R really gets credit for this. He spends a fair bit of time looking up and preparing new vegetarian dishes. Interestingly enough, I don't really miss or crave meat. Now if only I didn't crave carbs...then we'd be "in business."
I expected that I wouldn't like this recipe. Mix a bunch of ingredients together, put potatoes on top and call it a meal? That's not usually my cup of tea. But, I was wrong. This recipe not only tastes great, it has become a staple in our vegetarian repertoire.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
(Shiksa in the Kitchen)
2 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (I plan to try substituting for sweet potato)
1 whole garlic clove
1 cup (1/2 lb.) dry brown lentils
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup corn
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, divided
2 tsp vegan Worchestershire or tamari sauce
3/4 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute (soy, almond, or rice milk)
3 tbsp butter or vegan butter substitute
Salt and pepper
Nonstick cooking oil spray
Sriracha sauce for topping (optional)
YOU WILL ALSO NEED 2 quart baking dish, potato masher
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the peeled potatoes in a pot along with one whole peeled garlic clove. Cover the potatoes with plenty of water. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce heat to medium to the potatoes continue to simmer. Let the potatoes cooks for 25-30 minutes till fork tender.
Meanwhile, rinse and sort the lentils. Pour the lentils into a pot along with a bay leaf. Cover with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let the lentils cook for 15-20 minutes till just tender.
Remove from heat as soon as they're cooked. If there is any excess water, drain it. As potatoes and lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion to the skillet and saute for 5-6 minutes till softened. Add the diced carrots and celery.
Continue to saute for 5-6 more minutes till the vegetables are tender-crisp. Add crushed garlic, peas, corn, 3 tbsp of the chopped parsley, vegan Worchestershire or tamari sauce, oregano, and cayenne pepper to the skillet.
Stir and saute for 3-4 minutes more till the vegetables are tender and fragrant. Stir the skillet vegetable mixture into the cooked, drained lentils. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the cooked potatoes; reserve the whole garlic clove that cooked with them. Mash the potatoes and softened garlic clove with milk and butter (or vegan milk and butter substitutes) till smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the lentil and vegetable mixture in an even layer across the bottom of the dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the vegetable mixture, using a spoon or fork to add texture to the top of the potatoes for browning.
Top with cheddar cheese (or vegan cheddar shreds), if desired.
Place the dish in the oven and let it bake for about 30 minutes till the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown. Increase heat at the end of cooking for more browning, if desired.