Monday, November 19, 2012

An Untraditional Shepherds Pie

Sometimes when it’s cold outside I just want to warm up with some homemade comfort food. Bust usually comfort food equals butter, cream, carbs, cheese, sodium and fat! How about a comfort food dish that is healthy?! Now you might be thinking that this isn’t possible but it is! I’ve created a “healthy” version of Shepherds Pie and it is absolutely delicious! I came across a couple of different vegan shepherds pie recipes and combined bits and pieces of them to come up with this awesome creation! Oh and for those of you who receive my To Be Nourished Monthly Newsletter, this recipe features the Sweet Potato Parsnip Mash that was published last week! Yum!

How you ever had lentils? Lentils are legumes but much easier and quicker to prepare than other dried beans. Generally you can whip up a batch of lentils in 30 minutes. They come in many different colors and are often sold split in halves. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber. In addition, they contain significant amounts of folate, magnesium and iron. This means that lentils are heart-healthy and excellent for energy!

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
4 medium-large parsnips, peeled and chopped into cubes
½ cup of almond milk (may require more based on your preference)
1 ½ cups of dried lentils
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 garlic gloves, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
6 oz. of cremini mushrooms, sliced (button or baby bella would also work)
1 bag of fresh organic baby spinach
3 ½ cups of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 tablespoons of dry red wine
2 tablespoons of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce or tamari would also work)
2 tablespoons of Ghee (or butter)
2 tablespoons of arrowroot or cornstarch
1 teaspoon of rosemary
½ teaspoon of thyme
¼ teaspoon of sage
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Place the cubed parsnips and potatoes in a large stockpot of cold water. Salt the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and return the vegetables back to the pot or a high-speed blender. Add the almond milk, Ghee, salt and pepper to taste and blend or mash until smooth and creamy. Cover and set aside.

While the potatoes and parsnips are cooking, bring 1 ½ cups of lentils and 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Approximately 30 minutes. Set lentils aside.

Drizzle the EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and golden. Add the celery and cook until tender. Next add the mushrooms and continue to cook until tender. Add the lentils, spinach, herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage) and remaining ½ cup of vegetable stock, red wine, and Bragg’s. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally.

Now combine the arrowroot or cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Add it to the mixture to thicken the sauce.  It should become a gravy-like consistency. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the lentil mixture in a round oven safe dish and delicately top with sweet potato/parsnip mash. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the top of the mash starts to brown.

Scoop and serve!

*Option to add a fresh rosemary spring as a garnish.

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