One of our 2016 goals is to incorporate more meatless Monday’s into our weeknight dinners. We’re big on chicken and fish in our house but my oldest son loves his veggies, so why not use that to my advantage?! Here’s a vegetarian take on Shepherd’s Pie that won’t leave you missing the meat! Hearty mushrooms and lentils are filling, while garlicky mashed potatoes give the feel of traditional Shepherd’s Pie with bold, layer flavors. Here’s my meatless Monday Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.
4-5 russet potatoes
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 TBS chopped basil
1 TBS chopped parsley
1/4 tsp chopped thyme
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
3 stalks of celery sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 small packages sliced mushrooms
1 head of garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, pan roasted
3 TBS Worcestershire
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash down the middle lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with EVOO, salt, and pepper and place cut side down on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Place in the oven for an hour and a half.
Meanwhile cut the top of the garlic head off. Drizzle with EVOO. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for the last 30 minutes of the spaghetti squash time. Remove both pans and let the squash and garlic cool slightly. Using a fork, scoop the flesh out of the squash into a bowl and set aside. Raise the oven heat to 450 degrees.
In a large pot, add the potatoes and cover with water. Slightly salt the water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain. Peel the potatoes and mash with 1/4 cup milk, butter, ricotta, and roasted garlic (removed from the skin).
In a large saute pan, heat over medium high heat a drizzle of EVOO. Add the onions, garlic, and celery. Saute for about 10 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and Worcestershire. Saute until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the breadcrumbs and remaining milk. Let sit 1 minute until the liquid is absorbed. Add the egg, lentils, basil, thyme, parsley, and pine nuts into the breadcrumbs and mix. Add the mushroom saute into the breadcrumb mixture and stir.
In a 11×9 baking dish layer the mushroom vegetable mixture, squash, and top with potatoes. Bake for 30-35 minutes, broiling for the last few minutes. Let stand 5 minutes and serve.
All the guys in my house (minus the little one who’s still on just bananas and cereal!) loved this dish! With all it’s layered flavors and hearty mixed vegetables, they didn’t even miss the meat that usually graces the bottom of the Shepherd’s Pie pan. This is a delicious dish to start your commitment to a healthier new year!
Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian