Shepherd’s Pie was one of my favorite meals when I was a kid. It’s something I really missed for many years as a vegetarian, and then at some point, it occurred to me that lentils + mushrooms would be SO good instead of the meat. So here’s my version to enjoy, for veggies + meat-eaters alike! And as I’m typing this, I thought of a twist to try, so watch for the new recipe soon!
SHEPHERD’S PIE (Veggie Version) Makes two medium small dishes for 2 people (one to eat, one to freeze) OR one big for 4 people.
Ingredients: 6 organic russet potatoes (sadly they hold onto pesticides more than a lot of other veggies, so try to get organic) 1 cup dry lentils, cook according to package (do NOT add salt!) 16 oz button mushrooms (I often used pre-sliced for convenience) 8 oz tomato sauce 1 cups peas (I usually use frozen, but fresh is great of course) 1 clove garlic 2 shallots or 1 small onion 4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (get a vegan version if possible) 2 Tbsp ketchup 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp butter (vegan or traditional are fine) 1/4 C Milk (You can use cow’s milk or a vegan variety, but if you use almond, soy, or rice – make sure it’s not vanilla or another flavor! You want unsweetened, unflavored! And I do not recommend coconut milk for this.) Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash/scrub potatoes and slice about 1/2″ thick. Put in a big pot of water, so all slices are under water.
- Put on medium-high heat, until boiling, then turn down to medium so it’s slowly boiling, for about 20 minutes (until soft when poked with a fork).
- Once soft, drain water out, and add butter + milk — mash, mash, mash! Add a little water or more milk if necessary for texture.
Filling (while potatoes are cooking):
- Make lentils according to package. Do NOT add salt!
- Roughly chop mushrooms so they’re about 1/2″ x 1/2″ (doesn’t need to be exact, at all!)
- Sauté mushrooms in a few drops of olive oil. They will start to “sweat,” and then they’ll brown. Don’t add salt here either – it will prevent the good browning from happening. (You may have to do them in two batches depending on how big your pan is – you don’t want them piled too high, or they won’t brown nicely.)
- Once lentils & mushrooms are done, combine in the same pan, if they’ll fit, or a bigger pot.
- Add garlic, shallots or onion, salt, pepper to taste – let flavors open up and mix for 3ish minutes.
- Add peas, tomato sauce and tomato paste, allow the peas to cook.
- Turn heat down to low, and add worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, ketchup; mix well and allow the flavors to solidify for about 8-10 minutes.
Assembly & Cookage:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Put a 1 1/2″ layer of the lentil/mushroom on the bottom of the dish, and then 1″ layer of the potatoes on top and smooth a bit. When I was little, my mom would use the back of a fork to make a plaid pattern on the top of the potatoes, so that’s what I do now.
- Then scatter a few little bits of butter on top before it goes in the over to give it a nice crust on top.
- Cover lightly with foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove for the remaining 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and a bit crispy.
Take a deep breath before you start to eat, so you slow down and really enjoy it!