Lentil shepherd’s pie is a big hit in our house. Not only do my husband and I love it, so do the kids. And nothing makes mom happier (or dad – who’s generally pretty happy when mom is), right?
And there really isn’t anything better than being able to assemble a meal ahead of time and popping it into the oven when we need it. I LOVE that, don’t you?
So the typical version of shepherd’s pie from my youth was loaded with fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat especially – from the milk and butter in the potatoes and all the ground beef. But this dish of yumminess is the wave of the future, baby. A future where people realize that we don’t need gobs of fat to have loads of flavor, that feeling comforted and satisfied from our food doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our health.
Of course this recipe is super adaptable (most are, ya know). I kept this version pretty kid friendly. So, while I would love to have it teeming with mushrooms and chunky veggies, my kids would turn their noses up at that. But if you aren’t feeding kids, or if yours are more veg-adventurous than mine, go wild with the veggies and kick this already super nutritious lentil shepherd’s pie into overdrive.
Here’s some more ideas for you. Sweet potato can also be used instead of white. A lot of times I use some of each. The sweetness adds a nice contrast to all the savory. You can also make the mashed potatoes with some cauliflower in them. Just cook the cauliflower in the same pot until it’s soft and mash it all together. PERFECT way to sneak it into kids’ diets. They won’t even know it’s there. See, the possibilities are endless with this pie!
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- unsweetened soy or almond milk or soy creamer (enough to achieve mashed potato consistency)
- 2 cloves garlic (to cook with potatoes)
- 2.5 cups cooked french lentils
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 small stalks celery, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced small
- 1 T tamari or vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 t dried thyme
- ½ t salt
- ¼ t pepper
- 1-2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- Place chopped potatoes and garlic in cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until potatoes are soft.
- While potatoes are cooking, heat a nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
- Add the onions, celery, garlic and carrots (I use a food processor to chop these all together - it's quicker!)
- Cook the veggies until they are soft, about 5-10 minutes. If they start to stick, add a couple tablespoons water, broth or white wine.
- Add the lentils, tamari or Worcestershire, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes. If you like it less dry, you could add some vegetable broth here.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- When the potatoes are cooked, mash them (including the garlic cloves) with enough soy milk to make them the consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Add the lentil mixture. Then add the corn. Top with the potatoes and spread them out, leaving some ridges or use a fork to make some ridges that can get brown and crispy.
- Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Broil the top for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
A green vegetable like asparagus, broccoli or steamed kale go great with this meal. And of course a salad too. If you’re like me, pickles go with everything, and this is just the kind of meal I have to have pickles with – bread and butter pickles to be exact. The sweet and vinegar-y pop of flavor is just perfect with this savory lentil shepherd’s pie.
I hope you and your family enjoy this healthy meal as much as we do. Leave a comment and let me know how you like to change it up for your tastes.
To you health,
P.S. No, I didn’t forget butter in the mashed potatoes. While it is tasty, it’s pretty unnecessary. The soy milk is creamy and as long as you add enough salt and pepper, you should find that mashed potatoes don’t need to be filled with fat to make them taste good. Potatoes (yes, even white ones) are super good for you if you leave off all the health-offenders like butter, sour cream, bacon bits, etc. 🙂 If you must, you can take a bit of Earth Balance (non hydrogenated margarine) and run it over the top of the hot potatoes after you spread them out and before you broil them. This will let your tongue taste that little bit of richness without adding a bunch of fat.