Lentil Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie feat. Dijon Mashed Potatoes

We’re starting to get some lasting snow and ice on the ground. That means it’s time to start cooking up what I like to call hibernation food—warm, hearty dishes to fend off the cold and build up a sturdy winter bod! (Any excuse to feast during this time of year right?)

IMG_4114.png

This shepherd’s pie is a great starting point for comfort food and a generally swell vegetarian option. It can work with adding any spare vegetables you’ve got around in your fridge if you sautee them into the filling.

The real MVP here is the creamy warmth of the dijon mashed potatoes. The tang of the mustard cuts the earthy quality of the mushroom lentil filling with contrast and a buttery mouthfeel.

…I’m going to stop writing like Martha Stewart now and let you at this recipe.

Lentil Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie feat. Dijon Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6
IMG_4087.png

For the Potatoes
4-5 medium yukon gold potatoes
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Milk (non-dairy OR dairy is fine)
Sea salt
Butter (optional)

For the Filling
2 c. brown lentils, cooked
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 package (227g) brown or white mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

2-3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1/3 c. red wine (optional)
1 c. vegetable stock (optional)
1 tbsp. arrowroot flour or cornstarch (optional)

1. Prepare the potatoes by quartering them and putting them in a large pot. Cover with water, salt generously. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat and cook until fork tender. Drain the water and mash the potatoes vigorously. Stir in mustard and splash with milk, mixing to a thick, desired consistency. Add butter and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. In a large pan, sautée the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until slightly translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and slightly shrunken, stirring occasionally.

3. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the celery and carrots, stirring until slightly softened. Now it’s time to add the lentils! If using the canned variety, drain and rinse them before adding, stirring to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Now add the soy sauce and red wine to the lentil mixture, stirring until it has evaporated. Add your peas and stir through, fresh or frozen. Taste the mixture to check your seasonings.

5. Optional step: if you want a thicker consistency for your filling, whisk 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour or cornstarch into 1 c. vegetable stock. Pour into the pan, turning up the heat to simmer and activate. (If using arrowroot, whisk quickly!)

6. Pour the lentil mixture and spread evenly into a deep, square ovenproof dish— roughly 10 x 10. Cover the mixture with the dijon mash, spreading evenly. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are browned on top–about 20 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes to let the ingredients “settle.” Serve and enjoy!

Advertisements

Tex-Mex Vegetable Bowls feat. Spicy Quinoa

The best thing about bowls is either their no-frills name or their simplicity to prepare—it’s a toss up. A few ingredients can combine to make a satisfying meal, as long as you follow a few rules. The perfect bowl will have a grain, a protein, a few vegetables, a jock, a rebel and a recluse.

…Wait. That last part was just the script of The Breakfast Club.
IMG_3769
While this is not technically a breakfast bowl, I approve of any and all veggies in the a.m., as per Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s simple 1-2-3 rule for a healthier microbiome and general wellness. (TL;DR: eat one vegetable at lunch, two at lunch, three at dinner.)

This bowl is more than prepared to meet your greens n’ veg needs. It’s got kale and romaine lettuce, onions, peppers, and fresh tomatoes. It’s got fluffy quinoa simmered in taco seasoning spices… That last one isn’t a vegetable, but it’s so delicious it warranted mention.
IMG_3756
The best part is that you can mix in whatever veggies you’ve got in your fridge or cupboard. Sautee fresh or frozen corn in with the peppers, sub your lettuce for spinach, or top with your favourite salsa. You can even make it vegan by omitting the yogurt and/or cheese! Don’t you forget about cheese.

Tex-Mex Vegetable Bowls feat. Spicy Quinoa
Serves 2
IMG_3778

1 cup quinoa, rinsed*
1 tbsp. chili powder**
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1 can beans, black or kidney

1-2 hearts of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/3 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream

Optional toppings:
Salsa
Jalapeno hot sauce
Cheddar cheese
Green onions
Tortilla chips

1. Rinse your quinoa and put it in a medium saucepan, sprinkling with all of the spices. Turn heat to medium, stirring the quinoa to toast it for about a minute.

2. Add 2 cups water. Cover with a lid and let the quinoa gently simmer for about 30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Taste and add additional salt or chili powder if needed. Set aside.

3. In a medium frying pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Fry garlic until golden. Add onion and stir until soft, about two minutes. Add in the bell pepper and any other veggies, tossing them in now and sauteeng until soft. Add in the beans, stirring until warmed through.

4. Add in the tomato paste, stirring to to distribute with the veggies, until everything is warm and mixed together! Season with salt, pepper, and additional spices from the list above if desired. Remove from heat.

5. Assemble your bowls! Start with a good handful or two of lettuce and greens. Add 1/2 c.  each the quinoa and the spiced tomato/bean mixture, and sprinkle with diced tomato.

6. Top with your extras! This time around, I used Greek yogurt, jalapeno hot sauce, a little extra old cheddar and green onions… (Pro tip: take your Instagram photo first, and then mix everything together for more delicious bites!)

* This will make more cooked quinoa than you need, so get ready to add it to salads, tacos, soups—the possibilities are tasty!

**  You can use a packet of taco seasoning to sub for all of the spices in a pinch. Cook the quinoa with half, and add more after cooking as needed! Just look out for sodium!

Cashew Coconut Curry with Crispy Tofu

It’s been an anxious week, y’know? The kind where being mindful is interrupted by just being in your skin—a discomfort with existence. When anxiety haunts me for no particular reason, I cling to the familiar—wearing a favourite t-shirt, watching an old reliable movie, or cooking a well-loved dish.

Cooking is an amazing escape. It engages your senses, and you usually need focus and finesse to make it happen. Meal prep is almost active meditation, and this curry adds a layer of velvet to that feeling. It’s spicy, creamy, and warming, especially as August runs head first for September and cooler nights are on their way.

I’ve been cooking this recipe—and variations of it—for years. The original was one of my favourites against the damp in Scotland, and I’ve tweaked it and changed it many times—I even adapted it when I was doing the Whole30. It’s simple, crave-worthy, and always open to interpretation. Sub chicken for tofu, forget the tomato paste and use canned tomatoes, or add other veggies for a finish. Don’t be afraid to branch out and trust your instincts—you’ll be noshing a delicious bowl of comfort in no time. (Legal disclaimer: it will actually take several minutes.)

Cashew Coconut Curry with Crispy Tofu
Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest
Serves 4-6

1 package firm tofu*
2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 can tomato paste (6 oz., 180 ml)
1 can coconut milk (14 oz., 400ml)
3/4 c. roasted cashews
1/2 c. water

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp. dried ginger
2 tbsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2-1 tsp. turmeric
Salt (to taste)

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
2 generous handfuls baby spinach (optional)

For serving:
2 c. cooked brown basmati rice
Naan bread

1. Press tofu by wrapping the drained block in paper towel and setting some heavy books on top for 30 minutes. After this, cut the tofu into 2 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. of coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Spread the tofu in an even layer in the pan, turning when each side is golden brown.  Set tofu pieces aside on paper towel, reserving the skillet.

2. In a blender or food processor, add cashews and cover with coconut milk, running until combined. Then add tomato paste and water, blending until smooth. Set aside.

3. Add the second tablespoon of oil to the skillet from step 1. Sautee onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the spices and stir to toast them, about one minute.

4. Add the coconut cashew blend to the pan, stirring to distribute the spices. Add salt to taste. Raise heat to simmer. Stir in broccoli florets and then reduce heat slightly, allowing them to cook for a 3-5 minutes to desired tenderness.

5. Stir in tofu cubes until evenly coated and warmed through. If adding spinach, stir it in here, cooking until slightly wilted. Remove from heat.

6. Serve with fluffy basmati rice or delicious naan bread! Enjoy!

* If you have a soy allergy or sensitivity, this recipe is also great with paneer or chicken!