Easy Haunted Shepherd’s Pie (and Very Quick Spelt Foccacia)

by Maria Theresa Maggi on October 30, 2015

Easy  Haunted Shepherd's Pie


Maybe my little ghost made of leftover spaghetti squash looks more like a version of Big Bird than Casper, but this idea was just so darn cute I had to use up my leftovers to create a little Halloween comfort food. I had absolutely nothing to do with dreaming it up; I found it on this post at McDougall Friends–hopefully you can see the adorable photo to get the full picture. Thank you to the lovely McDougall Friend who inspired me to get spooky with my dinner.

I had no potatoes on hand, but just enough cooked sphagetti squash to top an individual helping of a shepherd’s pie mixture I made from what was in my refrigerator. I hesitate to call it a recipe, but I will list what went into it and how I put it together so you can get creative and make your own haunted version of this easy classic.

I also threw together a quick focaccia based on an easy pizza crust video from All Recipes. I actually didn’t use any of the ingredients they listed except the active dry yeast but I had a hunch the spelt flour would take kindly to the no-rise strategy, and I was right. I’ve also made this as an actual pizza. If you need a gluten free option, Bob Red  Mill’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix should work, perhaps with an extra flax egg, and allowing the longer rising time they recommend. My daughter-in-law has made it many times, substituting flax egg for the eggs, and just leaving out the olive oil or subbing it with water.  So don’t feel left out of the focaccia party, my gluten-free readers!

Okay, I’m not going to lie. This is not the focaccia my relatives from Bari taught us to make when they came to visit our family decades ago. Nor does it have the complexity of flavor of the sourdough pizza crust I made back when I had homemade starter to spare. But it takes less than an hour to make and it’s tasty in its own right. And I’m damn proud of the fact that I made it work several times with just what I happened to have, without bread flour, with spelt instead of wheat, with molasses instead of sugar, and with a tablespoon of flax egg instead of olive oil. I love rosemary with bread and I have a big rosemary bush right outside my new place, so I decided to add it to the dough, along with six olives chopped up, which, if you count fats as Dr. Swank would have, makes just 5 grams of unsaturated fat distributed among 6-8 pieces. I was worried it might not be enough, but it was plenty.

One thing I love about vegan cooking is the challenge to make a traditionally focal ingredient (like meat in Shepherd’s Pie) disappear. We move right through such seeming obstacles as if we were ghosts capable of floating through solid walls. So I hope you enjoy my shepherd’s pie full of vegetables and topped with squash instead of potatoes. It’s silly Halloween fun haunted by real nutrition and comforting savory flavors. Boo! 🙂

Have a happy and safe Halloween night.

Maria (moonwatcher)

Leave a Comment

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patience October 31, 2015 at 10:47 am

Ha ha, this is adorable, Maria, and a lovely alternative to the potato topping….! It’s always fun to get in the ‘spirit’ of things (pun intended, lol! 😉 ), and it looks like you’ve done just that…! Thanks for sharing this — here’s wishing you a fun and spooktacular Halloween! ~Patience


2 Maria Theresa Maggi October 31, 2015 at 10:56 am

Thank YOU Patience, for the comment and for in”spir”ing me to do it in the first place! Wishing you a fun and spooktacular Halloween right back! 🙂


3 Gena November 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

I love shepherd’s pie, both traditional and not-so-traditional versions! So, I love this recipe, and your adorable decorating skills make it all the more festive. The post is a good reminder that *fun* is an important part of the cooking process — and I also love the single serving option, which means that this could be a quick and easy solo dinner for me. Many thanks!



4 Maria Theresa Maggi November 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Oh yes, Gena, definitely–play and fun are essential components of cooking for me! And sometimes right down to the level of silliness you see here (which I take very seriously 🙂 ). I’m so glad this appeals to you–it does make a very easy and tasty meal for one with pretty much anything you have on hand. xo


5 Lee at Veggie Quest November 2, 2015 at 6:18 am

Cutest shepherd’s pie ever–love the ghostie! That said, I’m especially excited to try out the oil-free, gluten-free version of foccacia–the olives + rosemary combination sounds divine. The perfect partner for vegetable soup, yum!


6 Maria Theresa Maggi November 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

Thanks Lee! I’m glad you are excited about the oil free gluten free option for the flat bread. I just had another killer gluten free pizza crust made that way by my daughter-in-law this Halloween–it’s so nice to have that option!!


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