Lentil Shepard’s Pie

When we first switched to plant based meals, we started off by adjusting some of our favorite meals to fit the new lifestyle. Comfort foods, such as Shepard’s Pie, made it easier on us.  Often I don’t use a recipe or I look at 3-4 recipes online to get a feel for the ingredients and go from there.    This recipe is one that I knew how to make and just made adjustments to fit our lifestyle.

Shepard’s Pie has basically 3-4 layers.  The bottom layer consists of the protein, then gravy is added.  When we ate meat, this would consist of whatever meat we had on hand. Mostly it was ground beef, but may have been chicken or turkey (after Thanksgiving).  In our new lifestyle, we switched our protein to lentils.

When I make lentils, I usually make 2 cups, or 1 pound, at a time.  This is then used in 2-3 meals. We had lentil tacos last week, so there were leftover lentils that meal.  The leftover lentil taco “meat” was used as a second meal the next day for lunch.  These are also great on salads.

Since we are on solar power and propane gets costly, we use electric power whenever possible.  We do a lot of cooking in the microwave and the induction cooker.  Tonight we used both so that everything was heated throughout and I didn’t have to bake it in the end (the oven and stove are propane).

I start by adding a carton of veggie broth to the induction cooker, saving about ½ cup to make the thickener.  I put it on medium-high to get it started.  Into the reserved broth, I add 2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it.  Mix well and add to the broth.  I also add seasonings at this time.  Since I was using a broth, I only added a bit of salt.

When it starts to boil, turn the temperature down and stir often as it thickens.

Add the lentils to the bottom of a pan.

Lentil Shepard's Pie 1

When the gravy is thickened, ladle it over the lentils generously.

Lentil Shepard's Pie 2

The next layer is the vegetable layer.  This layer can consist of any vegetable you have on hand.  I have used green beans, peas and carrots, or corn.  Tonight we used corn.  The corn needs to be heated, so I pop it into the microwave and then add the layer to the pan as well.

Lentil Shepard's Pie 3

The top layer is the potato layer.  We like our mashed potatoes with the skins on.  This gives it a rugged look and adds more nutrients.  If I were to make this for company or a pot luck, I would peel the potatoes and whip them up well so it is prettier.

When we ate animal products, we would add a layer of cheese to the top and pop it in the oven to make it all melted and gooey.   Here is an old picture of when I made it with carrots and peas for the vegetable and added cheese to the top.  You can also use a plant based cheese as well. Lentil Shepard's Pie 4

I didn’t get a picture of it plated because we quickly ate it at that point, but I served it with a mixed green salad.

Lentil Shepard’s Pie

1 carton (about a quart) of veggie broth

2 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups lentils (cooked)

2 cups corn

4 medium potatoes (made into mashed potatoes)

Salt

Layer lentils in casserole pan.

Make gravy with instructions above and layer on lentils.

Layer warmed corn on gravy.

Mound mashed potatoes on top.

Heat in oven, if desired, at 350 degrees until warm and bubbly (about 20-30 minutes).

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