Category Archives: December

Our Vegan, Gluten-Free Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie is a Winter Feast

Brrrrrr! It’s getting cold outside, and we’re craving comfort food! Shepherd’s Pie is an excellent meal for these chilly nights. It’s packed full of lentils and potatoes, combined with mushrooms and spinach, and served on top of gluten-free breadcrumbs. We made this hearty offering as a main dish for our recent Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s also perfect for the December holidays. You’ll feel pleasantly full in no time, ready to brave the cold winds.

INGREDIENTS

8 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons vegan butter or margarine, such as Earth Balance
1/2 cup rice milk
Sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 1/2 cups cooked lentils with a bit of leftover liquid
2 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
1-2 tablespoons tamari (Don’t use soy sauce, as it contains wheat)
2 tablespoons seasoning blend (We used Bragg, with great results)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
fresh ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup spinach or arugula leaves
1 cup fresh gluten-free breadcrumbs
Dried oregano for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil the potatoes until soft and remove the skins. Mash the potatoes in a large bowl with the rice milk and vegan butter or margarine. Cover your mixture and set aside.

Sauté the onions in olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan. Cast iron is best. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and mushrooms and continue sautéing until they are golden and the mushrooms are cooked through, but not mushy.

Add the lentils and their liquid and simmer. Stir in the optional wine, tamari, seasoning blend, thyme, and pepper. Cook for about five minutes on medium heat, then add cornstarch. Toss in spinach and cook until the leaves are just beginning to wilt. Continue stirring until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Scatter the breadcrumbs across the bottom of a two-quart baking dish. Ladle the lentil mixture inside, smoothing it to make sure the surface is even and free from lumps. Spread the potato mixture across the top and sprinkle with a bit of additional thyme and/or oregano.

Bake in a pre-heated, 400-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. The edges of the potato mixture should be browned and slightly crispy. Cut into wedges and serve! This dish is great with a salad or a variety of other holiday or non-holiday sides. Serves about 8 hungry guests. You can refrigerate any leftovers in a secure container for up to three days. Happy winter, and be sure to stay warm out there!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts For Your Holiday Feast

Many of us have unpleasant childhood memories of being forced to eat Brussels sprouts. Such a mindset is unfortunate because, cooked properly, this cruciferous vegetable is both tasty and nutritious. Many chefs are beginning to appreciate the flavor of the oft-maligned Brussels sprout, so the tide is slowly turning in its favor. Our delicious vegan, gluten-free recipe utilizes dried cranberries, orange zest and toasted hazelnuts to create a taste sensation. You’ll be proud to showcase this offering on your Thanksgiving table. It’s crunchy yet tender, with a hint of sweetness, and packed full of vitamins. The hazelnuts add a bit of protein to our elegant side dish. Yum!

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, with excess peels and stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup roasted, chopped hazelnuts
zest of one orange

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wash the Brussels sprouts thoroughly, then cut them in half and chop off the stems. Arrange the Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet or large rectangular pan and toss them with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Place the cookie sheet or pan in oven and roast for about 20 minutes. Flip the Brussels sprouts periodically with a spatula, then return the pan to the oven. They should achieve a lovely brown color.

Meanwhile, either roast the hazelnuts in your oven in a separate pan, or fry them on your stovetop in a small amount of olive oil. Do not burn them! Remove the hazelnuts from pan and crush them into coarse chunks. Grate the skin of one orange into a bowl to make zest. Toss the hazelnuts, orange zest, and dried cranberries in with the Brussels sprouts and combine everything thoroughly.

Return the pan to your oven and roast for another 5-10 minutes. The Brussels sprouts will achieve a dark brown hue and be slightly crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. Remove your concoction from the oven and place the contents into a festive bowl. Give them another toss or two and serve!

This dish pairs well with just about anything you’d like to serve for a holiday meal — squash, pumpkin pie, lentil loaf, sweet potatoes, etc. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. It serves 4-6 guests, depending on everyone’s hunger level, and keeps well in the refrigerator for up to four days. Happy feasting, and enjoy your holiday, no matter what you celebrate.

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