In theory, the heading says it all. But it does not. What I am going to present you today is absolutely knock-your-socks-off crazy delicious! Don’t believe “fat free”, “vegan”, and “delicious” go together? Hear me out. It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn here in Melbourne, so it’s that time of the year where you are tired of your barbecue and dish out the comfort food again. Just kidding. I mean, tired of barbecues? Never! But yeah, as the days get cooler and the shorts and sandals make way for cardies and boots, you wanna have the matching recipes up your sleeve. And this express vegan sheperd’s pie is one of them.
Like most of my recipes, this baby is a bit of a rush job. One night we were coming home very late and very hungry. Our crisper greeted us with some not-so-crisp vegetables. Limp carrots, wilting celery and rotting onions, I’m looking at you. In short, there were a few things that just screamed “sheperd’s pie”. But sheperd’s pie and quick doesn’t really go together. Or does it?
I am excited to present you with a truly express vegan sheperd’s pie. A sheperd’s pie that, on top of being easy and quick, is gluten free, vegan, and insanely delicious. Yes, it is. I am generally more of an Italian/Asian food girl. I prefer light, flavoursome dishes to traditional Northwest European comfort food. But I’d gladly have two helpings of this sheperd’s pie any time. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether this would work out. Apart from my crisper with said sad veggies (pun intended, sorry not sorry), my pantry was practically empty. I had no stock or fancy spices at hand so I used water and a bit of good ol’ salt and pepper instead. Also, I had run out of plant milk so the potatoes on top is just that – potatoes. I really used minimal ingredients and minimal equipment. But with maximum results.
As you know if you have been following my blog, I’m pretty lazy. I mean, erh, busy. Really. Or maybe I just can’t be bothered standing in the kitchen for one hour straight. So I like to take shortcuts. Microwaving instead of boiling potatoes? Be my guest. Whatever, I’m going to give you a few options here. Every step comes with an option for lazy bums like me and with an option for people who have too much time on their hands, i.e. people who peel their vegetables. Ugh. Ain’t nobody got time for this. If you peel your vegetables, you obviously got way too much time on your hands. (PM me for my address.) I don’t deny that the end result looks prettier if you peel your vegetables. But I take that “no worries” thing seriously.
And that’s why this express vegan sheperd’s pie is virtually fat free, it’s no bake (so that you can still enjoy this beauty in the peak of summer), it’s ridiculously quick compared to normal sheperd’s pie recipes. It is get-on-your-knees scrumptious (as confirmed by my sheperd’s pie snob husband). And it is also very cheap with a few simple ingredients and no fancy equipment. You’re welcome. And for the avoidance of doubt, this sheperd’s pie is also vegan and gluten free. But you know that already.
Express Vegan Sheperd’s Pie
1kg potatoes, washed, peeled (if you can be bothered), and roughly chopped
optional: a dash of plant milk and some salt and pepper for the potato mash
1 onion, diced
handfull of spring onions, washed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (approx. 500g) carrots, washed, peeled (if you can be bothered), and chopped
1 whole celery bunch, washed and chopped
2 cups dry green lentils, rinsed
4 cups either vegetable stock or water and some extra spices such as herb salt, white pepper etc.
First things first, cook your potatoes like you normally do. (I do mine in the microwave, but that’s just me.) In the meantime, heat a large stockpot or French oven and cover the base of the pot with some water. You can use oil, but I like my water sautés. Sauté the onion, spring onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add the carrots, celery and lentils. Add the stock or water and spices. Cover and cook until lentil are tender. Adjust spices.
Meanwhile, puree the potaotes in a high-powered blender (if you are lazy) or mash by hand. Add plant milk and some more spices if desired. I use some of the liquid from the lentil-vegetable mix as the starch will lend a lovely texture to the mash and the pie filling will be less liquidy if you use part of it for the spud. Just saying. Scoop the vegetable mix into a baking dish and scoop the prepared potato mash on top. Bob’s your uncle.