This vegetarian shepherds’less’ pie is going to blow your doors off ! I knew it was going to be one of my best dishes just by the smell of it. It is nothing short of outstanding and I don’t say that often!
We all know what Shepherds Pie is. It is browned meat and cooked veggies swimming in a dark sauce so rich and decadent it makes your hair stand on end. It is then topped with tender mashed potatoes and baked until nicely browned.
But can we duplicate this masterpiece WITHOUT meat? That was my challenge.
In order for this dish to be as deeply flavored as one with meat I had to do 3 things:
- Incorporate a meat substitute. I decided on lentils. The best lentils to use as a beef substitute are brown and green, as they have a milder flavor than red lentils, which means they are more willing to soak up different flavors.
- Bring out the flavors of the vegetables. In order to do this, the sweet potato needs to be roasted to maximize its caramelization and the onions were slowly sautéed until they too were a deep golden brown.
- Create a full bodied gravy. An important step that is often overlooked when cooking with tomato paste is not allowing it to brown. By letting tomato paste “brown” in the pan, and sautéing it with spices, you can boost the flavor of your dish in a big way. As it cooks a few minutes more you will see it darken in color and thicken.
TIPS IN MAKING VEGETARIAN PIE
We want to start with the items that will take us the longest, which are the sweet potatoes, the lentils and the onions, which can all be cooked at the same time.
- Start by cooking the lentils in a small saucepan over medium heat. This can take upwards of 30 minutes. Meanwhile, get the sweet potatoes in the oven and roast them until you can insert a knife through it easily (10-15 min). Lastly, get those onions going over a low heat. We want a deep flavor, so again, take you time as this can also take 20 minutes or more.
- Once the onions are done, toss in some mushrooms and cook them down.
- Now we need to add some liquid and flavor which is comprised of tomato paste, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and aromatics like garlic, thyme, cumin and cinnamon.
- At this time, the lentils and sweet potato should be done. They join the party, along with 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables and a can of diced tomatoes.
- This deep, rich, full bodied vegetable pie is not complete with a whallop of mashed potatoes on top!
A nice trick is to run the tines of your fork over the mashed potatoes and then drizzle it very lightly with olive oil and place them under the broiler for a few minutes until they get all golden brown.
Lentils are a legume from the bean family and are FULL of fiber. Because of this, I recommend soaking your lentils for at least a few hours to remove the outer covering of anti-nutrients. It’s these compounds that can cause gas and bloating.Print
A deep, robust and flavorful Vegetarian pie made with roasted sweet potatoes, deep caramelized onions, mushrooms, carrots, peas and lentils in a tomato based savory gravy topped with mashed potatoes!
- 1–2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Cups Onion, large dice
- 16 oz. Bella Mushrooms, diced different sizes (1 cup almost minced)
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1/4 Cup Red Wine
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
- 15 oz. Diced Tomatoes, drained (I used Fire Roasted)
- 1 Cup Frozen Mixed Vegetables
- Sea Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Cup Cooked Lentils
- 1 Medium Sized Sweet Potato, diced and roasted
- 2–3 Cups Mashed Potatoes
- Parmesan Cheese
- Cut up a medium sized sweet potato into a small dice and place in a small bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the sweet potato on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 450°F until a knife is inserted freely (approx. 10-15 min)
- Meanwhile, cook 1/2 cup green lentils according to directions in a small saucepan (this can take 30 minutes).
- In a large skillet, over medium heat add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions when the oil begins to shimmer. We want these onions to caramelize, this can take upwards of 15-20 minutes. Make sure the heat is on low and stir often. Add a teaspoon of oil if the onions start to burn or cook too fast.
- Once the onions are a deep brown color, add 2 Tablespoons of butter and the chopped/diced/minced mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid from the mushrooms has been released and evaporated.
- Sprinkle the flour around the pan and stir. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and give it a good stir to get rid of any canned acidic taste. Add the red wine, vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce and spices (including salt and pepper).
- Add the sweet potato, 1 cup of cooked lentils, the drained diced tomatoes and 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables. Stir to combine and taste for seasonings.
- Simmer with a partially covered lid for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add as many mashed potatoes as you like. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and run a fork up and down the pan to score the top of the potatoes. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil.
- Place under the broiler on the 2nd shelf of the oven and broil until the mashed potatoes are golden.
- Wait 5-10 minutes before serving.
YOU WILL NEED PRECOOKED MASHED POTATOES, GREEN LENTILS AND 1 SWEET POTATO FOR THIS RECIPE.
PIN IT FOR LATER!