What is better on a cold winter day than the warm comfort of mashed potatoes combined with a gravy and a lot of nutritious vegetables? This was my thought upon returning to harsh winter weather after a lovely trip to Belize last week. A tragic amount of vegetarian shepherd's pie dishes on the internet neglect to include the protein packed ingredient of lentils which is a crying shame.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils
2 lbs potatoes (I like russets, but use whatever!)
1 cup dried lentils
1 small onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 large head of broccoli, chopped
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire (vegan Worcestershire to be truly vegetarian)
3 tbs soy sauce
3 cups veggie broth
2 tbs cup flour
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1 clove of garlic (optional if you like your mashed potatoes garlicky)
My husband had the brilliant idea of cubing the potatoes before throwing them into a pot of salted boiling water and it made them cook so much faster! Boil them for approximately 25 minutes (until soft enough to push a fork through). While these are boiling is a great time to prep your other ingredients. Strain the potatoes and set aside to cool. Mash in a large bowl along with the butter, greek yogurt, and garlic, if you are opting for garlicky.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add coconut or olive oil to a large pan or wok on medium heat. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery for 10 minutes until soft and the onions are translucent. Add the broccolli and stir another couple of minutes before tossing in the lentils, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and Worcestershire and let cook until the lentils are tender. This took me about 15 minutes. If there is not a lot of liquid left at this point, add more veggie stock before throwing in the flour to thicken the remaining liquid into more of a gravy and stir stir stir. Once the remaining liquid has thickened, remove from heat and pour into a rectangular 1 quart baking dish. Layer the mashed potatoes on top until covered. Drizzle with a little olive oil if you like a nice crust and place in the oven for 15 minutes.