Sunday, 14 April 2013

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a few years. It's always changing depending on what I have on hand, but always tasty. I love doing healthier, veggie versions of traditional dishes, especially Newfoundland food, because that will always have a special place in my heart. I think Shepherd's Pie originated in Scotland, but we share many similarities in our traditional cooking.

Shepherd's Pie is one of those dishes that taste better the next day, after all the flavours have had time to  soak into everything. That's one reason why I love casseroles, it's so easy to make enough to last the whole weekend (This particular one didn't last more then 24 hours, though. It was that yummy.)

Vegan Shepherd's Pie
serves 5

3 medium potatoes, cubed (equals about 3-4 cups)
1-2 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance)
1-2 cups veggie stock
1 chopped small onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup dry TVP
1/2 cup dry red lentils (optional, but I like the extra protein)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste


1. After you have your potatoes chopped, add them to a stock pot of boiling, salted water. Simmer until tender (about 10-15 mins).

2. Meanwhile, start another pot with 2 cups of water for your red lentils. Once it's boiled, add your rinsed lentils and reduce to a simmer. They don't need to be fully cooked, they'll finish cooking while in the oven, so about 15 mins on the stove top should be fine.

3. When your potatoes are done, save some liquid at the bottom of the pot after you've drained them for your mashed potatoes. Add the butter and start mashing! I used a splash of unsweetened Almond Milk so they were a bit creamier. Salt & pepper to taste.

4. Add the chopped onion, garlic and carrot to a saute pan with a splash of oil. Cook about 10 mins, until tender and fragrant.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375. Add your tvp to the bottom of your casserole dish, and rehydrate with 1 cup boiling veggie stock. Let it sit for 5 mins, then add your onion, garlic, carrots, (drained) lentils, corn, and seasoning. Mix everything together (Or layer it if you prefer, I think it taste better when it's mixed) Add enough veggie stock so it just covers everything. The TVP and lentils will soak up a lot of the liquid, so keep that in mind.

6. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the mixture as evenly as possible. Slightly smooth it, and score with a fork. Bake about 30-40 mins, if your mashed potatoes don't have a crispy top, then broil for 5-7 mins before taking it out of the oven. Let sit for 10 mins, then enjoy with some beets and mustard pickles!

Coming up: The recipe for my favorite pickled beets!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Vegetable Curry Casserole

This is one of my go-to easy recipes. Casseroles are great when they're done right, they should have lots of different textures and flavours. You can put almost anything you want in a casserole, so they're convenient for using extra produce that's about to go off.

Vegetable Curry Casserole

2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 small yellow onion
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup veggie stock
1 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp curry paste
1/2 tsp cumin
2 garlic cloves 

It doesn't look that impressive, but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in flavour.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Sautee your chopped onion and garlic in a pan with about 1 tsp oil. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Set aside. 

2. In a stock pot mix together the coconut cream, veggie stock, potatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 mins then add the broccoli, onion and garlic. 

3. Add the pot mixture and chickpeas to your casserole dish. Make sure everything is well mixed. Add extra liquid if it doesn't cover the vegetables and chickpeas. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs (sometimes I drizzle oil over the breadcrumbs) and bake for 20-30 mins (until your breadcrumbs are crispy and veggies are tender). Let it sit for 10 mins before serving. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Spicy Green Lentils

What's not to like about lentils? They're quick cooking (30-40 mins), and there's no need to soak them over night. They're so cheap, they're practically free and they go with almost any meal. If I may quote wikipedia: "Lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp." If you have a predominately plant-based diet, you should make lentils one of your favorite foods.

Spicy Green Lentils

3/4 cup dried green lentils (red won't work for this recipe)
1/4 cup of salsa
3 cups of water 
2 garlic cloves
1.5 tps taco seasoning
.5 tps cumin
salt & pepper to taste

1: Saute your chopped garlic in some oil in a small pot. Once fragrant add the dried lentils and water. (make sure to rinse them before hand).

2: Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Add extra water while cooking if it seems low. Add seasoning and salsa and simmer for another 10 mins.  Garnish with plain yoghurt, or whatever you like.

I enjoy these lentils:
On top of spicy oven baked hash browns (bed of spinach optional)
On a taco
In a salad
Blended then spread on toast (yum!)