Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

What do you do with a large sweet potato and a bag of French lentils and you are just craving home and comfort? Shepherd’s pie and a Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.

So let’s get a bit familiar with this pie:

Shepherd’s pie, common and inexpensive British dish originating from the sheep country in Scotland and northern England. It is a baked meat pie made with minced or diced lamb and topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes. Although the dish is sometimes called cottage pie, that name is usually given to a version featuring beef. It is thought that peasant housewives invented the pies as a way of repackaging leftovers from the Sunday roast. Source :https://www.britannica.com/topic/shepherds-pie .

Shepherd’s pie in my household was actually one of my favorite dishes. My mom would make it in the fall and winter months. My favorite part was was the mashes potatoes and sweet peas and carrots. I wasn’t a big meat eater growing up, but you ate whatever mom put on the table. I remember times being hard for us growing up, but my mother made sure we had a hot meal, clean clothes on our backs and lots of laughs. She was a very funny woman. Shepherd’s pie was special , it was comforting and a time to cuddle up with my family and enjoy a warm hearty meal together. My mother used ground beef, carrot, sweet peas, celery, onions and garlic as the base with lots of thyme. It was so yummy. I believe I have made this recipe only once in my life. Why? Why would I make a childhood favorite only once, because some dishes your mom just makes better, she adds that special mom LOVE ingredient.

This is what brought this recipe to life. Mother’s Day is coming up and I am missing my mom. She has been gone for 16 years now and I this time of the year I miss her so much and I just wanted to feel home. I do not eat meat like that anymore, no I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but my body craves plants more so I listen. Honoring myself and what my heart was desiring birth this lovely and delicious version of Shepherd’s pie. I hope you enjoy it and it brings your soul comfort and a smile.

Oh yes, don’t forget to Set the Table with Love. Thanks Mom for always teaching me how.

Sweet Potatoes

SWEET POTATOES

  • 1  large organic sweet potato (thoroughly washed, peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks)
  • Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp or more of maple syrup, depending on how sweet the potatoes are.
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
The Filings

FILLING

  • 1  cup French lentils, cooked (follow instructions on package)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Instructions

  1. Place sweet potato in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until you stick a fork in it and it breaks apart.
  2. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add coconut oil, all the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
  3. Next heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, onions, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and caramelized – about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add lentils, vegetable broth, bay leaf and the thyme, and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (20-30 minutes).
  5. In the last 15 minutes of cooking the lentils, add the carrots, and celery. Cook until the carrots and celery are a bit tender, but not mushy. Add in the frozen corn and sweet peas, stir, and cover and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain the lentils. Taste and adjust flavor to your preference.
  6. Transfer the lentil mixture into oven-safe baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon.
  7. Set on a baking sheet to catch any juices come from the pie and bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and the edges are bubbling.
  8. Let cool at bit before serving.

Notes

Green Apple and White Cheddar Gratin ~ The Lighter Flare

I love french inspired food, using the familiar and making it your own.  The beauty of living in the melted pot, is we get to learn from each other and infuse our cultures. The brilliance of doing this,  we create new experiences and new traditions for our families.

This french inspired gratin dish is for my vegetarians out there. You can easy make it vegan, by using olive oil, non dairy cream and vegan meltable cheese.

My memories of this dish, is my mom’s super cheesy version of her own take of potato gratin.  It almost reminded me of her macaroni and cheese, It was one of my favorite dishes. She would make it in the Fall, as soon as the weather got a little nippy. I thought about her today and with the weather changing, I decided to make a gratin in honor of her. However, I like to take dishes that are familiar and put my own signature on them. I made mines with crispy green apples, onions, garlic and white cheddar cheese. I seasoned the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper. I think my southern mama, would have approved and told me, I should have went heavier on the cinnamon, the butter and of course the cream. LOL. 🙂  The recipe is a little tart, sweet and cheesy.  It is not your typical heavy, creamy potato gratin, but  I believe it will become one of your favorite alternatives. Bon a petit!

Enjoy and Set the Table with Love. 

Green Apple and White Cheddar Gratin
Green Apple and White Cheddar Gratin

Ingredients:

3 tbsp unsalted butter,  a little extra for the mini dutch oven

1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

3 med. green apples, slice with a madoline or knife, thin round slices

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

A few thyme leaves and dried fennels ( optional)

Fine sea salt and black pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream, if vegan, canned coconut milk will work

1/4 cup bread crumbs, gluten free bread crumbs for those with gluten allergies

3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Few  fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter the mini dutch oven, ramekin or small baking dish.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Add green apples slices. Do not use the top or the bottom part of the apple slices, just he ones that are not covered with the peel. Add the seasonings and the fennel. Stir gently to incorporate all the flavors. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer half of the mixture into the baking dish. Add half of the grated white cheddar cheese and add the rest of the mixture. Pour the cream over top. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, thyme leaves,  and cheese on top. Dot the remaining 1 tbsp butter on top.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately, add the fresh thyme leaves on top as garnish.

Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple and Potato Tart

This tart says, Fall. Apples. Lentils. Potatoes. Comfort Food. It’s hard and so very delicious. I love the sweetness the apples brings to this recipe. The crust is flaky and it’s vegan. I used coconut oil in this recipe, instead of butter. The coconut oil must be solid and not melted. So put it the fridge, the cold water will keep it solidified. If you do not want to go Gluten Free or Vegan you can easily buy pre made bake pie crust pastry dough.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

THE TOPPINGS

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, extra for drizzling over the tart

2 large organic red apples, cored and diced

3 small red potatoes, washed and diced

1 cup french lentils,  cleaned, soaked over night and drained

1 /2 cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fennels

1 tbsp dried parsley

sea salt and black pepper

Gluten Free herb bread crumbs ( optional )

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Directions:

Cook lentils according to directions on your packaging. I soaked mines overnight it makes the cooking time shorter.  Once cooked, set aside.

In a sauté pan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Sauté your onions and garlic, until soften. Add your diced potatoes and cooked until soften. Add your diced apples. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add your cooked lentils to the sauté pan. Stir everything together. Next, add your seasonings, parsley and fennel. Stir everything together and set aside.

THE CRUST

6 tbsp. chilled coconut oil, MUST BE CHILLED, YOU CAN ALSO USE VEGAN BUTTER, BUT I AM ALLERGIC TO PALM OIL 🙂
1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill, 1:1 Gluten Free Flour mix
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4-6 tbsp ice cold water

DIRECTIONS:

To prepare crust, add gluten free flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Add in the cold coconut oil, one dollop at a time. Work gently with a fork. Don’t overwork your dough, just get the coconut butter incorporated in the flour.
Next add ice cold water a little at a time. I like using a wooden spoon to stir my water into the dough.  You are adding enough water to allow the dough to come together.
When the dough as come together, place it on a piece of plastic wrap and work gently with your hands to form a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap it firmly and place it in the  refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. When you are ready to use the dough, allow it to get a little of the chill off of it, so you can work with it, easily.  Do not let it get soft, because it will be hard to work and the coconut oil will start to make it oily. If it is dry, add more cold water, a little at at time.

To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two sizable layers of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of a rectangle, press the sides up so you can have a wall border about haIf an inch high. This will allow your filling to not fall off. If the dough cracks some, just use your fingers to pull it back together and reform it. Be gentle, using taps to pull cracks back together. Poked holes in the pie crust with a fork, so it will not rise.  I also pressed some of the gluten free crumbs on the side of the crust, to get an extra crunch once baked.

Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Line the pie crust with foil (not heavy-duty) and fill with pie weights, beans or rice. Bake until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the oven. In another pan, sauté the gluten free bread crumbs in a little olive oil over a medium heat, until  golden brown. Set aside. Once the crust is done, brush the crust with olive oil.  Add the vegetable and bean topping and add your sautéed gluten free crumbs.

 Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart
Gluten Free Vegan Lentil, Apple, Potato Tart

Southern Girls ~ Gluten Free Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans

Today I spent time with my friend Melissa. We both are true southern girls, so we love ourselves some cornbread. I made two versions of this recipe. One vegetarian and one vegan.  They both were very delicious. We talked about our childhood, birth order, being girls, southern 🙂 and how much we both love dessert. You know of course I had to have dessert, so I made this Vegan Nice Dream using my Go Raw Apple Cinnamon Sprouted Granola. Now remember to scroll down, that recipe with be at the end of this blog post.

Okay, back to the cornbread. The cornbread is sweet and the beans are spicy, an awesome combination. I topped the beans with cheese, and some cilantro and added fresh tomatoes all around the whole dish. I hope you will share this with your family and enjoy it as much as we girls did. Well till next time. Set the Table with Love.

Talk to you later, YA’LL. 🙂

cornbread
Southern Girls ~  Vegetarian Gluten Free Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans a

CORN BREAD RECIPE Vegetarian                                                 

Wet Ingredients

2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature

( For VEGAN VERSION USE ONE FLAX SEED EGG (1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 2 tablespoons water)

1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 cup Organic Cane Sugar

1/3 cup Olive oil

Dry Ingredients

1/2 cup Bob’s Mills Tapicoa Flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Mills Sorghum Flour

1/4 cup Bob’s Mills Brown Rice Flour

1 cup Bob’s Mills GF Cornmeal

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Sea Salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease cast-iron skillet. Set a side.

2. In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.

3. In a separated bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until thoroughly blended. Gradually, with a blender on low speed, add in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until the mixture is thick like cake batter. Spread evenly in the cast-iron pan.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is firm and edges are lightly browned.

5. Remove from oven and set aside.

img_3348
Southern Girls ~ Gluten Free Vegan Stuffed Cornbread with Spicy Mexican Beans 

Spicy Mexican Beans

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup onions, diced

1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced

1 can organic dark kidney beans

1 can organic pinto beans

1 tbsp William Sonoma Apple smoked herb rub ( optional)

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp smoked chilis

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp vegetable broth

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish

4 campri tomatoes, cut in fours, for garnish

1 cup of grated white cheddar cheese for the vegetarian version as a topping, 1 cup of vegan cheddar cheese for the vegan version as a topping

Directions:

Add olive oil to a deep sauce pan on medium high heat. Add onions and red bell peppers, cook for about 3 minutes. Add beans and stir. Add spices and stir until beans are coated with the spices. Add 1 tbsp of the vegetable broth, turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 4-5 minutes more adding the rest of the vegetable broth. Cook on a low heat for another 7-8 minutes, until beans are a little tender but still have a firmness.

Remove the cornbread from the cask iron pans, by flipping them over into a plate. The bottom part should be face up.  Scoop the middle of the cornbread out, about 1 1/2 – 2 inches down. Keeping the bottom in tack. You need to just scoop out enough to allow a space for the beans. Add the hot beans into the hollow of the cornbread. The beans need to be hot to melt the cheese, so if you need to warm them up some, do so. Once they are heated up, add the cheese on top, and the cilantro.  Add the quartered tomatoes around the entire dish, if desired.

Spicy Garlic Kale Chips

This weekend I enjoyed my grandson, but he came over with a cold. He is too irresistible to not hold, kiss and just eat up. I woke up this morning with a sore throat, achy body and a headache like a truck run me over a few times. I decided today I was going to rest and eat food that will help nurse my cold and make me feel comforted.

I love my friend Felicia who called me to see if I needed anything, but I have all the holistic medicine I need in my pantry and fridge. But God knows I appreciate her heart to want to take care of me.  Last night I made for my boys homemade Lasagna. They loved it. I took the leftover homemade pasta  and made this Vegan Fettuccine in Garlic oil with fennel, peppers, tomatoes and onions. You can find my pasta recipe in my cookbook, Set the Table with Love.  I also made my Spicy Garlic and Onion Soup, this time I added some porcini mushrooms. Well my last garlic treat is these yummy Spicy Garlic Kale Chips. Super easy to make.

Spicy Garlic Kale Chip

Pulled kale leaves from bushel of dark kale ( I pull the leaves off and break them into chip size bites, without the stem)
1 tbsp garlic flavored olive oil, or regular olive oil ( enough to cover the kale lightly)
Garlic Powder, to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 170. Place kale on a cookie sheet & drizzle the olive oil over top. Toss well to make sure the kale is evenly coated, then spread it out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle a little of the garlic powder and cayenne pepper or your a pinch of red pepper flakes. Bake for 1 hour.

Place in your favorite chip bowl and enjoy.

Spicy Garlic Kale Chips