Creamy but not heavy, full of veggies, plant based, and really easy to make. This easy to make soup uses Shepherd’s Pie ingredients but combines them in a savory broth that is the perfect comforting food for chilly days or a day where you just need soup.
This recipe for Shepherd’s Pie Soup is fairly straightforward. A bunch of veggies, stock, and seasonings. There are ingredients that you can swap without affecting the end result, but there are a few that you need in order to get the desired flavor. Makes sure to read the recipe closely and the notes for the ingredients.
The baked dish version of Shepherd’s Pie started popping up in the mid 1800s and was made with mostly minced meat and a potato topping. It was a way of using up leftovers. The dish itself is similar to cottage pie, but cottage pie typically uses beef mince and shepherd’s pie uses lamb. I guess the name gives it away. Naughty little lamb pissed off the shepherd and got turned into a pie. Over the years it has evolved into what it is today. Shepherd’s pie is often a thick stew of meat and veggies with a savory broth then topped with whipped potato and then baked. This recipe keeps much of the flavor of Shepherd’s Pie but uses a thin broth and omits the meat and animal products to make it vegan.
Learning to make soup at home from scratch is a must. Soup is a great way to use up all those bits and pieces of veggies that are lurking in your fridge, and the flavor options are essentially limitless. Soup is one of those nostalgia foods that brings back memories of childhood or a certain chilly day in Fall. It’s why people often make a bowl of soup when in need of comfort. It makes you think of family and being taken care of. Because, when you’re a kid and your sick what does your parent probably serve you? Soup. So it makes sense that when feel like we need to be taken care of we turn to soup and those warm feelings of being loved. Also, soup is just great because it’s wicked easy to make, nutritious for you, has a million varieties, and it just tastes good.
Let’s talk process and then get right into the recipe. No long drawn out story about a childhood experience I had while eating Spaghettios and watching the 90s movie “Piranha” and how I couldn’t touch Spaghettios for a few decades after. The first thing to do when making this recipe, or any recipe, is get out all of your ingredients and prep them all. The French have the phrase “Mise en Place” which means Everything in its Place or condensed to Gather. Prepping everything before turning on your stove means high success rate because you’re not scrambling to grab something and accidently burn your onions. If it’s all ready and right there you’ll feel more confident and you’ll calmly go about adding ingredients until you have a delicious meal.
I used firm tofu for this recipe both for protein as well as texture. To make your tofu more solid and less likely to fall apart you should press it first. I use my Tofudee tofu press because it has worked the best out of all the kinds I’ve tried. But you can just use two cutting boards and something heavy to weigh it down. I suggest getting a tofu press if you make it often because it simplifies the process and really does make tofu better.
After pressing and cutting the tofu the directions say to boil the tofu separate from the rest of the ingredients. You could skip that step but it makes a big difference in both texture and flavor of the tofu. Boiling the tofu separately injects the desponged tofu with whatever flavor it’s in. It also makes it even more firm because now it’s being cooked instead of added in “raw.” I cook it separate to give it a distinct flavor that is different than the rest of the soup. I don’t want chunks of soup flavored tofu in soup. That’s boring and we are better than that. A couple of minutes makes a big difference.
My final piece of advice before getting into the recipe is to use White/Mellow Miso paste. It is a total gamechanger in terms of flavoring foods. The best way I can describe white miso is texture and flavor similar to spreadable cheddar cheese. I’ve even made a cheese dip that used only miso and chickpeas and it was fantastic.
So, why add it to soup? Miso is made out of soy beans that have been mixed with Koji (a specific bacteria starter similar to sourdough) and then fermented for several months. The color or kind of miso depends on amount of soybeans and length of fermentation. White miso is lighter in flavor than Red but both add umami depth to dishes. Red is better for a stew, chili, or dish that pairs well with a lot of umami and salty flavor. White miso in soup is like the mission ingredient that you didn’t know was missing. That subtle umami flavor that you can’t describe but your taste buds search for. I use white miso more than any other type and I buy the one pound tub for about $15 and it lasts for several months.
Shepherd’s Pie Soup
- 14 oz firm tofu (pressed and cubed small)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large potato, small cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen is best)
- 1/2 cup green peas (frozen is best)
- 6 cups vegetable stock (low/no sodium preferred )
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste (I use MisoMaster)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (or tapioca starch )
- Press tofu using a tofu press or the tried and true method of two cutting boards and a stack of books. You can skip pressing it, but it does make for a better texture. Once pressed, cut the tofu into small pieces, roughly 1/2"x1/2" cubes. Bring the 6 cups water, salt, nutritional yeast, and sage to a boil. Gently stir in the tofu, let simmer for 10-20 minutes. This step takes place while you're prepping other ingredients. *You can skip this step of pre-cooking the tofu and just add the tofu cubes into the soup. However, I enjoy the results of this step because it gives the tofu a flavor.
- In a separate pot, heat the oil for one minute over medium high then add the onion. Stir and cook for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add in the celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add potato, corn, peas, vegetable stock, pepper, sage, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the carrot and potatoes are softened. Add the cooked and drained tofu.
- While the prior step is cooking complete this step. In a large measuring cup mix together the milk, nutritional yeast, miso, and corn starch. Pour into soup, gently stir in, bring to a light boil, then take off heat.
- Serve with fresh sprigs of herbs like thyme, oregano, chives, or microgreens. Or just eat it.
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