With creamy, buttery potatoes, crispy pastry and delicious, stringy vegan cheese, this vegan take on an English classic is the perfect meal for a cold winter evening.
When I was a child, every year my Nan would make a cheese and potato pie at Christmas time, and I have many vivid memories of enjoying them together. Many years later when I moved away to Uni, this was one of the meals that I would make to remind myself of home, and whilst the recipe has evolved over time, the sentimental value it holds for me has remained the same.
Whilst my Nan’s original recipe was far from vegan, thankfully I have managed to recreate my own version, which whilst faithful in flavour to the original, replaces the dairy with vegan alternatives.
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
1.2kg mashing potatoes
1 large white onion
1 medium-large leek
4 garlic cloves
100g vegan butter
1 cup of grated vegan cheese
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 sheets of shortcrust (or puff) pastry (most pre-made pastry is vegan by default, but always check the ingredients first)
(Optional) A small amount of plant-based milk for ‘egg-wash’
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Start by peeling the potatoes and chopping them into chunks no more than a few inches in size. Fill a large saucepan with water and place on the hob on a high heat to boil. Place the potatoes in the saucepan and leave to boil for 20-30 minutes until soft.
Whilst the potatoes are boiling, line your pie dish with pastry and place in the oven. Blind-bake for about 15 minutes.
Next, heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Chop the onion, garlic and leek and fry together for 15 minutes, stirring throughout. Once ready, set to one side.
When the potatoes are soft enough, drain the water, leaving the potatoes in the saucepan. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the pot. Using a potato masher (or a fork), mash the potatoes with the butter until smooth.
Next, add the onion and leek mixture to the potatoes, along with the vegan cheese, thyme and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Remove the pastry-lined pie dish from the oven and spoon the cheesy potato mixture into the dish. Place the second sheet of pastry over the top, trimming and crimping the edges. (Optional) Brush the top with a little plant-based milk to help it to brown.
Place the pie back into the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pie from the oven and serve hot or cold.