Cooler weather graced us with its presence this past weekend and it’s making me all kinds of happy. It’s been crazy hot here in China the past few weeks and it always seems to be the hottest right when I need to walk to class. By the time I get to my teacher’s house I’m a sweaty mess. Pregnancy hasn’t been helping with my overheating issues either!
So yes, cooler, rainy weather was a very welcomed surprise this weekend. It’s making me so excited to be back in America during the fall and winter months so I can eat all kinds of warm foods and embrace the festive foods that come along with the holidays. Stews, oatmeal, casseroles, pumpkin spice everything, hot chocolate…yes, yes, yes! These foods will also be 100x better when I can look out the window and see colorful leaves or snow falling. Can’t wait!
This past weekend I was able to have some friends over for dinner and much to my surprise, my Chinese friend requested Shepherd’s Pie. She has lived with foreigners in the past and learned about this cozy, comforting dish from her foreign roommate and had a random craving for it. I told her I’d gladly make her some, if she was okay with it being meatless. She was game and this Vegan Shepherd’s Pie was born!
Guys. This Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is delicious. We all loved it! It’s savory, hearty and comforting and filled with lots of good for you ingredients. The base is mix of sautéed vegetables, lentils and spices which are then topped off with creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes. Even my Chinese friends were very impressed and went back for seconds.
This Vegan Shepherd’s Pie will definitely be a staple in our house during the fall and winter months. I hope you all give it a try! Please let me know if you do. Leave a comment with your thoughts down below or take a picture and tag #theconscientiouseater on Instagram so I can see your creation!
- MASHED POTATO TOPPING:
- 5-6 white potatoes (~3 lbs.), peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- LENTIL FILLING:
- 1 cup green lentils, picked through and rinsed
- 2½ cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce*
- 1 tablespoon dried italian herbs
- salt and pepper
- chili flakes
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and set aside an 8x8 baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the peeled and chopped potatoes and 2 cloves of garlic and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the potatoes to cook until fork tender. Once cooked through, drain and rinse the potatoes and garlic and place them back in the same pot.
- While the potatoes are cooking, start cooking the lentils. Place the 1 cup of lentils, 2½ cups of water and a bay leaf in a sauce pan and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the lentils to cook until softened, but not overcooked, about 15 minutes.
- Drain and rinse the lentils, remove the bay leaf, and set aside.
- In a large skillet or sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add in the chopped onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the carrots, celery and minced garlic and saute another 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
- Add in the frozen corn, tomato paste, tamari, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Don't be shy with the salt! Allow everything to saute for a few minutes.
- Add in the cooked and drained lentils and stir until everything is well combined.
- While the vegetables are cooking you can continue preparing the mashed potatoes. To the boiled potatoes and garlic, add in the milk, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Using a potato masher, mash everything together until the potatoes are smooth and everything is well combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper or nutritional yeast if desired.
- Pour the lentil mixture into an 8x8 baking dish and use the back of a spoon to make the filling flat.
- Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top of the lentils and evenly spread them out, making a fun, textured design with the back of your spoon if desired. You may not use all of the mashed potatoes.
- Place the Shepherd's Pie into the preheated oven and allow it to bake about 30 minutes or until the mashed potatoes start to turn golden brown.
- Removed from the oven and serve warm with freshly ground black pepper and parsley if desired.