A colorful vegetable medley and a rich brown gravy make this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie just as satisfying as its beef counterpart.
- 1 cup cooked lentils (optional)*
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 yellow onion
- 8 oz. button mushrooms
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 cups mashed potatoes
- Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (3-5 minutes).
- While the onions and garlic are cooking, peel and dice the carrots, dice the celery, and slice the mushrooms. Once the onions are soft, add the carrots and celery to the skillet and continue to sauté until the celery begins to soften slightly (5 minutes).
- Finally, add the mushrooms, salt, thyme, smoked paprika, and freshly cracked pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms have fully softened (3-5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and flour to the skillet. Stir and cook the vegetables with the flour and tomato paste until the vegetables are coated and the pasty mixture begins to coat the bottom of the skillet (about 2 minutes).
- Add the vegetable broth to the skillet, stirring to dissolve the flour and tomato paste from the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will become slightly thicker. Stir in the cooked lentils and frozen peas, and allow to mixture to heat through.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pour the vegetable mixture into a casserole dish, or use your skillet if it is oven safe. Spread the mashed potatoes out over the surface of the vegetables and gravy. Use your spoon to make a decorative pattern in the mashed potatoes, if desired.
- Bake the shepherd's pie in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through. To achieve a browned surface on the mashed potatoes (optional), turn on the oven's broiler (and place the pie under it, if not already), and watch closely until the top has browned to your liking.
Using cooked lentils is optional, but the number of servings will be closer to four without them. It should take approximately 1/3 cup dry lentils to make 1 cup cooked.