Upside-down Shepherd's Pie

Thinking about what's for dinner? Here's a recipe that is easy, filling, comforting and versatile to your needs and likes! You may have everything you need on hand and definitely use whatever veggies you like/need to use up! Also if you are short on time, DEFINITELY use already chopped or frozen veggies. ZERO judgement here!! I hate chopping onions so I will buy the frozen ones sometimes when I'm feeling extra lazy.

You can make it for 1-2 or for 10! Make it in a big casserole dish for a potluck! This is a little bit of a "wing-it" recipe but if that makes you uncomfortable try to give some amounts. I encourage you to trust your instincts and have confidence in your home-cooking! 

"Upside-down Shepherd's Pie" (vegetarian/vegan)

All amounts are for a single serving, so just double or quadruple to your needs or if you want leftovers!

1 medium-large potato (or instant potatoes!)
1/4 cup dry lentils (green, brown or French)

From here, everything is optional. Whatever spices you like, whatever veggies you have and like, whatever oil you want to use or not use. Adjust it to your taste and dietary preferences!

1/4 medium white or yellow onion, chopped, diced, whatever (Alternatively: 1-2 sliced shallots)
1 medium carrot, diced or shredded or circles (Easy tip: buy matchstick carrots and just throw them in)
1/4 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup chopped bell peppers (your choice of color)
1/4 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup chopped cabbage
Other veggie ideas: Cauliflower, celery, green beans, frozen peas or corn. Mushrooms if you're into that.
1 packet instant gravy if you want it saucier!
Any spices you like such as: Rosemary, thyme, black pepper, curry powder, nutritional yeast, salt to your taste

Cook the lentils:
In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 17 to 20 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain any excess water. You can also use broth for extra flavor. Better than Bouillon paste is great because you can keep it on hand in your fridge and only make the amount you need per meal.  

Cook the potatoes:
Here's another step where you do you! Cut up the potatoes and cover with water. You can do this in a pot on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave. Bring to a boil and cook until tender enough to mash, probably 15-20 minutes on the stove or 5-6 minutes in the microwave.
When they are cooked, drain and return to the pot to mash. I like my mashed potatoes pretty coarse but you can mix in a milk and/or butter/oil/margarine of your choice. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Cook the veggies:
Saute your onions or shallots and then add the veggies that take longer to cook, like carrots. If you are going for a saucier version, you may want to add a little broth or water. When all your veggies are cooked, add your lentils in and mix together. Or leave them separate. You are the boss of your meal!
If you are using the gravy packet, cook to packet directions and then add to the veggies and lentils. If you're feeling extra lazy, you can add the packet directly to the veggie mixture and mix it well, adding a little water at a time to the desired thickness. You might end up with lumps with this method. Note that a full gravy packet will probably work for 2-4 servings of veggies/lentils.

Plating your meal:
Put your mashed potatoes on/in a plate or bowl. If on a plate, make a little well to hold the lentils and veggies. Top with your lentils and veggies and enjoy!!

  • You can get fancier with this by topping with some fresh green onions or chives, fresh parsley, etc.
  • "Beef" it up by adding a can of chickpeas to the cooked lentils.
  • Make it creamy with some yogurt or sour cream