #5 Melissa
    March 15, 2009

    I like Sandra’s idea with the Vegenaise instead of the cow’s milk products! No animals suffer that way!

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