Make Ahead

Shepherdless Pie

January  5, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Darlene Calderone PN1 CPT
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • serves 8
Author Notes

This plant based take on Shepherd's Pie ( cottage pie ) is warm, comforting and sure to please those who grew up eating 'the real thing'.

Lentils are an excellent meat alternative with approximately 17.9g of protein per cup. Full of phytochemicals (plant compounds) to help the body protect itself against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Lentils are an excellent source of fibre, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
Darlene Calderone Pn1 BCS CPT VGFI

  • Lentil Filling
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil (or other neutral oil of choice)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 medium carrot or 1/2 cup baby carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups green or brown dried lentils, rinsed and drained (not red)
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 sprig each, thyme and rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence (optional)
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Mashed Potato Topping
  • 5 medium potatoes, whole, skin on and scrubbed clean (we prefer yukon gold)
  • 3 + 1 tablespoons plant based butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plant based milk of choice (we chose cashew)
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch smoked paprika (optional, to taste)
In This Recipe
  1. Begin to prepare the filling: While your potatoes are cooking: In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Add a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally. Saute until onions are slightly translucent and begin to brown - about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Caramelize the tomato paste: Add tomato paste, vegan worchestershire and balsamic vinegar and stir to incorporate. Cook off for about 5 minutes, add a splash of the vegetable stock if it starts to stick, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook the lentils: Preheat oven to 425F. Add lentils, thyme, rosemary, herbes de provence and a pinch of salt & pepper to your vegetable mix and combine. Pour vegetable stock over the lentils and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until lentils are tender - 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. (sometimes this is where I might add an extra dash of Worcestershire, pepper etc)
  4. Mash the Potatoes: Wait until your filling is prepared and in your casserole dish. If mashing manually, Add 2-3 tbsp vegan butter and plant based milk to the potato pot, allow to melt, and mash until creamy. Season with salt and pepper and stir into your mash. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  5. Assemble your dish: Rub 1 tablespoon of vegan butter inside a ceramic or glass casserole dish. 9x9 or 9x13 both work well. Transfer lentil mixture to your casserole dish, then top with an even layer of corn. Top with mashed potatoes and use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to smooth them down.
  6. Get Fancy: We love crispy bits. Some people like to use a fork and drag it gently over the surface of the potatoes for the butter to melt into. I prefer to use the back of a spoon and gently press inward to create divots on the surface - repeating across the entire surface of the mash. Either way, I use the microwave and melt the small amount of butter left in a ramekin and stir in the smoked paprika. Use a silicone brush to coat the potatoes with it. Sometimes I add more butter. Sprinkle the top of your Shepherdless Pie with a bit of kosher salt, pepper.
  7. Bake: Place your dish on the centre rack of your preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Then broil for up to 5 minutes to lightly brown the top. Let Cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
  8. Boil the potatoes: Place potatoes in a large pot. Add cold water until potatoes are covered by an inch or so. Season the water with 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove lid and simmer until cooked though. Test with a fork tenderness at 30 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes it may take up to 50 minutes)
  9. Drain the potatoes: Carefully drain the potatoes through a colander and return them to the pot on the stove to keep warm, and to allow the extra water to evaporate. Keep covered. If preferred, Remove skins once cool enough to touch.
  10. Tips & Notes: Add 1/2 cup frozen veggies of choice 10 minutes before the end of the lentil cook time. Cauliflower, more carrots, peas all work well. If you're into cauliflower mash - this works well. (or do half / half) Reheat servings in individual ceramic bowls. Add a tbsp of water, cover with a plate and reheat for 2 minutes (depending on your microwave). This prevents the potatoes from drying out. Want 'cheesy' mash? Add 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast to your potatoes before you mash them. A few chopped chives works well here too. Worcestershire sauce usually contains fish. Source some vegan sauce or make your own. Alternatively, you could leave it out and sub for a recipe found here on Food52.

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