An easy and nourishing vegan lentil Shepherd’s pie filling made in your slow cooker. Simply serve with hot mashed potatoes, or stuff into a baked sweet potato.
By way of the calendar, spring is just around the corner. The days are getting longer, the weather is (at least where I live) milder, and I can hear birds chirping in our courtyard in the middle of the night. Hopefully this is the real deal and not one of those false springs where Mother Nature is like, “ha ha, just kidding!” and then we get hammered with snow in March and April.
I’ve been having overwhelming cravings for fresh food. You know, the real deal. Not those sad, pale supermarket tomatoes we’ve grown accustomed to, but actual, in season, from the earth food. There are a few more months to wait before that becomes a reality, so in the mean time I’ve been trying to bloom where I’m planted and appreciate the comforts of winter food.
I was gifted with a slow cooker for my birthday. In a stunning act of role reversal, it came from a friend whose entire kitchen I have curated. And I love it. The slow cooker has only just arrived in Sweden, so it’s very much an object of fascination. It’s strange that it took so long for them to arrive here, since the slow cooker is such a sensible appliance and the Swedes are nothing if not a sensible people.
Sunday soups are firmly entrenched into our winter food routine, and I’ve been loving the slow cooker for those – it really frees up my afternoons to be out and about while the soup is bubbling away in the slow cooker. But I also recently found myself without weekend leftovers on a Tuesday, so I layered the ingredients for this lentil shepherd’s pie into the slow cooker before I left for work in the morning and when I came home at the end of the day, cold and tired as usual, what a pleasure it was to arrive home to a warm, ready, and nourishing meal.
Many of the recipes I saw when researching slow cooker sheppy’s pie called for the pie to be transferred into a casserole dish, covered with a potato layer, and then baked for an hour, and let me tell you I don’t have time for that nonsense on a weeknight. But it’s not like it’s hard to mash a few potatoes, and so I enjoyed my shepherd’s pie deconstructed, simply spooned into a bowl and served with a generous scoop of mashies on the side.
If you can’t comprehend not having a golden potato crust with filling bubbling up around the edges, I recommend going for individual-sized ramekins, which will bake up in a fraction of the time. Or, if you want to go wild and crazy, stuff the filling into a baked sweet potato, which you can bake in advance and simply reheat when you’re ready to eat.
So, go grab some lentils, dust off your slow cooker, and get ready to enjoy a wonderful, warm, and nourishing winter meal to savour the season.
Let’s talk about lentils! These lovely little legumes are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. The soluble fiber in lentils helps to keep blood sugar stable, while providing a steady source of energy. But the energy benefits don’t stop there, lentils are a rich source of iron, as well as being a good source of plant-based protein, which is good news for us veg heads. They’re also a great source of heart-healthy folate and magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, potassium, and B6.
Three years ago: Pea Soup with Smoked Porter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1½ cups puy lentils, picked over and rinsed well
- 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 cups mashed potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes
- Layer the diced onion,olive oil, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, thyme, pepper, lentils, tomatoes, and vegetable broth into your slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours*
- When the cooking time is complete, stir in the frozen peas.
- Spoon into bowls and serve with a scoop of mashed potatoes. Or, spoon into a split baked sweet potato. Or, spoon into individual ramekins, top with mashed potato, and bake at 200°C / 400°F for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and the filling is bubbling around the edges.
-I chose Puy lentils because they hold their shape well with long cooking. Beluga lentils or small green lentils would also work well.
Recipe adapted from The Vegetarian Slowcooker