Sautéed vegetables are mixed with cooked lentils and a seasoned tomato gravy, then topped with cauliflower/mashed potatoes. A delicious and satisfying casserole that even meat-lovers could enjoy!
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients Makes: 8 servings
5 medium potatoes, cut in 1-1/2 to 2-inch equal sized chunks
2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut in florets
2 Tbsp plain unsweetened yogurt
2 Tbsp milk
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2/3 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth ~or~ purified water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp of unsalted butter ~or~ avocado oil ~or~ olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
15 to 20 cremini mushrooms, sliced & chopped
4 to 5 medium carrots, diced
1 cup stewed tomatoes
1 cup sweet peas
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup ~or~ honey
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1/4 tsp thyme powder or leaves
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 Tbsp white cheddar cheese, grated (topping)
~Prepare mashed potato topping~
Boil the potatoes. Clean the potatoes and cut out the “eyes” and any sore looking spots. Leave the peel on if possible so that the potato won’t absorb as much water. Cut the potatoes into 1-1/2 to 2-inch square chunks, making all the pieces relatively the same size, this way all the pieces will cook evenly.
Transfer the potatoes to a medium-sized sauce pot and fill with just enough purified water to cover the potatoes. Finely chop the garlic cloves and transfer to the pot of potatoes. Cover and then bring the pot of potatoes to a boil over high heat. When the potatoes begin to boil, reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Check the potatoes for tenderness by piercing after 10 minutes with a fork. When potatoes are tender, remove from heat and drain through a large sieve, capturing the potatoes and the garlic. Transfer the potatoes and garlic back into the dry empty pot and put somewhere to cool with the lid off.
Steam the cauliflower. Clean a large head of cauliflower and then cut into large florets. Add 1/2 cup of water to a large sauce pot and line with a steaming basket. Transfer the cauliflower to the basket and bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
Steam the cauliflower for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until really tender. Check the cauliflower for tenderness with a fork. When cauliflower is cooked and tender, remove basket and transfer cauliflower to a large bowl to cool.
Prepare the potatoes. The potatoes should be cool enough that you can now remove the potato skins if you do not desire them in your dish. Mash the potatoes and garlic with a potato masher until smooth. Add two tablespoons of yogurt and two tablespoons of milk to the potatoes and mix well.
Prepare the cauliflower. Using a food processor, finely chop the cauliflower until it resembles a fine meal texture. Otherwise finely chop the cauliflower or mash it in a large pot similar to the potatoes. Stir the finely chopped or mashed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes. Add an additional tablespoon or two of milk if needed until the desired consistency is reached. The potatoes should be light and fluffy.
Sauté onions. Over medium-low heat, sauté the diced onions in butter or olive oil until they have released their moister and began to turn a light golden colour, about 10 minutes. Stir the sautéed onions into the mashed potato mixture, then set aside.
~Prepare vegetable base~
Prepare lentils. Add the lentils, vegetable broth and bay leaf to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. If they run out of liquid before cooking thoroughly, add a little purified water. Remove the bay leaf and drain any excess liquid when finished; then set aside.
Prepare vegetables. Dice the onions and then transfer to a small bowl. Mince the garlic and then transfer to a different small bowl. Clean the mushroom and cut off the ends of the stalk; peel if desired. Slice the mushrooms and roughly chop, then transfer to their own bowl. Peel the carrots and cut off the ends; dice the carrots and also set aside in a bowl.
Sauté vegetables and cook vegetable layer. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter or add oil then the diced onions. Sauté the onions, stirring frequently to prevent burning for about 5 minutes or when they have begun to soften and turn translucent.
Increase the heat to medium and then stir in the minced garlic and the sliced mushrooms. With wooden spoons stir the mushrooms occasionally to prevent burning, cook for about 5 minutes or when the mushrooms have released their moisture.
Add the diced carrots and sauté for a few minutes or until they are tender but still firm; stirring occasionally. Next. add the stewed tomatoes sweet peas, soy sauce, maple syrup, paprika, thyme, sea salt and pepper. Stir together and cook for a couple minutes then give it a taste test and add any final seasonings to suit taste.
Combine lentil and vegetable mixture. Add the cooked lentils into the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Cook off any access water if necessary until a thick vegetable mixture is formed.
Prepare oven and casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large deep casserole dish with coconut oil or butter.
Layer casserole. With a large spoon, transfer the vegetable/lentil mixture to the bottom of the casserole dish and spread out evenly. Next, dollop small mounds of the potato mixture over the top of the casserole and then gently spread out with a large spoon over the top evenly. Using a fork, run lines across the top of the casserole for effects. Sprinkle the top of the casserole lightly with the shredded cheese.
Bake. Bake the casserole in a preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or when the top of the casserole has turned a light golden colour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Storage. Casserole keeps for 5 days in the fridge or can be portioned and frozen for up to 6 months. When cooking from frozen, transfer the casserole to a greased oven-ready dish and cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes, or until cooked through.
Recipe shared by: J. Marshall
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