This vegan cowboy shepherd’s pie recipe combines mashed potatoes, pinto beans, and seitan. It balances them all into one savory, slightly sweet, and very hearty meal. Perfect for a grown Paul Newman (à la Butch Cassidy), cowboy, or really anyone that is looking for a deeply satisfying, delicious vegan cowboy skillet pie. It takes time to bake, but wow, it smells and tastes so, so good!
A few notes…
If you don’t own a 12″ heavy cast iron skillet, you can still make this vegan cowboy shepherd’s pie with seitan and beans. Simply spoon the beans and seitan into a 9″ X 13″ casserole dish (or a casserole dish that will give you the thickness you want), top it with the mashed potatoes, and bake. It will likely need the same amount of time to bake, but keep an eye on it and adjust accordingly.
You may need a little more than 1/4 cup of vegan milk to make the mashed potatoes. Sometimes, it takes another tablespoon or two to get them the right consistency. You’re looking for “fluffy and light”, so if they are still lumpy and thick, add a bit more vegan milk and mash the potatoes more.
If you want to make this vegan cowboy shepherd’s pie recipe gluten free, omit the 2 cups of seitan, and add a second drained and rinsed 15.5 ounce can of pinto beans. And use gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce.
Finally, I use red miso, because it has intense umami flavor. If you have a mellower miso on hand, like chickpea miso or white miso, you can use it. Just make sure to taste the cowboy beans and seitan, and add more soy sauce (if needed), because it may not be intense enough for the pie filling.
Cowboy Skillet Pie
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 Tbsp vegan butter
1/4 cup vegan milk (note: you may need more milk) – see note above
1 large yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
2 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (remove the seeds, if sensitive to heat)
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
2 cups seitan, cut into bite-size chunks (OR to make gluten free, see note above)
14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp red miso
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (OR if gluten free, use tamari)
1/4 cup maple syrup
15.5 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 scallions, chopped
- 1. First, you’ll need to make the mashed potatoes for the cowboy skillet pie. In a medium saucepan, add potatoes. Fill with water until potatoes are submerged, cover with a lid, and bring the pot to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, lower the heat. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain off the water, and remove the pot from the stove.
- 2. Add the vegan butter, vegan milk, and salt (to taste) to the pot of drained, boiled potatoes. Using a hand mixer, beat until fluffy and light. If it seems lumpy and thick, add more vegan milk (start with a Tbsp) and beat some more. Taste, and adjust salt, if needed. Set aside.
3. In a 12″ heavy cast iron skillet, add onion, olive oil and a dash of salt. Sauté over medium heat for 7 minutes or until the onions are golden. Add the garlic, jalapeño, smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano and onion powder. Sauté another minute, then, stir in seitan. If the seitan is sticking a bit, add a little more oil. Sauté for another 5 minutes–moving the seitan around.
4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, dijon mustard, miso, soy sauce and maple syrup to the skillet. Over medium-low heat, stir until the miso has fully disintegrated into the sauce. Then, add the pinto beans. Taste, and make adjustments, if needed (more soy sauce? More maple syrup?). Remove the skillet from the stove.
5. Preheat the oven to 375º F. While the oven heats up, spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top of the cowboy beans and seitan pie filling inside the skillet. Once the mashed potatoes are in an even layer across the top, sprinkle it with a pinch of smoked paprika. Bake at 375º F for 40 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven. Top the cowboy skillet pie with scallions and serve.