In this vegetarian Shepherd's Pie recipe (also vegan), I've replaced the lamb with lentils in this healthy vegetarian recipe version of Shepherd's Pie. Satisfy your cravings for comfort food with a healthy vegetarian pie.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 50-60 minutes
Time from start to eating: 1-1:10 hour.
Makes enough for 6 large servings. (the video was a bit long, so Phil cut it into 2 videos below).
This transcription will have some mistakes because it is partially automated.
Hello and welcome to Freshly Served, the healthy vegan cooking show. I’m Heather and tonight we are making Shepherd’s Pie.
Now, obviously traditional shepherd’s pie is with lamb and a lot of people when they make a vegetarian r a vegan shepherd’s pie they’re gonna call it something like friendly pie or something like that.
I stick with shepherd’s pie because you know what I figured that shepherd’s probably didn’t eat lamb every night otherwise they wouldn’t have any sheep left. Right?
So, shepherd’s pie is basically some will say ground lamb with a bit of vegetable, onion and carrots and some seasonings. Topped with mashed potatoes and then baked which is an excellent meal for winter night, keeps you really nice and warm, very filing.
Lentils of course have lot of protein, they also have calcium in them and it really is just a very yummy dinner. So, what we’re gonna start with is I’ve got my lentils cooked at the back here and all I did with them was I took one cup of lentils and I think I put two cups of water in there and then boil them, turn them down to simmer.
They take about half an hour, they’re fairly fast cooking one so 20 minutes to half an hour you should be good. I’ve also got my potatoes cooked here and what you’re looking for with your potatoes is you want to make some small chunks, that size is what I find perfect because if you make them bigger they’re gonna take longer to cook but if you make them smaller then really fall apart.
And although we’re making mashed potatoes, I don’t know, I just like to keep my potatoes solid. So, you cover them with enough water just to cover the potatoes, boil them until they’re soft.
You tell that by sticking a fork in them and then what I do is I drain them off but leave about half a cup of the cooking liquid because when you boil any vegetables some of their nutrients are gonna leach out into the water so if you keep some of that water your gonna keep some of the nutrients.
And a lot of people will, will do this with like say if it’s a non vegan you’re gonna use butter and milk right? I find mashed potatoes just fine with no milk and no butter. If you want to do a vegan version you could use coconut oil if you want some fat. I don’t find it necessary, to be honest and you could also use rice milk or some other type of non dairy milk and it will be just fine.
So I’ve got going here is I’m just mashing them with a masher. If you want a really smooth potato, you could use the beaters or a hand blender, makes a really creamy fluffy potato but for this I kinda want a little bit of chunkiness.
I’ve also left the skins in my potato because a lot of the nutrition in a vegetable is in its skin and potato is no exception so if you leave the skin on them it also adds a bit of color but primarily it adds nutrients.
And I haven’t left quite enough of the cooking liquid for these potatoes in here so I’m just gonna add a bit more water. When you’re draining them if you drain them into a little bowl that would probably be even better and then if you need more liquid you can add it back.
And the reason people add butter and milk to mashed potatoes is to make them creamy but I find that the potato themselves are creamy and I really don’t feel the need to add any additional fat to them.
So once you’ve got them mashed up, what you wanna do is seasoned them and I boil the potatoes with a little bit of salt to the water just to help them cook but what you can add now is just a touch of salt and I think I’ll do it with some ground pepper, just a bit.
If you want to add other flavors here you can maybe put some dill although that’s gonna take away from the flavor of the shepherds’ pie tonight but if you’re making just mashed potatoes you can add all kinds of flavors to them.
Thyme is the flavoring that’s going into the dish portion of the lentils so if you wanted to add a seasoning to the potatoes you can add thyme but a traditional shepherd’s pie doesn’t have any seasoning in the potatoes.
Once you’ve get them mashed up you can set them aside, let them cool off a bit. We’ll move on to the lentils.
So the lentils are fully cooked when they start to soften up and you can see some of them are starting to breakdown from their skin here and that’s perfect so they are fairly quick cooking but with lentils and any type of bean you wanna make sure that when you boil them you do not use any salt because it will stop them from cooking properly.
So these guys I cooked with just water and no salt. Now I like to conserve dishes whenever I can, now if there’s any liquid left at the bottom like any bit of liquid here that’s ok. What we’re gonna do is I’m gonna use this pot that I’ve cooked the lentils in to sauté the vegetables that are gonna go in the base.
And then rather than putting this in a bowl, what I’m gonna do is put it in the pie dish that I’m using for the whole thing. That way I’m reusing the pot and I’ve got them right in the pie dish so I don’t need to waste a bowl mixing stuff up.
I could just mix them up in the pie dish and then spread the potatoes on top. Alright! So moving on we’re going to get our vegetables going so I’m gonna turn this pot here onto medium and once its heated up I’ll add a bit of olive oil and then get the onion sautéing.
And I use a fairly small pot for the lentils so its kinda small for the mass amount of onion that I got here. You probably don’t need these much onion and if you use a larger pot it might – it might be better but anyway we’ll work with it.
So just toss these onion around in the oil. This whole dish is going into the oven so these onions are gonna get the chance to cook other than here but we’re gonna sauté them briefly so that they crisp up a little bit and they heat their flavor.
And at this point I can get my oven going to preheat it so I’m going to put it on 350F. It’s not crucial what temperature you use here anywhere from 300F – 400F is fine.
At 300F its gonna be a slower bake so things have more of a chance to dry out. At 400F it’s gonna be a faster bake so it takes less time but things are gonna get crispy on top because it is hotter. Go figure!
Alright! So leave these onions for a few minutes, let the softened up and then we’ll add the carrots in there. So while they’re cooking you could be dicing up your carrots. Once those onions have softened up, it’s time to add the carrots.
And we do the vegetables separately before we add them to the pot because otherwise they’ll lose all of their flavors into the pot whereas if we sauté them first they maintain their own flavors and then blend together rather than just leaching all their flavors on to each other.
You want the flavor of the carrots and the flavor of the onion. Not the flavor of carronion right?
Ok! So give that a stir, let the carrots have a few minutes on the heat. If you starts to smell some carrot flavor coming off them they’ll be a little bit soft and then we’ll be ready to add seasonings.
Carrots and onions now slightly soften just a little bit warm. Next thing I’m going to add is seasonings and for this traditional seasoning is thyme so I’ve got some beautiful fresh thyme that I’m going to add, if you have dried definitely fine as well.
I just happen to be lucky enough to live somewhere where we have a garden and thyme grows in the winter. So there we go. Just stir that thyme through the carrots. I’ll add a bit of black pepper and we add the seasonings now so that they infuse to the oil and get carried through the dish rather than just being isolated on their own and getting diluted in water or what we’re gonna add next is a little bit of wine.
And red wine is the best to use here, I don’t usually keep red wine on hand so I used some white tonight but if you have red or if you want to get some red definitely a better flavor for the lentils.
Could also add a bit of red wine vinegar although it’s a different flavor, wouldn’t really be the same but if you’re in a pinch you could use a bit of that. Mix it with some water so that it’s not quite as strong.
Ok! So you get the heat off on that now and we’re gonna do next is mix the salt together with the lentils and finish it off get it ready top it with the potatoes for the oven which is now preheated so let’s get going on that.
So better lentils hanging out here in the pie dish and yes it’s called shepherd’s pie so traditionally you do it in a pie dish. It also works quite well in like a brownie dish. Any kind of baking casserole type dish really is fine. Work with what you got. But I definitely won’t go out and buy a pie dish just for this purpose.
Ok, so get all those vegetables in with the lentils, mix them through and what we’re gonna do to make this a little bit thicker is add a bit of flour and water. Now this is not necessary, it just makes it more of like a pie kind of texture, more similar like to the shepherd’s pie and I’m sorry! Mix the flour in here first, get it coated through there.
You can use any type of flour here, whole wheat is probably the easiest but if you are allergic to wheat or have gluten allergies or something like that. You can definitely use whatever type of flour you prefer.
Brown rice is probably my flour of choice for most things very fine texture but it’s a whole grain flour. Ok, and then just pour a bit of water in here to make sure things are moisten that was probably only half a cup of that.
Remember you have some moisture from the wine as well so don’t get things get too wet. You just want them wet enough that it’s not gonna dry out.
Ok, you need to add some salt at this point because the lentils do not have any salt in them. And so the salt is going to finish off the flavors in the lentils otherwise the thyme will not flavor the lentils. And the lentils on their own really don’t have very much flavor. I’m gonna add a bit more ground pepper here as well. I just like that.
Ok, so get that salt mix all the way through into the lentils and then just flatten this out somewhat because we’re going to top it with our beautiful mashed potatoes.
See you don’t need to get too crazy with the potatoes here just you know clump them up in balls and then spread them out so that there aren’t too many bits that are sticking up.
Any texture in the top of the potatoes is going to make by texture I mean shape is going to make it a bit of a different texture in your mouth so if you have little mounts its gonna make little crispy bits on the top which is kinda nice and this is why I don’t make too too creamy mashed potatoes for this dish because I like to have a little bit of texture in the top there.
Ok! So this is ready to go! See how easy to put this together just it pop to the oven and I’ve got it 350F, I’m gonna leave it in there for 20-30 minutes just take a peek at 20 minutes and make sure that it’s not burning on top. The potatoes should turn a little bit golden on top and that’s what your looking for.
Alright! Check out that pie! I left this one in at around 30 minutes. You can see the very peaks of the potatoes are starting to get a little bit brown there that’s what I was waiting for and if we scoop a little bit of this guy here, no need for knives, who needs knives? Well maybe I need to do this.
Get it on the plate and see the lentils underneath, beautifully stewed in their own juices, not great for legumes but lentils I think love it because they look very happy down there.
So enjoy this, great serve with a salad or some steamed green vegetables and basically you just enjoy it because it’s pretty delicious.