Remember a few weeks back when I mentioned how completely and utterly done with winter I was?
Well winter is finally (maybe, fingers crossed…) showing signs of coming to an end. It’s staying light a little bit later and even though I hate the thought of losing a whole hour to DST this weekend, I’ll surely appreciate the longer brighter evenings.
There might not be much snow left on the ground and it might not be freezing cold any more but still, it’s certainly not spring yet. Therefore I’m still 100% on board with winter comfort foods. Like casseroles!
I haven’t made many casseroles in my lifetime but I have definitely eaten my share of them. My mom makes some seriously awesome casseroles, you know, with the amazingly delicious crispy crunchy toasted toppings? Ugh, that stuff is the best. Home-cooked meals made by moms are the best too. ♥
Until now I’ve kind of avoided cooking casseroles. For some reason I’ve been under the impression that casseroles were a lot of work or something. Well, it turns out they aren’t! Considering how many servings they make (and that they can usually be frozen!), casseroles are pretty darn convenient! (This is all old news to most home cooks, but if you’ve been avoiding casseroles like me, stop now!)
So far in my casserole endeavour I’ve made a couple of vegan lasagnas with tofu spinach “ricotta”, the best vegan mac n’ cheese I’ve ever eaten (based off of this recipe – complete with a crispy herb-y topping. Mmm…), and this healthy, veggie and lentil packed shepherd’s pie!
While I love comfort food, I’m not looking for something too heavy or filling. This shepherd’s pie strikes the perfect balance of healthy and comforting.
I kept the mashed potato topping nice and simple using The Little Potato Company’s Creamer potatoes. They’re completely fuss-free! They come pre-washed and their delicate thin skins mean no peeling required! (Thank goodness for that because Creamer potatoes would be a real bugger to peel.) The Little Potatoes just need a quick boil and mash with a touch of vegan butter, salt, and a splash of unsweetened almond or soy milk. Creamer potatoes are a great source of vitamin C and potassium (and leaving the tender skins on adds a good dose of fibre to the dish too!)
The filling (or base) is brimming with vegetables 😀 Think carrots, celery, onion, garlic, kale, mushrooms, corn, peas, AND lentils in a light savoury vegetable gravy. You can experiment with different veggies but this combination is reeeally good. Mushrooms and lentils are an ideal base for a vegan shepherd’s pie, the heartiness is spot on and there’s no need for vegan meat substitutes!
This recipe comes together in just over an hour and makes about 8 servings. It freezes like a dream so if 8 servings is too much you can save some leftovers for healthy comfort food in a pinch!
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- 1/3 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
- 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance
- 1/4–1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 3–4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped
- 2 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups veggie broth
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 1/2 cups cooked green lentils (cooking instructions in notes)
- In a large pot, cover Creamer potatoes with a generous amount of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes (or until tender.)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- While the potatoes are boiling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and kale. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Continue sautéing until the vegetables are nearly tender.
- Evenly sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Gradually and in small amounts, add the veggie broth to the vegetables using a whisk to incorporate the broth. Keep adding more broth until the consistency is a thin gravy. Add the corn, peas, and lentils. Simmer for 5 minutes (add more water if needed.) Pour veggie mixture into a large casserole dish. Spoon or pipe mashed potatoes evenly on top. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and broil for 2-5 minute until browned to your liking.