Monday, December 4, 2017

Quick and Simple Vegan Shepherd's Pie

It's finally December!! Christmas is in the air, and that means weekly holiday recipes!! :)

I post these weekly on my Instagram! @LaurenMcHugh_14
Every week of December, I am putting together vegan holiday dishes that are healthy, quick, and delicious!!

These are all going to have ingredients that are easy to find as well! It's simple being vegan at any time of the year....but I'd say sharing holiday plant-based recipes are my fave!! Let's get started with this hearty vegan shepherd's pie! This takes about an hour, and I used sweet potatoes instead of gold to make it healthier and not as heavy :)

What You Need:

- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups of uncooked lentils. I love the Autumn blend!
- 4 cups veggie broth (you might have to add a bit more, as well as water)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 10 oz bag frozen veggies: I did a mix of corn, peas, carrots, green beans, & lima beans
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes (I based this recipe off this one, but it needed double the potatoes. I used 4 medium sweet potatoes, but I easily needed 6).
- 3-4 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance sticks)
- salt and pepper to taste (I used Himalayan pink salt)
- *I also recommend adding some cayenne pepper, and topping with hot sauce!*

Step 1:

Wash, peel, and cut into thirds all your sweet potatoes. Place them in a large pot and fill it with water until the potatoes are covered. Bring to a low boil on medium heat, then add however much salt you prefer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. At that point, you should easily be able to stick a knife in them.

Step 2:

Since the potatoes take a little bit, in the meantime, get out a large sauce pan (make sure it is deep so your filling doesn't boil over...which happened to me). Over medium heat, saute your chopped onion with garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil. Do this for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then add some salt, pepper, your uncooked lentils, veggie stock, thyme, and stir it all up.

Tip: light a great smelling candle while you chop onions to avoid the tears!

Step 3:

Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes (make sure the lentils are cooked). 

I'd also recommend adding some cayenne at this point to bring up the spice level!! It was a bit bland and could have used a kick!
You can also add more veggies, but this would require more water or broth, cooking time, and a larger pot.

Step 4:

While this mixture is simmering, after the potatoes are cooked, drain them then put them in a separate bowl. Mash them until they're smooth and mix in your vegan butter. I used 3 tbsp and it was perfectly creamy! (no need to heat it up beforehand, as your potatoes are already super hot). Set them aside.

Step 5:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F while everything is cooking, and lightly spray a 9x13 pyrex pan. I like to use Trader Joe's olive oil spray for cooking. In the last 15 minutes of cooking the lentil mixture, add the bag of frozen veggies. Stir, and cover. I had to make mine a bit thicker with cornstarch, but again, you can do this by adding more veggies and/or even some of the potatoes!

Step 6:

Transfer the mixture to the pan, and top with the sweet potatoes. This didn't work out well in my favor, but I did need a lot more potatoes! I also covered it in foil and placed it on a baking sheet so it wouldn't spill over onto my oven. If you can, get a bigger pan or divide it in two. I don't think it baked properly due to the foil. Bake for about 15-30 minutes. You want your potatoes a bit brown, so definitely remove the foil and get them a little crispy!

Serve toasty and with a side of Roasted Purple Cauliflower!! 
I'd love to know if you decide to try this, and if you added any other veggies/spices, since I know I will be next time! This is a wonderful casserole to take to holiday parties or prep for your week!! Packed with protein, veggies, and minimal potatoes if you get half the amount needed like me ;)

Ps...for the Roasted Cauliflower:

Preheat your over to about 400 degrees F.
Chop up one head of cauliflower (purple was available and it has a better flavor). 
Put the florets in a pyrex dish.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joes.
Bake about 20 minutes, then stir. Bake another 20ish minutes, making sure to check on it.
Serve as a delicious, colorful side! :)


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