This ain’t your mama’s Shepherd’s Pie. Well, hold on, Fact: an actual Shepherd’s Pie is filled with lamb. Another Fact: This recipe is filled with lentils, in Fact it is also flavored with Italian spices and herbs which is (Fact) not in an actual Shepherd’s Pie. Hence the quotation marks in the recipe; hence the vegan/Italian part. Let us agree that it’s not really the name of the recipe but what is inside the recipe that counts most. Do we have a deal? I mean, if I were an Italian vegan, this is the kind of Shepherd’s Pie I would want to indulge in. Heck, I’m neither but I still want in so let us eat! (<–the truest fact of the paragraph).
All these baked goods recipes as of late and I almost forgot how to cook. Truth of the matter is, cooking is an easier task for me than baking. I rarely follow a recipe when I cook because it’s much easier for me to throw a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and poof! Food is formed. Baking is a more methodical procedure for me. It’s almost like an architectural project: Tons of blueprints, formulas, pontifications, and finally execution.
I can actually relax when I cook. When I bake, I’m sweating through my shirt, biting my nails while praying to gluten-free vegan gods that they hear my prayers. Ready at any moment to sacrifice my life for one beautifully-domed muffin.
- 1 c. green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 c. water
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme), I recommend using fresh
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ¼ c. green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
- ¼ c. red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes, preferably BPA and salt-free
- ¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp. salt (adjust to preferences)
- 1 18 oz. tube of premade Polenta (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 2 qt. dish, 8x8 dish, or 4 large (no larger than 14 oz) ramekins.
- Bring the lentils in the water to a boil. Simmer covered on low-medium heat for 15 minutes or until tender.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the shallot and garlic together until translucent. Add the herbs and red pepper flakes.
- Add the bell peppers into the mix and sauté for another minute.
- Toss the can of tomatoes, parsley and salt. Mix until well-combined and heated through.
- Place in your dish of choice (see above). Pour the cooked polenta on top of the lentil mix. You should have a nice thick layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the polenta is nicely heated through.
- Season with salt if needed and garnish with fresh parsley.
Thankfully this Vegan Italian “Shepherd’s” Pie recipe comes together in a quick 35 minutes and no prayers are necessary, except maybe to thank the Universe for such a tasty meal. And that my friends, is a Fact.
Happy cooking, friends!