Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie

As most of you know by now, my husband and I spent a bit of time living in London, where we’ve picked up some annoying habits of inflection, and to those of us who don’t know us that well, they assume we’re just anglophiles (we’re not, we totally know that some stuff over there is equally crap as the stuff over here and vice versa) when in actuality, we just happened to spend a large part of our 20’s over there, things tend to rub off in early adulthood. Anyway, I LOVE some British cooking, which I know some find oxymoronic…really? British cooking is good? Yes, actually, it can be, some of it is bad…just like here (duh).

One dish that I actually don’t like, at all, is Shepard’s Pie. I just. don’t. like. it.

That said, I received Gwyneth Paltrow’s newest cookbook for mother’s day (thanks amazing Will) and needed to try to make something from it right away.

Thankfully, I was scheduled for a meal drop-off for a newly birthed mom and decided to go to the book to look for something that would transport well, would be edible outside my family (I understand sometimes we eat things that others find weird, we’re cool with our difference) but that I would also want to eat. I then made dinner plans (I really like being busy and social, can you tell?) with a mom who works more than full time. I wanted to bring dinner to her so she didn’t have to worry about anything (except wine). She’s a vegetarian. So one meal, serving two families with two different eating habits…challenge accepted! (I recognize I’m a dork).

I came across Gywneth’s vegetarian Shepard’s pie. It looked pretty good. I wanted to make it vegetarian, vegan AND with a bit of a kick. OHMYGOD. It was amazing. I’m really glad I used her recipe as a base, but I think it needed some help for my palette.

This is what you’ll need;

2 large white potatoes

2 cups of vegetable stock

4 cloves of garlic (2 minced, 2 whole)

4 cups of water

2/3 cup lentils (I used brown)

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped in rounds

1 large yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup water

1/4 tea dried rosemary

1/4 tea salt

1/2 tea pepper

1 large tomato, diced

1 dollop of harissa

1 tbsp hummus

2 tbsp maple syrup

Okay, it seems like an intimidating ingredients list. I actually had all of this stuff in my fridge/pantry. Obviously, some things you can substitute. Or you can look at the original recipe and make it as is. Up to you.

Add your vegetable stock, potatoes and 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled to a pot. Set to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are easily piercable with a fork, about 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Reserve the stock.

In another pot add 4 cups of water and your lentils. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low for 20 minutes. Your lentils should be softened but not falling apart soft. Drain and reserve.

Using a saute pan, saute your onions for 2-3 minutes until softened, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add carrot and cook for about 8-10 minutes. At this point your lentils and potatoes should be cooked through.

Add your lentils to you sauteed vegetables, on low heat and add tomato, maple syrup, 1/2 cup water, harissa, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5-10 minutes (I lean towards 10 minutes). Turn off heat and add hummus to thicken. Set aside.

Now mash up your potatoes and garlic. To get that creamy texture of your standard mashed potatoes, when mashing slowly add your vegetable stock. Keep adding and mashing until you get the consistency you like. I like mine to be a bit lumpy.

Since I was serving 2 families, I set this up in two different ways.

In a muffin pan I added muffin liners to 6 cups. I filled each cup with half lentil mixture and then spread the potato mixture on top.

muffin tin shepard pie

In a shallow pie dish, I did the same.

shepard pie

I delivered each dish with instructions. You need to further cook this dish, at 350 for 20 minutes if the dish is cold (which both were for me) OR 10 minutes if you are cooking right after you’ve done all the prep work.

This was delicious. Next time I would add more harissa because I like a massive kick, but it was good. I think I would eat this type of Shepard’s Pie again!

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