Shepherd's pie is an all round family favourite and a go-to comfort meal! Perfect for cooler nights, this dish is loaded with hearty vegetables and aromatic spices that will make you question why you would ever put meat in the dish in the first place. We highly recommend doubling the recipe so you have at least one other ready-made casserole in the freezer for another day. This is a truly delicious and satiating dish that you will be grateful that you made a second batch!
Why It's Good For You:
Lentils are super cheap and are also one of the most nutritious legumes. They're high in minerals and help to assimilate protein and iron absorption. The most important tip for lentils is to soak them. The longer they are soaked, the easier they are to digest. We suggest 24-48 hours.
(use organic where possible)
- 2⁄3 cup 130g lentils (dry measure), soaked 12 hours
- 160g onions
- 100g celery (or tops and leaves of 4 stalks)
- 20g garlic cloves
- 250g mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 220g zucchini
- 100g carrot
- 150g corn
- 100g peas
- 15g nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1⁄2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp tamari, coconut aminos, or 2 tsp miso
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar or 2 tbsp red wine
MASHED POTATO LAYER
- 650g potatoes &/or sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 1 cup crushed ingredients (macadamias, almonds, sunflower seeds, cornflakes, polenta or corn chips)
- Rinse the lentils which have been soaked for 12 hours prior and add them to the large pan/pot with 3 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil the water and continue to cook for approximately 15 minutes or until tender.
- Prepare the potatoes by scrubbing, spot peeling and roughly chopping for faster cooking in the other pot.
- Roughly dice the onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic into a pile, and the zucchini, carrot, and corn in a separate pile with the peas.
- When the lentils are finished cooking, drain them and set aside.
- Into that same hot pan/pot they came out of, start cooking the onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic with olive oil.
- Once slightly softened, add the remaining veggies and all remaining ingredients for the base except the optional cashew cream.
- Stir well and continue to cook down.
- If serving straight away, preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them, add remaining ingredients for the mashed potato layer and mash until smooth.
- Assemble into designated oven-safe casserole dishes by putting a thick layer of the base mixture down, then the mashed potato, then the optional crunchy topping on top.
- As everything is pre-cooked you only need to bake if you desire a toasted top.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until browned to your liking.
- Make your own Cashew Cream (see recipe).
- This recipe is a great example of how making a large batch at once can save a ton of time compared to doing each meal individually. It can also be the difference between actually doing it (because it's so beneficial to get 3 meals for a family of 4) and not doing it at all (because its all too much work for one single meal). Freeze. Partially thaw, and bake until hot through.
- Nearly anything you desire can also be added to this casserole. You may wish to add a thick layer of spinach or silverbeet between the base and potato; add other root veggies to the mash such as parsnip, swede, pumpkin etc.
- If you eat meat, add a small amount of minced meat to the base but still get the benefit of all the veggies and excellent fibre too - AND make your dollar spent on quality meat go much further over many meals.