Shepherd's Pie has always been one of my favorite meals on a cold winters day. It is warm, nourishing and comforting. But sometimes it can feel a little heavy so I came up with this version that really is "creamy and dreamy" and packed full of nutrients.
For the filling I start by sautéing carrots, celery and onion in a pot with a little vegetable stock and then I add in cooked lentils, mushrooms, fresh or dried thyme, poultry spice, salt substitute and pepper. Once it is all warmed up I add in a few great big handfuls of baby spinach and let that wilt as I stir it into the filling.
For the Creamy Dreamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes I like to use organic yukon gold potatoes un-pealed. I just scrub them well, cut them in quarters and put them in a pot of cold water with two or three whole cloves of garlic and boil them until the potatoes are soft.
While the potatoes are boiling I steam the cauliflower and onion until it is quite soft. I also put the cashews in my blender and add boiling water to soften them. I then add the nutritional yeast, braggs aminos, lemon juice and salt substitute. When the cauliflower is softened I add it to the blender and blend it all together. This turns into a creamy delicious sauce that I love to have over steamed vegetables.
Once the potatoes are cooked I drain them and mash them with the garlic and then I add the creamed cauliflower sauce and mash it all together. This is my absolute favorite version of mashed potatoes.
I then divide up the lentil filing into whatever size dished I am using to serve. Sometimes I make a large pie using a rectangular glass pyrex dish so you can see both layers but more often I make individual ones and just heat up however many I need and save the rest for the following day. My husband loves finding this in his lunch box and always sends a text thanking me on Shepherds Pie days. Like a lot of dishes this one always taste better the next day.
Top the filling with the Creamy Dreamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and then warm in the oven until it is piping hot. I always serve this with peas and mango chutney on the side, I am not sure why but that is the way we always ate it when I was a child.
This is a perfect dish to make ahead of time and it lasts for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. This is a crowd pleaser for vegans and non-vegans. Enjoy!
For the Filling
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups cooked lentils ( I often buy the precooked lentils form Trader Joes)
- 1/2 pound mushrooms, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon poultry spice
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 a teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Salt substitute, to taste (I use Bensons Table Tasty)
- 2 big handfuls of baby spinach or Swiss chard
For the Potatoes
- 3 pounds of organic yukon gold potatoes (unpeeled)
- 3 whole cloves of garlic
For the Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
- ¾ pound cauliflower florets
- ½ medium onion, roughly chopped
- ½ cup raw cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoons almond butter
- ½ cup boiling water, or as needed
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt substitute, to taste
- Heat oven to 400F
- Scrub the potatoes and cut in quarters and add to a large pot along with the garlic. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. When they are tender (approximately 20 minutes) drain and mash with a potato masher.
- While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the onion, carrots and celery in a little vegetable stock until caramelized. Add the chopped mushrooms and lentils along with the herbs and seasoning and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and add in the spinach or Swiss chard and let it wilt into the mixture.
- While the potatoes are boiling and the filling is cooking you can cook the cauliflower and onions either by steaming or just boiling until fork tender.
- While the cauliflower is cooking put the cashews in a high-speed blender and add half a cup of boiling water. When the cauliflower has softened add it to the blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend it all together into a delicious creamy sauce.
- Once the potatoes are mashed add a generous cup and a half of the cauliflower cheese sauce to the potatoes and mash it all together. Season to taste.
- Divide the filling into a 9X13-baking dish or divide between 68-ounce ramekins and top with the creamy potatoes
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes until heated through and slightly browned on top.
- Serve with your favorite green vegetables and mango chutney if desired
This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator and heated right before serving.