Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Vegetarian Sheperds Pie Even A Cattleman Can Love


Most weeks I let Cynthia pick what we have for Meatless Monday dinner. I'm never disappointed, This week however, over the weekend I asked her to make a lentil Sheperds Pie. I had been bouncing around the internet and had seen a couple of different vegetarian recipes. We both love traditional Sheperds Pie, so it seemed a good idea to try a vegetarian version.

As she typically does, Cynthia decided to use the recipe as the only slightest of suggestions. What we ended up with was a lentil and mushroom Sheperds Pie that was richly satisfying and gave both a mouth feel and taste that was distinctively "meaty" but was completely vegetarian.

Here's what she came up with.
1 1/2 cup French green lentils
1 small onion
4 cloves
1 garlic clove
8 oz package of baby portobello mushrooms, diced
2 tsp grape seed oil
1 small shallot
1/2 tsp thyme
 1/4 cup Maderia
1 oz sweet butter
2 carrots, 1/4 inch diced
1 leek, white part in 1/2 inch dice, green part fine chopped
1 small turnip, 1/2 inch dice
1 stalk celery, 1/4 inch dice
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp gravy master
1/2 cup mushroom stock, made from Better than Bullion
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
 4-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

Preparation (Lentils)
  • Cook lentils in water with the garlic, thyme and the small onion studded with 4 cloves Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 30-45 minutes. Set aside.
    Preparation (Vegetables)
    • Fry mushrooms in a very hot pan with a small pat of butter and grape seed oil (for vegan, all grape seed oil)
    • Add finely chopped shallot and then de-glaze pan with Madeira (Marsala, Port, Cognac, and even water will work if you prefer no alcohol)
    • Add carrots, leeks, turnips and celery
    • Add butter (for vegan, not dairy substitute), flour, Gravy Master and mushroom stock
    • Salt and pepper to taste. Cook to a firmness you prefer
    • Add frozen peas just long enough to defrost. (in season, fresh peas would be nice)
    • Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with lentils
    Preparation (Potatoes)

    • Simmer quartered potatoes in milk (we use milk to add a creaminess to our mashed potatoes, for vegan, use water). You can mix in turnip, parsnip, celeriac, apples, rutabaga, sauteed cabbage or onion or both, fresh herb pesto to make the potatoes as fancy as you get the idea)
    • When cooked mash the potatoes and fold the frozen corn into the mash.
      Preparation (the final dish)

      • Butter (or vegan substitute) a 10# casserole dish (it should be at least 2" deep)
      • Add vegetable and lentil mix.
      • Spoon, pipe or add anyway you like (be creative!) the potato and corn on top of the vegetables (we would also consider polenta in place of the potatoes)
      • Bake in a 375 degree F oven until the potatoes began to brown and the vegetables are bubbling. Remove from oven and serve steaming hot. Enjoy!


      1. That looks really tasty! I love the idea of using must feel a bit like meat in your mouth. I am going to try this for sure, you have inspired me :)

      2. I'm a vegan so I would use a vegetable oil based butter from earth balance, but this looks amazing!

      3. Anneli, that's a great compliment! I'll be sure to pass it on to my wife Cynthia. Yes, the lentils do really give a meat like texture and even taste to each bite.

      4. Anon - great. I wrote about the substitutes for butter so my began friends can consider enjoying this dish also. Glad you liked it.

      5. Looks (and sounds) good enough to eat! I may have to give it a try with and without beef to compare the "meat like texture and even taste" side by side :)

      6. That's the spirit Daren! There's room for everyone in the great big culinary world.

      7. This looks so good!! I am going to have to try and make it for my sister and I!

      8. This recipe looks wonderful! Ty for sharing :-)I have a great spring day!!!!

      9. Just tried this recipe. It turned out great. I added cheddar on top. Sheperd's Pie is my husband's favorite and when I told him I saw a veg recipe yesterday, he said if there is no meat, it isn't Sheperd's Pie. I made it anyway and he was fooled- he really liked it. After I told him all the ingredients he asked "what meat did youI use- deer?" He was surprised when I told him no meat :). He did go back for seconds. My 4 year old loved it too. Thanks for sharing!

      10. Thanks so much. Glad you and your family enjoyed it! Adding cheddar on top sounds good too. We'll have to try it next time we make it.


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