Finally updated with a picture! It’s not the most gorgeous thing to photograph, but it tastes amazing!
When our vegan friend Milo from California was living in New York for a few months, he came to our house often. We made some righteous rice and beans on numerous occasions, and maybe had a stirfry once or twice, but we were looking for something more innovative one night, so I came up with this. I remembered seeing a jar of red lentils in my cabinet at the time, so I figured I could substitute them for the meat that’s usually found in a traditional shepherd’s pie.
When we made this originally, I did most of the research, and Charlie did most of the cooking, and we all (me, Charlie, my sister, and Milo) did lots of eating. This recipe was delicious, and the portions were hearty. We all had seconds, and Milo and my sister each took a portion to work the next day. It was great for us for four hungry people and leftovers, so if you want a less serious amount, I’d suggest cutting it in half. The yield was about two 9-inch square casserole dishes.
One of these days I’m going to try to convert this recipe for my crockpot, because I think it would be amazing, even if it came out a little… less neat? Heheh. I’ll update when I do.
Here’s what it looks like during the assembly process.
1 cup of red lentils, soaked in cold water for 40 minutes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
1 small can of corn (or 1 cup of frozen corn)
[1Tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley - we didn't have this ingredient, but I'm sure it's tasty]
1 28oz canned of whole tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
Special equipment: baking casseroles or ramekins
6 large yellow potatoes, peeled and quartered
1-2 tablespoons earth balance
1 tsp of sea salt
Cheddar cheese for grating (optional, ours was vegan)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Drain the lentils. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the celery, carrots, and corn. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the salt and chopped tomatoes to the mixture. Stir well and then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the water and the red lentils, then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until liquid reduces. (The recipe called for 25 minutes of simmer, but since we made our mashed potatoes vegan, they were a bit drier so we wanted our lentil mixture to be wetter, and this adjustment came out just fine.)
Add the herbs and stir well. Taste the mixture and add more salt if necessary.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft (about 20 minutes).
Drain the potatoes and then add olive oil and salt. Set aside.
Once the liquid from the lentils has reduced, spoon them into the ramekins and then gently spread the mashed potato on top. Grate on the cheese, if using, and then bake pies in the oven for 20 minutes or until the potato has formed a crust. If not using cheese, cover with aluminum foil for the first 15 minutes of cooking so the potatoes don’t dry out too much.
Remove the pies from the oven and then serve. To reheat the pies, simply put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350F.
Serve with a mixed green salad.