Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

Special Announcement! Meat-eating Rick has released a statement to the media (me) that this is his new favorite recipe of mine, even trumping his beloved lasagna. He does not ~dish~ out compliments regarding my cooking liberally, so this is notable.

This recipe has some veggies but I think of it as vegan junk food because it has substitute products galore. I feel like vegan substitutes for animal products are great in a pinch or to satisfy a particular craving but aren’t great for day-to-day eating. The closer you can get to simply eating whole, plant-based foods the better, but everybody needs a comfort meal sometimes.

Ingredients

5 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c vegan mayonnaise
1/2 c coconut milk
1/4 c + 2 T olive oil
3 T vegan cream cheese
2 t sea salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 c frozen peas
1 tomato, chopped
1 t Italian seasoning*
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t black pepper to taste
~14 oz package vegan ground beef
1/2 c vegan shredded cheddar cheese

*The dry mix from my Crack Italian Dressing recipe works here, too.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to boil the potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and then replace them in the pot.
  2. Stir mayonnaise, milk, 1/4 c olive oil, cream cheese, and sea salt into the potatoes, mashing with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy. Set potatoes aside.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, peas, and tomato until mixture softens, about ten minutes.
  4. Stir Italian seasoning, garlic, and pepper into vegetable mix.
  5. Preheat oven to 400° F and lightly oil a two quart baking dish. Set aside.
  6. Reduce vegetable mix heat to medium-low and add vegan ground beef crumbles. Stir and break up the crumbles until mixture is hot, about five minutes.
  7. Spread meat / vegetable mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Then, top mashed potatoes with cheese.
  8. Bake 20 minutes.

This recipe is super filling and hearty. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.

Adapted from Traditional Style Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.


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Recipe: Mujaddara

Mujaddara is a Lebanese dish, but I’ve also seen it associated with Jordan and Iran. I believe the origins are regional and predate today’s borders, but if you have more info please let me know in the comments below.

This recipe is simple,  savory, and an unsuspecting crowd pleaser. The caramelized onions are heaven and the vibrant spices bring the dish to life. Rick houses it.

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Ingredients

1 c lentils
1/2 c olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns, cracked or whole
3-5 red onions
2 t sea salt
3/4 c brown basmati rice
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1″ cinnamon stick
3 c water
1-2 lemons
2 T pine nuts, toasted (optional)

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  1. Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns, occasionally shaking the pan until the cumin seeds darken, about one minute.
  3. Sauté onions and 1/2 t sea salt, stirring often. The onions are done when they’re dark brown in color with slightly crispy edges. This will take about ten minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, move about half of the onions to a tea towel or paper towel-lined plate. These are for garnish.
  5. Add ground cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick and sauté about one minute.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and allow the rice mixture to steam for about five minutes.
  8. If using, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat about five minutes.
  9. Serve rice mixture with the reserved onions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and pine nuts, if using.

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Unlike the photo above, make a polished table presentation by filling a mold or small bowl with the dish and flipping it onto a plate.

Enjoy this mujaddara for lunch or dinner, as a side, or as a main course.

Serves four.

Adapted from Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions.