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Plant-based cooking can be super challenging with recipes that call for a long list of ingredients and have many steps. It doesn’t have to be though. As long as you are willing to take a few simple short cuts and use a few canned/boxed ingredients, your life can still be easy and your food still delicious. This Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is just that: easy AND delicious! This is a recipe for which you won’t even have to chop a single vegetable!
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Shepherd’s pie was always one of my favorite comfort foods growing up. I loved the creamy potatoes and savory vegetables but honestly – even back before my plant-eating days – I would pick the meat out and throw it in the trash when my parents weren’t looking. Shepherd’s pie has been around for centuries. According to Jamie Oliver’s page, it should only be called shepherd’s pie if it contains lamb and cottage pie with any other meat. And meatless pie should be called ”Shepherdless Pie”…whatever. I might have rather called it “Gardener’s Pie” or “Kindness Pie”; but then you might not have been able to find it when you googled! Let’s just call this a really tasty easy shepherd’s pie with filled with good-for-you vegetables and lentils!
Start with a few simple ingredients. I like to buy my lentils already steamed. They can often be found in the produce section of the grocery store. If you aren’t able to find pre-cooked lentils, they are actually pretty easy to make on the stove-top. Follow the package directions for a yield of 2 cups, cooked.
As promised, you won’t have to chop a single vegetable for this recipe! That’s right, just use a 16-ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables and dehydrated minced onions. Line the sauté pan with a little vegetable broth to keep the vegetables from sticking.
Add the dried minced onion and stir around for a minute so that the onion begins to rehydrate. Then add the vegetables on top and sauté for about 5 minutes in the vegetable broth so that the vegetables have mostly thawed. (You will want to watch your pan carefully and add more broth if the vegetables begin to stick.) Add in the cooked lentils and the cup of vegetable broth, arrowroot starch (can sub corn starch) thyme and salt. Stir until well mixed and bubbly. The “gravy” should begin to thicken as well.
Pour into a 7″x11″ baking pan and set aside. This is really the best size pan for the recipe. If you don’t have that though, a 9″x9″ deep pan will probably work.
Some people would shudder at the idea of using potato flakes to make the mashed potatoes. Others would shudder at the thought of actually boiling the potatoes and mashing them. On days when I don’t have a lot of time or patience, I definitely go with the boxed potato flakes. By adding nutritional yeast to the potato flakes, you get an almost cheesy flavor.
Do follow this recipe but look on the back of the package directions for four servings. They should be the same. This should be 1 1/3 cups flakes.
Sub in vegetable broth for the water and unsweetened plant milk for the dairy milk. The directions call for butter. I use my favorite vegan buttery spread. If you are trying to eat oil-free, then leave out the vegan butter; but add in the salt.
When I cook this recipe for Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, I do not add salt to the potatoes. The nutritional yeast and buttery spread make it plenty salty for my family. Do taste though, and add salt if desired.
After you mix your potatoes, carefully spread them on top of the vegetable/lentil mixture. Sprinkle a little paprika on top and cook in a preheated 375° oven for about 20 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and the potatoes are slightly browned on top.
This Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie works great for meal prep. It only makes four though, so double it and cook in a larger baking pan if you will want more.
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Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Vegetable/ Lentil Mixture
- 2 Tablespoons Dehydrated Onion Flakes
- 1 16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 cups cooked lentils brown or green
- 1 cup vegetable broth plus extra for sautéing
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch can sub cornstarch
- 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter leave out if trying to eat oil-free
- 2/3 cup unsweetened plant milk
- 1 1/3 cup potato flakes
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Line a sauté pan with vegetable broth. Add the dehydrated onion flakes and stir around to rehydrate.
- Add frozen vegetables and continue stirring until vegetables are mostly thawed.
- Add cooked lentils, seasonings, starch, and vegetable broth. Stir until heated through and bubbly. The sauce should begin to thicken.
- Turn into a small (7"x11") baking dish. Set aside while preparing potatoes.
- Bring vegetable broth and vegan butter to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Add potato flakes, nutritional yeast, and plant milk. Stir until well mixed. Taste and add salt if desired.
- Gently spoon mashed potatoes onto the vegetable/lentil layer and spread evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle a little paprika on top and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes or until heated through and potatoes have firmed up and slightly browned on top.