Spice in the Kitchen: Mexican-style Shepherd's Pie

The weather is finally chilly enough to prepare baked casseroles for dinner! I love not having to stand over a stove and to let my little oven do all the hard work for me.

I also love eating kale, but was getting bored with the usual ways of preparing it (normally in a soup or an sauteed withAsian-inspired sauce), so I came up with something a bit more unexpected: a vegan shepherd's pie, but with not one, but two twists! It's super healthy with a power nutritional boost from the kale, black beans, and quinoa and it's loaded with Mexican spices! It's like eating a seven-layer dip for dinner!

Serve it right out of the oven to a hungry crowd, bring it to a potluck, bake it now, serve it later (or even freeze it to bake later), wrap the left overs in a whole wheat burrito shell and bring it to lunch the next day... the possibilities of this dish are virtually endless.

Mexican-style Shepherd's Pie with Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, & Black Beans Recipe (vegan)
serves 8-10; prep time: hands on, 30 minutes; cooking time, 1.5 hours in total

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • garlic or hing
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tep red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups finely minced multi-colored peppers
  • 1/2 cup minced onion (or hing)
  • 1 clove garlic minced (or hing)
  • 1/8 cup finely minced cilantro
  • 1 TB minced basil
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1.5 cups frozen organic sweet corn
  • 16 ounces salsa
  • 1 package Daiya cheese
  • for garnish: chopped tomatoes, avocado, vegan sour cream, chopped lettuce


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Wrap un-peeled sweet potato with tin foil and toss in oven for about 45-60 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, chop your veggies.
  4. Prepare quinoa: bring quinoa and water to a boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Steam kale until soft.
  6. Saute oil and spices in a pan for 30 seconds, add peppers, onion, garlic (or hing), cilantro, and basil. Saute until soft. Add carrots and saute.
  7. Mix in tomato paste, beans, and hot sauce. Add salt and pepper. Stir unti well combined. Remove form heat.
  8. Remove sweet potato from oven, peel away skins, and mash with juice of one lime, salt and 1 TB of olive oil. Lower oven heat to 350.
  9. In a large casserole dish sprayed with oil, layer your prepared ingredients: 1/2 of the beans, 3/4 cup cheese, 1/2 of the quinoa, all your kale, 8 ounces salsa, beans, 3/4 cheese, corn, quinoa, remaining salsa, then top with the mashed sweet potatoes. (Alternatively, you could combine all ingredients, except sweet potatoes, fill casserole dish and then top with potatoes). Sprinkle top with chili powder, Daiya and bake for 30 minutes. 
  10. Serve with garnishes and enjoy!

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  1. omgeee!! All of my fav veggies and grains in one dish!! And the daiya cheese is a bonus!! thanks for sharing! I've definitely got to make this!!!

  2. Sounds delicious. I'm really into one-dish casserole meals; they are so easy.

  3. I'd love to try this but I don't see any indication of the quantity of the beans.


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