Twice Baked Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Potatoes
How are you guys feeling about this whole time change thing?
I’m excited for the longer days ahead of us but man, that first full weekday is always rough, isn’t it? Especially because it falls on a Monday. Thanks a lot time change inventor person.
On the bright side, it means spring is almost here. Actually for us, it’s already here. It’s been in the 70’s all weekend and we took full advantage of it by meeting up with some friends on the patio of a local wine bar. It felt so good to sit in the fresh air with the golden glow of the last few hours of sunlight on my skin.
Anyways, as most of probably already know, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. So far we don’t have any plans to celebrate but regardless, I always use it as an excuse to make something green.
The really green recipes are coming later this week but today we’re sticking more on the traditional side of things with a fun veggie version of Shepherd’s Pie.
Some of you might remember the Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie that I made last year. It’s easily one of my favorites but I’ll be the first to admit that the ingredient list can seem somewhat intimidating. I mean the end result is definitely worth it but I get that not everyone wants to buy a ton of stuff to make dinner. So this one is made much simpler by using just a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, onion and garlic. However I did keep the tomato paste and vegan Worcestershire in the sauce because I love the flavor they give the lentils but you could probably get away without if you don’t keep them stocked in your pantry.
The idea to do a twice baked potato came from the lovely Nicole over at Cooking for Keeps. She developed a meaty version for Oh Sweet Basil and I couldn’t get over how good they looked. But of course I did what I always do and replaced the beef for legumes.
I whipped the potatoes until they were smooth with a hand beater and then used my largest frosting tip to get a pretty pipe on top but the only reason I did that was so that they would nice for pictures. You can skip whipping them and just use a plastic bag with a corner cut off to pipe them instead.
No matter how they look, you can’t go wrong with mashed potatoes and veggies. They make for a comforting and filling meal that will have you channeling the Irish spirit in no time!
4 large russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup dry brown lentils, soaked*
2 cups vegetable broth
16 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup plain milk (I used unsweetened almond)
2 tablespoons vegan butter (or regular butter)
6 ounces vegan sour cream (or plain non-fat Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes under running water then prick them several times with a fork. Place on the top rack of the oven and cook for 65-75 minutes. When they’re ready they should give in a little when you squeeze them (with an oven mitt, of course). Remove and set aside to cool then reduce the heat to 350°F.
- Meanwhile make the filling by warming the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pot. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire, and seasonings (thyme, oregano, pinch of salt). Stir together and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the lentils along with the vegetable broth and then bring to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes, until lentils are just tender. Add the frozen vegetables and stir together then cover and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Once potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice them in half and scoop out all but a thin layer of the filling in to a large bowl. You want to leave just enough of the filling so that the skin stays firm enough to handle.
- Add the butter, milk, and sour cream (or yogurt) to the bowl with the potatoes along with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt & pepper to taste. Mash together with a fork until combined. If the potatoes are too cool and the butter isn’t melting, microwave for 30 seconds or so to help everything blend together. Spoon the potatoes to a large plastic freezer bag and then cut off a small piece of one corner of the bag.
- Next spoon the lentil filling into each half of the potatoes so that they are as full as possible. Pipe the mashed potatoes out of the bag on top of each one and then sprinkle with fresh thyme (optional). Place back into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes for brown tops. Serve warm or allow to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*Soak lentils for at least 8 hours in a large bowl covered with 2-3 inches of water. Rinse well before cooking. If you want to skip this soaking, rinse the lentils and add an extra 1 cup of broth to the recipe.