Going plant-based for many isn’t easy. Leaving behind the comforts of familiar foods and tastes can be overwhelming. By introducing plant-based foods slowly, we allow our taste buds to adjust and experience new foods we’ve never tried before. One of my favourite foods as a child was Sheppard’s pie. I loved the taste of the whipped mashed potatoes on top. Just about any meal that contains meat can be replaced with plant-based foods, Sheppard’s pie is no exception. The lentils and chickpeas are filled for protein (for those of you who are concerned about their protein requirements) and it will leave you sated. I now incorporate more taste by using lots of herbs and spices which add so much flavour that you don’t even miss the salt which I never use anymore when cooking.
I’ve also tried using sweet potatoes in this recipe. I’ve cut the amount of white potatoes in half and added some sweet potatoes in their place. Cook the potatoes the same way but just add the sweet potatoes during the last 5-7minutes of the boiling phase and whip them up together for the topping. It just brings a whole new taste to this recipe. I’ve also made a plant-based gravy to serve along with it for those who find it difficult eating Sheppard’s Pie without the meat.
WARNING: This meal doesn’t last long in this household.
- 5 cups of white potatoes
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp. of vegetable broth for sauteeing
- 1⁄2 bunch of fresh thyme or 2 tsp of dried thyme
- 350 g mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- vegan red wine (optional)
- 100 ml vegetable stock
- 1 x 400 g tin of lentils
- 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
- 5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 30 g fresh or frozen breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp. nutritional flakes (this is a plant-based option for cheese)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F
- Peel and chop all the potatoes into rough 2cm chunks. Place the potatoes into a large pan of water over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain and leave to steam dry, then return to the pan with a pinch of black pepper, 1 garlic clove (chopped), non-dairy milk and nutritional flakes. Mash until smooth, then set aside.
- Peel and finely slice the onion, carrots and 2 garlic cloves, then trim and finely slice the celery. Bash the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until fine, then add it all to a medium pan over a medium heat with the vegetable broth.in the thyme leaves, then cook for around 10 minutes, or until softened.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms then add to the pan along with the vinegar. Cook for a further 10 minutes,
- Then add a splash of wine, turn up the heat, and allow it to bubble away. Stir in the stock, lentils and chickpeas (juice and all), then leave it to cook away for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced.
- Pick and roughly chop the parsley leaves, then stir into the pan. Season to taste, then transfer to a baking dish (roughly 25cm x 30cm).
- Spread the mash over the top.
- Place in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes or until piping hot through.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle the bread crumbs over the casserole and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve it up with some steamed green beans.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well