Parsnip-Topped Farmer’s Pie

February 22nd, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Instead of traditional ground lamb or other meat filling topped with creamy mashed potatoes, I made this spin on Shepherd’s Pie a couple of weeks ago for a light and easy dinner. I left a little portion of the filling exposed in the photo above so you could see all the vegetable goodness tucked beneath the topping.

Shepherd’s Pie—or in this vegan case, Farmer’s Pie—is an excellent way to pack in the veggies. If you’re looking to bump up the vegetable factor in your meals, Farmer’s Pie is the dish to make. I loaded the filling up with carrots, onions, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, and some Great Northern beans for added protein. You could certainly stir in some cooked chicken as well, but all the fiber-packed vegetables really do make this filling.

For the topping, I mashed up not just potatoes but also parsnips. Their slightly spicy, earthy flavor adds a unique twist to regular old mashed potatoes. For a variation on the topping, try using mashed sweet potatoes instead.

How do you bump up the vegetable factor in your dinners? Any creative tips to share?


Parsnip-Topped Farmer’s Pie

Serves 4

For the filling:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into half-moons

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, peeled and chopped

2-3 cups small broccoli florets

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

¾ cup water

1 medium beefsteak tomato, chopped

½ cup frozen peas

1 (15 ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


For the topping:

1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (woody cores cut away)

¾ lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

¼ cup “lite” coconut milk

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Finely chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make the filling: heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, celery, and broccoli. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, and poultry seasoning. Stir 1 minute. Add water and tomato. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tomato has broken down somewhat. Stir in peas and beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  2. Make the topping: in a medium pot cover parsnips and potatoes with several inches of cold water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Boil until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain well. Return to hot pot and mash with coconut milk, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer filling to 11×7 inch baking dish, or other deep baking dish of similar size. Spread parsnip mash evenly over top of filling.
  4. Bake casserole, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until hot throughout. Serve right away, garnished with parsley if using.

Find more nutritious recipes at this week’s edition of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.


  1. Farmer’s pie — Great idea for more veggies! I am always looking for ways to incorporate more.

    When I’m thinking up dinner plans, I usually raid the fridge and see what other vegetables could make their way in. Whether it be adding a side salad to meals, more variety into a stir fry, or adding veggie purees to dishes or soups.

  2. that sounds like a great way to add more veggies! I made shepherd’s pie for st patty’s a while ago, and added my own twist in the form of Indian spices (: This sounds like such a good idea i think I should revisit the shpeherd’s pie soon! (:

  3. I just made the farmers pie. It is wonderful! Tastes sinful but is not!

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