The first full meal post on this blog was my version of that classic, Shepherd’s Pie. The reason I kicked things off by veganizing a classic was that I wanted to push the limits and see if I can do it and be happy with the results. At that point I was one month into plant-based diet, and felt that I need to step it up in terms of how I create my meals. That’s a quick story behind the first Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.
Once that recipe was published I did get some backlash from people who firmly believed that a Shepherd’s Pie without meat is an abomination. I obviously don’t agree and have now created another version of Shepherd’s Pie that is so close to the original that very few people will know the difference. I served this for Easter Sunday dinner few weeks ago, and it was a hit!
The three main tricks I used are to fully cook the lentils on their own in water, to use full sprigs of rosemary without chopping, and to grind the mushrooms in the food processor before using. All these three things put together make this Shepherd’s Pie taste very, very similar to the ground lamb containing version. Except that this recipe leaves the lambs alone – which can’t be bad, right?
And if you are not concerned about the well-being of lambs much, perhaps you’ll find the health benefits of this recipe or its budget-friendliness more appealing. Regardless of your reasons, I hope you find at least one to compel you to try this meatless Shepherd’s Pie. Enjoy!!!
Meatless Shepherd’s Pie
What you’ll need (for 8 HUNGRY people):
14 oz (400 g) dark (brown) lentils
4 large carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
20 oz (570 g) mushrooms
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
4 cups green peas, frozen
6 potatoes, medium size
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
What you’ll do:
- Cook lentils according to bag instructions. In brief, for this amount of lentils you’ll need 4-6 cups of water that you need to bring to boil. Once the water is boiling add rinsed lentils in and simmer until lentils are done, which will take 20 to 25 minutes. Set cooked lentils aside.
- Peel and cube the potatoes. Put them in a large pot, and add the garlic cloves too. You don’t need to chop the garlic as it will soften during boiling and you will be able to mash it with potatoes. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to boil. Decrease the heat and boil until potatoes are cooked through. Take the pot of the heat, and let it cool off before mashing.
- Clean the mushrooms with a paper towel to remove any visible bits of dirt. Use a food processor to chop the mushrooms until they are about the same size as little bits of ground meat.
- Spray the bottom of a large frying pan with cooking spray and turn the heat on to medium high. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add whole sprigs of rosemary and chopped thyme and stir everything together. Sauté for another 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add chopped mushrooms, stir well and sauté until mushrooms are softened, which should not take longer than 5 minutes.
- Add frozen green peas, and mix everything together. You can lower the heat or turn it completely off as all you need to do now is mix the pie filling until the peas thaw.
- Take rosemary sprigs out and discard. Some of the leaves will fall off and that’s OK. Remove as many as you can but leaving some in will help the flavor develop further.
- Add cooked lentils and mix everything together. Set aside.
- Preaheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
- While the oven is preheating, mash the potatoes. To the pot of boiled potatoes that have been drained and cooked, add almond milk, olive oil and mash using a potato masher until the mashed potatoes are soft and smooth. You can always add more almond milk to get the consistency just right.
- Spay the bottom and the sides of a large baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the Shepherd’s Pie filling in and smooth out.
- Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top. Smooth out the mash and then using a fork create nooks and ridges. Spray the top with a bit more cooking spray and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potato topping is nice and browned.
- Serve with your favorite salad or even some vegan gravy. Trust me, this Shepherd’s Pie will leave you speechless!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017