When the words “comfort food” come to mind, I’m sure everyone gets a different image in their heads of a warm, filling meal that their mom, grandma, or someone close to them used to cook. For me, this meal is shepherd’s pie. I actually don’t think I have ever had shepherd’s pie made by anyone who wasn’t my mom. Although we no longer live together, and I no longer eat meat, this meal from the past has not been forgotten. I still crave this pie with its perfect balance of carbs and veggies.
To recreate shepherd’s pie into a vegan-friendly dinner, I swapped out the ground meat for lentils. Lentils have a deep, earthy flavor that is the perfect substitute for beef. With a little seasoning, you can hardly notice the difference. I chose to use freshly chopped vegetables in my recipe, but I’m sure this can be made using frozen veggies if you want to save yourself a little prep work. You could also try to make this with sweet potatoes instead of russet. If you do not want to take the time to make these into little stuffed boats, you can simply layer the lentil mixture in a pie pan and top it with the smashed potatoes afterward for a more traditional recipe.
Because there is no excess fat run off from the meat like there is in a traditional shepherd’s pie, flour that is generally used to soak this up is not necessary, resulting in a gluten-free dish!
Shepard’s Pie Potato Boats
1. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Use a fork to pierce each potato a couple times. Using a tiny bit of olive oil, coat the outside of each potato. Place them directly on the wire rack in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes until soft and cooked through.
2. While the potatoes are baking, prepare your filling. Cook lentils according to package.
3. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook for a minute or two, continuously stirring.
4. Add the lentils to the pan and stir. Continue to add the ingredients, from the apple cider vinegar to the black pepper and cook on low until the potatoes are done baking.
5. When the potatoes are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a couple minutes. Cut them in half, scoop out the middle, and add it to a bowl. Once the insides from all the potatoes are in the bowl, add the butter and almond milk and whip together.
6. Stuff the empty potato skins with the lentil mixture and top with the potato filling. Sprinkle with paprika and return to the oven lowered to 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
When removed from oven, they are ready to eat.
Also by Lauren: Vegan Maple Sweet Potato Pie
Related: Gluten-Free Root Vegetable Pasta
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photos: Lauren Sacerdote