Remember eating TV dinners? I sure do. I loved them as a kid, peeling back the foil, the piping hot apple dessert (always a pea stuck in the gooey apple). My brother ate the Hungry Man Salisbury Steak and I had the Turkey Dinner. We also ate frozen fish sticks from a blue box, crinkle cut fries and chicken pot pies. Well my recipe for Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie brings back the TV dinner, but with a healthy twist. I used lentils, lots of veggies and I have even thrown in a handful of peas to add a comfort food vibe to my shepherds pie! I made them in these cute little tinfoil pans for easy freezing and a dinner for one. I am planning ahead - I want to have healthy and delicious food ready to go in the freezer when I don't have time to cook.
So preheat the oven, turn on the TV and eat!
And if you are craving that apple dessert why not try my recipe for Apple Cranberry Crisp made Sugar and Dairy Free.
Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie topped with Cauliflower and Parsnip Mash
This recipe will make 6 servings.
1/2 large cauliflower, cut into florets
1 to 2 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup unsweetened rice milk or other nondairy milk, more if needed
Salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
Two 15-ounce cans lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen green peas, or fresh when they are in season
2 tbsp dry red wine, optional
1 to 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
dash of hot sauce
½ tsp dried thyme
3 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder mixed with enough water to make a smooth paste
1 cup, packed of baby spinach or swiss chard, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Sprinkle of paprika
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
2. In a large saucepan add the cauliflower and parsnip and cover with water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor.
3. To the food processor add the vegan butter, rice milk and process until smooth. Season with salt, taste and adjust seasoning, set aside until needed.
4. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft and start to release their liquid.
5. Add the lentils, wine, soy sauce, thyme, hot sauce and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch paste and stir into the lentil mixture. Bring to a simmer just until the mixture begins to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.
6. Add the spinach and the frozen peas. Remove from the heat; (I like to taste and for seasonings).
7. Pour the lentil mixture into 6 small tinfoil pans or a 9 x 13 glass pyrex, then spoon the cauliflower parsnip mixture evenly over the top the sprinkle with paprika.
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top begins to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. If you are putting them in the freezer, cool for about 10 minutes then cover with foil, label and store in the freezer until ready to use.
You can always make this with mashed potatoes in place of the cauliflower.
Frozen corn work well in this recipe.
This recipe freezes well, just defrost when ready to eat and bake in the oven at 400º F for about 30 minutes or until hot. You can also put in the oven without defrosting, bake for about 50 minutes, checking halfway.
You can make this in a 9 x 13 glass pyrex or two smaller pans.
Secrets from my kitchen
Freezing wine is a great way to always have it ready to use. I have a designated ice cube tray just for wine. Then when I have a recipe that calls a bit of wine I just open the freezer and pop out a wine cube and voilà, I have another layer of flavour added to my meal.