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After a long holiday season, we were in the mood for some truly healthy and unprocessed food.  It was cold, and we still wanted something comforting.  I found this recipe awhile ago at One Green Planet, and I decided to give it a go!

I made some tweaks to the recipe, and I have listed them below.  Note that it took quite awhile for the dish to cool.  We were hardly able to get actual slices until the pie had been sitting out of the oven for at least 30 minutes.

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

8 or more servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 large or 10 medium potatoes (Yukon gold works well)
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or other vegan buttery spread
  • 1/2 cup rice milk – I used homemade Cashew Milk.
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – I used sunflower oil because of the high cooking temperature of this dish.  Olive Oil should not be heated above 350 degrees as it can release carcinogens and free radicals at its smoke point.  For more on oil cooking temperatures read here.
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – I used 2 large, organic onions.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • Two 15-ounce cans lentils, lightly drained – I found BPA free canned lentils at the East End Co-op.  Typically, I cook my own lentils, but this was easier.
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine, optional – I used 2 TBSP of beer since we didn’t have any wine.  It was delicious!  Any beer could work here unless it’s flavored.
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash) – I used the Spike Hot & Spicy seasoning, yum!
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot – I opted for organic cornstarch because that’s what I had on hand.
  • 8 to 10 ounces baby spinach or arugula leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs – I used organic Panko crumbs with Italian seasoning.  Yes, Panko makes organic breadcrumbs!

PREPARATION:

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
  4. Stir the Earth Balance into the potatoes until melted, then add your choice of milk and mash until fluffy. Season with salt, cover, and set aside until needed.  I used an immersion blender for the potatoes, it works perfectly, and it’s easier to clean than a mixer!  
  5. Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the optional wine, soy sauce, seasoning blend, thyme, and pepper. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
  6. Add the spinach, a little at a time, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
  7. Lightly oil a 2-quart (preferably round) casserole dish, or two deep-dish pie plates. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. If using two pie plates, divide each mixture evenly between them.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.  As I mentioned before, it took at least 30 minutes for the pie to solidify enough to cut into slices.  We dug in anyway! 

 Photo by Susan Voisin of FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

Recipe originally published on VegKitchen.

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