We're always dealing with stuff. Life is full of stuff. Some say that's all it is really. Literal stuff, figurative stuff, stuff stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, everyday stuff. While running yesterday, I was watching Doctor Who and I heard a quote, "Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love." It may be silly for such a quote to stick with me, but it really did, and it kept me thinking. It's pretty cheeseballs, I know. Yet, if you've got some bad stuff or sad stuff going on in your life, sometimes it's good to have a grounding quote in the back of your brain to remind you of the big picture. So I am gifting this one to you. Thank you Doctor Who, and all your infinite wisdom. That's all. Okay, moving on to what's reaaally important in life. Food...obviously.

I've been wanting to make a shepherd's pie for quite some time now. My family never really made it, but I did spend half my childhood at my BFFs' house (a five minute walk up the road). My second Dad, as I call him, made shepherd's pie on occasion and I loved it. Although his was different than this recipe, as it involved white potatoes, peas, and meat if I am remembering correctly. My lentil shepherd's pie has strayed from the white potatoes and meat, but it still conjured up some good childhood memories.

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Sweet potatoes replace the white variety and hearty mushrooms replace the meat in this non-traditional shepherd's pie. Rich and savory flavors are complemented by the honeyed taste of the fluffy sweet potatoes perched atop. If you want to try a scrumptious little spin on regular ol' shepherd's pie then look no further! No animal friends' flesh necessary, I promise you. 

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's Pie

It's been a warm, yucky and wet January here in Alaska. Perfect weather for a good, filling shepherd's pie if you ask me.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Serves 8

  • Sweet Potatoes:
  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence 
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain/unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy milk)
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • Pie:
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 3/4 cup dry steel cut oats
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, half quartered and half diced 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup vegan red wine (you'd be shocked that most are not)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Yikes! It seems like a lot, but it's mostly seasonings. Don't fret!

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wash the sweet potatoes and prick each several times with a knife. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until very soft when poked with a knife. Once done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieMeanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine the lentils, oats, bay leaf, salt, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Turn to low, cover partially and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Drain well and set aside until ready to use. 

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieProduce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieWhile the lentils are cooking, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Chop half the mushrooms in quarters and mince the other half. Add the quartered mushrooms and a pinch of salt to the oil and saute until they have darkened and become fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Then, add the minced mushrooms, onion, celery, and garlic. Saute until the onions begin to brown. 

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieAdd in the remaining ingredients for the pie, including the lentil/oat mixture but excluding the nutritional yeast and parsley. Stirring occasionally, allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and chopped parsley.

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieCoat a 9x13 inch casserole pan with a nonstick cooking spray and spread the pie mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. 

By now, the sweet potatoes should be done, maybe even cool. If they aren't quite tender enough, you can pop them in the microwave for a few minutes. Once they are cooled, you'll want to peel the skin off. Don't worry this is very easy as it should just slip right off. Be sure to cut the tips off either end first. 

Put the peeled sweet potatoes in a large electric stand mixer bowl and beat on medium until mashed. Then, add in the remaining sweet potato ingredients and continue to beat for a few minutes, until fluffy and soft. 

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieAt this point you can either compost the skins or if you like the skins (like me!), just chop them up and scatter them over the pie mixture. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the mashed sweet potatoes evenly over the pie mixture and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until the edges of the potatoes become slightly browned.

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieSlice up and serve hot.

Produce On Parade - Lentil Shepherd's PieThis little ditty always makes me smile for some reason. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/95403702" params="color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

[yumprint-recipe id='68']