Now that we’re edging into some warmer weather, thoughts of cable knit sweaters, warm cups of tea and cozy dishes like Shepherd’s Pie are soon to become a distant memory. But before you pack up your fluffy slippers for the year (I can’t be the only one who owns a pair of these amazingly comfy and oh-so-unattractive footwear), pull out your best baking dish and your vegetable peeler for what may be your last casserole dish of the season.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is often made with a veggie meat substitute, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I wanted to create one using lentils instead. I originally thought that it would be nice to have a sweet potato topping instead of the traditional potato-only topping, but missed the flavour of the regular mashed potatoes. Not one to typically compromise, I settled on a version that layers both types of potatoes for the ultimate flavour, nutrition impact and eye-appeal. I made it both ways, with just the russet potato topping and with the sweet potato layered in, both versions were delicious…it’s up to you (at the risk of sounding shallow, I like the look of the one without the sweet potato better, but prefer the taste of it with the sweet potato)! Simply skip the step for the sweet potatoes below if you choose to leave them out, and reduce the vegan ‘butter’ and Almond Breeze by half.
I used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original beverage with a bit of vegan ‘butter’ to make the potatoes creamy and smooth, and they turned out SO yummy! I used both the Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original in the shelf-stable and the refrigerated packaging and they turned out the same, which makes sense as they are the same product just processed a bit differently.
This is a hearty dish that can be assembled the night before. A couple of notes: if you don’t want to use wine, just use extra stock, and if you don’t like garlicky potatoes (what’s your problem…kidding), skip the crushed garlic in the russet mash. Also, if you need to avoid gluten for medical reasons, make sure all of your ingredients are certified gluten-free (like ketchup).
While this isn’t the fastest dish to prepare, it’s well worth it. Packed with hearty healthy veggies in every bite, your body will thank you for this one!
Potato Topping Ingredients:
- 2 lb peeled russet potatoes cut into 1” chunks (around 5 large potatoes)
- 2 lb peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks (around 2 medium potatoes)
- ½ c.. vegan “butter”, divided (I used Earth Balance)
- ½ c. Almond Breeze Beverage, Unsweetened Original
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 c. diced sweet white onion (1large onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 c. (2-3 stalks) celery, diced
- 10 oz. sliced white mushrooms
- 2 portabella mushrooms, gills removed and diced
- 1 c. diced carrots
- 3/4 c. red wine*
- 1 L. vegetable stock
- 1 c. green lentils, rinsed
- 7 sprigs thyme tied together with twine (plus extra for garnish if desired)
- ¼ c. tomato ketchup
- 2 tsp. tamari**
- 1 c. frozen peas
- 1 c. frozen corn
- salt and pepper to taste
*not all wine is vegan: here is a reference list
** you can substitute gluten-free soy sauce or gluten-free worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Bring two large pots of salted water to a boil (start preparing the filling in step 4 while you wait). Add the sweet potatoes to one, and the russet potatoes to the other. Cook over medium high heat (low rolling boil) until they are both fully cooked: you will be able to easily pierce them with a fork. Drain each pot and place the potatoes back in their respective pots (keep separate).
- Place the vegan “butter” and the Almond Breeze in a small saucepan over low heat until the “butter” is melted (alternately you can microwave it in a glass dish until melted). Using a potato masher, mash each the russet potatoes and the sweet potatoes in their pots. Slowly add ½ of the warm Almond Breeze/”butter” mixture to each of the pots, add the crushed garlic clove to the russet potatoes, and mash each pot until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan with high sides or a large dutch oven on medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring until transparent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is transparent and fragrant, an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the celery, both mushrooms, and the carrots and cook until the vegetables are softened, approximately 8 minutes.
- Add the red wine, stir well, and cook until the mixture has reduced by ¾ of the original volume (you will have very little liquid left). Add the lentils, vegetable stock and the thyme, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cook (uncovered), stirring occassionally, until the lentils are soft, around 30 minutes.
- Stir in the ketchup, tamari, peas and corn, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place the lentil mixture in a 13×9” oven-proof baking dish and even it with the back of a large metal spoon to make a flat layer. Layer the sweet potatoes on top of the lentils followed by the potato layer, carefully spreading each to the edges with the back of a large spoon before adding the next layer on.
- Bake until the lentil mixture starts to bubble at the top, approximately 20 minutes,. Turn the oven to broil to lightly brown the top if it isn’t already browned (watch it so it doesn’t burn), remove it from the oven and serve!
Thank you Almond Breeze for sponsoring this post! Recipe inspiration from the talented Minimalist Baker, check out her site for more vegan recipes, she’s AMAZING!