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Haute Holiday — How to Make Cornelia Guest’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

The Favorite Wintertime Meal is a Forever Feature at the Socialite's Dallas Dinner Parties

BY // 12.05.22

In PaperCity’December print issue, we take readers inside the Highland Park home of Cornelia Guest, an iconic New York party girl and recent Dallas transplant. Armed with lessons from her late mother, C.Z. Guest, a legendary socialite immortalized through the lens of photographer Slim Aarons, Guest throws a killer dinner party, with one staple you can always count on during the holidays: vegan shepherd’s pie. (Guest became a vegetarian, then a vegan, after learning how animals are abused on factory farms.)

“It’s such a yummy dinner with a salad on a cold winter’s night,” she says. “My friends laugh because every time I invite them over, we have Shepherd’s Pie. Luckily, everyone loves it.”

Ahead, Guest shares the recipe for her favorite vegan shepherd’s pie.

435 DSC00747-2 (Photo by Afritina Coker)
Cornelia Guest in the kitchen (Photo by Afritina Coker)


  • 2 pounds potatoes (I use Yukon Gold)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 pound favorite mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 leeks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup canned or fresh vegetable stock
  • 2 pounds cubed seitan
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas or 1 1/2 cups fresh peas, cooked
444 R3_05853 (Photo by Afritina Coker)
Marko Matijas and Cornelia Guest (co-owners of catering company Cornelia Guest Events) prepping the tablescape. Artist Richard Stone Reeves painted the portrait of C.Z., Cornelia, and her brother Alexander, all on horseback, in front of Templeton, the family home in Long Island. The painting was a Christmas gift from Winston to C.Z.
(Photo by Afritina Coker)

Instructions for Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Serves 4 | Total Time: 2 Hours

– Preheat oven to 325°F.

– Peel potatoes and cover with water.

– Bring to a boil and cook until ready for mashing, approximately 30 minutes.

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– Coarsely dice onion, carrots, and celery separately.

– Remove stems from mushrooms.

– If you are making your own stock, take the onion, carrot, and celery trimmings, and mushroom stems, add a quart of water, bring to a boil, and simmer down to a cup, approximately 45 minutes. Strain before using.

– Lay mushrooms and carrots on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes.

– Lay onion, celery, and leeks on another baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

– Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.

– Drain the potatoes after 30 minutes or when they are fork-tender. Reserve a cup of the water the spuds were cooked in.

– Mash the potatoes and add 1/4 cup olive oil, a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and the reserved water.

– Combine the stock, seitan, and diced tomatoes in a 4-quart saucepot and let simmer for 45 minutes.

– Add the cooked peas and roasted vegetables during the last 5 minutes.

– Transfer to a 10- by 14-inch casserole dish and cover with a 1 1/2-inch layer of mashed potatoes.

– Roast in the top rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

– Put the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes to brown.

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