Recipe of the Week - Curried Lentil Shepherd's Pie (Vegetarian)

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Grain-Free

There's perhaps nothing more satisfying than mashed potatoes and stew on a cold winter's day.  There's something so nourishing and warming about that combination.  While I was mulling over menu ideas for Thanksgiving, my Mom shared her recipe for Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie and immediately I was able to make the dish dairy-free and add a little spin to it.  

Curry and lentils are an amazing combination, however, if you're not in the mood for curry, you could easily change this recipe to include other spices such as Italian Seasoning and saute the mushrooms in wine - Delicious!!

Happy Thanksgiving and we wish you and your family a wonderful and relaxing day full of thanks!

Curried Lentil & Mushroom Shepherd's Pie (Vegetarian)

Makes 2 - 8 inch pies
Mashed Potatoes

8 large Potatoes, died and peeled (you can leave the peel on, but will not be able to pipe designs)
1/2-3/4 cup Coconut Milk, unsweetened (the kind you find in the fridge, not the can)
Himalayan Salt
Coconut Oil (optional)

Curried Lentils
1 large Onion, diced - reserve 1/4 cup for the mushrooms
3-4 Carrots, diced
4 ribs of Celery, diced
2-3 tablespoons Curry (adjust to desired flavor)
1/4-1/2 cup Baby Spinach Leaves or Kale, cut into ribbons (optional)
2 1/2 cups Lentils
Cayenne or Black Pepper, to taste
Water or Vegetable Broth

Sauteed Mushrooms
6-8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cloves Garlic, pressed or finely diced
1/4 cup Onion, diced (use the reserved from the Lentils)
1-2 teaspoons Curry (adjust to desired flavor)
2 teaspoons Coconut Oil - Virgin is preferred for the flavor

Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water.  Salt as desired.  Cook about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain potatoes.  To make fluffy and smooth, run the potatoes through a ricer first.  If you prefer your mashed potatoes with some lumps, use a masher.  Mix in coconut milk until fluffy.  If you would like coconut flavored mashed potatoes to go with the curry, add some coconut oil to desired taste - make sure to melt first.  Salt as desired.  Set aside while the lentils are cooking.

In a large pot add all the ingredients for the lentils and cover with water about 1 1/2 inches.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 45 minutes - 1 hour until the carrots and celery are soft and the lentil's are well cooked, but not mushy.  If you would like to thicken the sauce, remove a little of the broth and add some cornstarch, mix well, then add back to the lentils.  I find that I like the the lentil mixture to be somewhat runny so that the mixture does not dry out during baking..  Set aside while the mushrooms are being cooked.

Add coconut oil to a frying pan and heat over medium high heat.  Add garlic and onion to the pan and saute until the onions become a little limp.  Add mushrooms and saute until well cooked.  Add curry and mix well.  Set aside.

To make the pie, add 1/2 the mixture to both 8 inch baking dishes to coat the bottom.  Add 1/2 the mixture, or if there is too much of the lentil mix, allow for at least 1 1/2 inches for the mashed potatoes.  Top with the mashed potatoes.  I find that it is easiest to add the mashed potato to a piping bag and pipe the mashed potatoes on top.  Decorate as you like - write "Thanks", decorate with peaks, etc.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until the potatoes begin to turn slightly golden.  Slice like a pie and serve nice and hot!  

Happy Thanksgiving!
Natalie & Leilah

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