I’m in the mood for comfort food, and shepherd’s pie is always a good choice. Ground beef or lamb, potatoes, and vegetables baked together into one of the most perfect cold-weather foods ever. It is, however, not the healthiest choice, so I don’t have it very often. That’s why I was really intrigued when I came across a vegan shepherd’s pie recipe. Nava’s Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie has a lot of similarities to the dish I’m used to, but can it really be as good without meat? I need to find out!
There are no words to describe this recipe other than ‘a deep dish of absolute comfort.’
This recipe has a long list of ingredients, and I had some shopping to do before I got started. I didn’t have a few things like the fresh produce or margarine, but most were all readily available at my usual grocery store.
One item I couldn’t find was canned lentils so I used dry. I boiled them alongside the potatoes, and they were ready at the same time. I also decided to make my own rice milk. It’s a simple recipe, and I made it the day before. The time was not included in the prep work (below).
One thing I noticed right away was there was no direction for the mushrooms either in the ingredients list or the instructions. Since putting in whole mushrooms seemed unlikely, I decided to buy them sliced.
I also had a few choices to make on some of the ingredients like whether to use spinach or arugula. Since I had arugula on hand, that’s what I went with, and that was pretty much how I made all of those decisions. I also used the optional margarine, olive oil, and red wine.
Making vegan lentil and mushroom vegan shepherd’s pie wasn’t difficult, but it did take a while. Most of that was in the prep work—everything I did up until the moment the pie went into the oven. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 53 minutes of prep work
- 35 minutes to cook
- 10 minutes to stand
- 1 hour 38 minutes total
I timed things differently than the recipe author, but the bottom line is mine took slightly longer than the 1 hour 15 minutes listed.
Since I couldn’t find canned lentils, I started by boiling dry green lentils in a small saucepan. Then I peeled and diced the potatoes and boiled them in a larger saucepan. I used 10 red potatoes to make sure I had plenty for the topping.
Next up was prepping and sauteeing the onions. I used my 5-quart sauté pan because I had to add pretty much all of the ingredients except the potatoes and breadcrumbs. It had just enough room to stir it all without spilling.
Assembly was pretty easy. Just layer the breadcrumbs, lentil mixture, and mashed potatoes in a 2-quart casserole dish. I think I used too many potatoes and ended up with them piled into a mound. They held together, though, and I popped the casserole dish into the oven for 35 minutes.