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INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup green-brown lentils
3 tbsp margarine (or butter) divided into 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (alternative: 1/4 tsp each of basil and oregano)
1 can (19 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
dash pepper
2 to 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes


COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse lentils well and cover generously with water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for 20 minutes (until lentils are tender but not mushy).
  2. Drain cooked lentils, reserving at least 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
  3. Preheat over to 375°F.
  4. Generously coat a 2 quart casserole dish using 1 tbsp of the margarine (or butter).
  5. Saute onions in the remaining 2 tbsp margarine, but don't brown them.
  6. Mix garlic, Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, onions, parsley, pepper, lentils and reserved cooking liquid together. Spoon into buttered casserole dish.
  7. Spread reheated mashed potatoes evenly over top. (If necessary thin the mashed potatoes with a little milk to make them easier to spread.) Draw the tines of a fork over the surface to make ridges and dot with butter or margarine if desired.
  8. Bake in preheated 375°F oven for about 35 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.


NOTES

This is an awesome recipe! My mother took it from BC's Province newspaper many years ago, where it was listed as a first prize winner in the vegetarian category of a cooking contest.

For best results, when reheating leftover mashed potatoes, break them up and add a little milk. Be sure to heat them slowly so that they don't scortch or burn.

The lentil mixture can be cooked earlier in the day and refrigerated, but be sure to reheat it in the microwave before spreading the mashed potatoes on top so that the sauce will fully reheat in the oven without burning the top of the potatoes.

This recipe freezes very well, and so the lentil mixture can be made in advance and frozen until you have leftover mashed potatoes. Spread your leftover mashed potatoes over the frozen lentil mixture and then put the dish back in the freezer until you need it. Be sure to thaw before reheating at a temperature of 375°- 400°F for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can thaw the lentil mixture, heat it in the microwave and pour it over your mashed potatoes. Not as fancy, but just as tasty.

Lentils are one of the better protein dishes* for vegetarians. They are also high in folate and therefore a good choice for pregnant women. They contain healthy amounts of potassium and magnesium, and are rich in iron and fibre.

However, lentils should be eaten sparingly by anyone with gout because they are moderately high in purines. Warning: lentils may give some people gas and they could possibly trigger migraine headaches in those susceptible to migranes.

*Plant proteins are “incomplete” (they contain only some amino acids, and which ones they contain varies by species). This is why vegetarians must be careful to eat certain foods in combination (i.e. beans with rice); by combining the amino acids in multiple foods they will get a more complete protein. To learn more, click here.




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