20 November 2011

Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Shrooms

It's not especially photogenic, but it tastes like comfort.
With the weather turning colder by the day, I have been wanting craving comfort food like mad. Funny thing, I never had shepherd's pie until I went veg, so it isn't some childhood memory for me, which is what most comfort food is to me. But, anything smothered in mashed potatoes instantly becomes comfort food. And if you have a problem with that, then I'm just going to have to ask you to leave. Now. We don't need your types around here.

When you look at the recipe, it seems like a lot of ingredients, I know. However, if you cook regularly, you probably have most of it on-hand already. About 1/3 of them are spices. See, less daunting already! I do hope, though, that you have the ability to multi-task because it definitely saves you a lot of time on this one. And if you don't, well, bummer for you.

I have found a new spice love. I feel so unfaithful to my constant standbys of garlic powder, coriander, etc. I'm in love with an all-purpose seasoning by Simply Organics. I only bought it because I found a recipe I want to make for Thanksgiving that calls for it. But, I've been trying it in other dishes and I'm completely hooked. I find it irresistible. So, I thought I'd shared the love and recommend it to you guys, too. I think you'll like it. Enough blathering on about spice. On to the recipe, already. Sheesh.

This makes 1 large-ish dish. I got 6 main-dish-sized servings out of mine.

What I used for the mashed potatoes: 
  • 5 medium-sized yukon gold potatoes, cubed with skins on (You can use any kind, just peel them before boiling)
  • some almond milk
  • some Earth Balance
  • salt 
What I used for the lentils:
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • about 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning
What I used for the rest of the dish:
  • 1 1/2 TB coconut oil
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • about 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • about 1 cup finely shredded carrot (I just used 1 massive carrot)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach, stems removed
  • 2 tsp Braggs aminos 
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth (approximate)
  • 1 tsp Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • lots of pepper and some salt
  • about 2/3 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned ones because that's what I had in my cupboard)
What you need to do:
  1. Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees F. Lightly spritz a deep casserole or pie plate with some cooking spray. Shake the bread crumbs into the bottom of the dish to make a light layer covering the whole bottom. You may need more or less depending on your dish size.
  2. Put your lentils, their broth and seasoning into a small pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer (with the lid on) until most of the liquid is dissolved and the lentils are softened to your liking. You do want a little broth left over...maybe 2-3 TB. The cooking time varies with the age of the lentils. Fresher lentils cook faster. Mine took about 15 minutes. Once done, leave the lid on and remove from the heat.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, put your potatoes in a large pot, add about 1 TB salt to the pot and cover the potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 10 minutes. Maybe more maybe less depending on how big your taters are cut. You want them to be fork-tender. Then drain. Now, using either an electric hand mixer, of a potato masher, whip in some almond milk, butter and salt. I like mine creamy and buttery, but add however much you want. Once you get them tasting awesome, set aside.
  4. I started this while the first 2 steps were still happening. You'll need a large nonstick skillet. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened. Now add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook another 4 minutes. Your mushrooms should be cooked perfectly now.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and the broth until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add that mix, along with the lentils and their broth, the Braggs and the spices to the skillet and mix well. Now add the spinach and mix around a bit. Just cook until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Taste and check for seasoning. Remove from heat.
  6. Scoop the lentil mix into the baking dish. 
  7. Now, scoop all the potatoes on top and smooth out into an even layer across the top. I then sprinkled mine with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden. Dig in and enjoy. Or not. Your loss.


  1. It looks so good! I want to make it!
    What spices are in the all-purpose seasoning?

  2. Hi choirqueer! Thank you so much for stopping by. Here are the ingredients in order from the label of the spice:

    Organic dehydrated onion, organic black pepper, organic dehydrated garlic, organic parsley, organic celery seed, organic tomato powder (organic tomatoes, guar gum), organic basil, organic thyme, organic oregano, organic sage, organic coriander.

    If you make it, let me know how you like it. We loved it at my house....even the omni.