Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Let's Get Comfy!....Lentil-Mushroom Shepherds Pie

Get cozy and comfy and enjoy some good ole' home-style comfort food.  Everyone loves the classic shepherd's pie, well aside from those who have never had the classic dish.  Or maybe I have had it very early on in my childhood and just can't remember.  Anyway, my husband has always loved it. Now that he has become vegan and we can share food, I understand why this one of America's top comfort dishes.

Instead of the meat, I substituted in lentils and mushrooms.  The secret is to make the lentil/mushroom mixture as savory as you can get it.  I achieved this by using vegetable broth, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and just have all of those flavors marinate with the mixture.  For this part of the recipe, you really just have to trust your taste buds.  Add in more or less to fit the flavors you really want to achieve.  I personally like bold flavors and the savory aspect that this dish delivers.

What I really enjoy about my interpretation on this, is using cauliflower mash instead of the typical mashed potatoes.  This makes it lighter and sexier.

Tip:  I use individual aluminum pie molds so everyone can have there own little dish.  You can always opt to use a baking dish and pile on the layers, but this does get a bit sloppy.  Also, the individual throw away molds are perfect for those that take their lunch or dinner to work with them!

Ingredients:    Yields 4 servings
2 cups mushrooms of your choice (chopped)
2 cups cooked lentils (boil the simmer 1 cup lentil and 2 cups water for 20 min)
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 c chopped carrots
1/4-1/2 c chopped yellow onion
1 c peas (frozen and thawed)
1 head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
s + p
vegan butter (optional)

Preheat oven 350.  In a saute pan, saute mushrooms with a touch of EVOO over medium heat until soft, add in cooked lentils, veggie broth, soy sauce and balsamic.  Let heat up and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add in more broth, soy or balsamic to your liking (I like the consistency to be a bit "juicy").  In the meantime, start steaming your cauliflower and garlic in a large pot. At the same time, saute your chopped carrots and onions in evoo for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Once you can cut threw the cauliflower easily, transfer that and the garlic to a blender, add coconut milk and vegan butter and blend.  Do not entirely puree though, I think it tastes better with a few chunks.  Add s+p to taste.
All of your elements should be complete.  Grab your individual molds, and start spooning in the lentil/mushroom mixture,  then the carrots/onions, peas and top with cauliflower mash.
Throw in oven for about 30 minutes.


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