Category Archives: lentils

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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Ease Into Autumn With Vegan, Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf

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Fall is a nostalgic time, when we long for familiar comfort food. Nothing is more filling and heartier than meatloaf. However, if you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, like we are, you’ll want to forgo meat in favor of this savory lentil loaf. It’s moist, satisfying, and, frankly, much tastier than the carnivorous version. Try it, we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ cups brown lentils, washed
3 ½ cups water (or vegetable broth)
2 small onions (try red for an additional kick)
2-4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt (NOT the iodized version)
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
2 cups cooked short-grain, brown rice
¼ cup ketchup or barbeque sauce (check labels to make sure there is no soy sauce, which contains wheat)
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning (try fresh oregano and basil)
Additional ¼ cup ketchup or barbeque sauce

INSTRUCTIONS
Boil lentils in water or vegetable broth for half hour until they are soft enough to mash with a fork. Drain them and pour into large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, fry onions and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Your kitchen will smell wonderful, and you’re just getting started!

Mash lentils thoroughly with fork or spatula, then pour the onion/garlic mixture into the bowl with them. Add the spices, rice, ¼ cup ketchup or barbeque sauce, and the additional olive oil, and stir until ingredients become a savory mash. Grease a large baking pan with more olive oil and spread mixture inside. Spoon a layer of ketchup or barbeque sauce across the top of the lentil loaf, making sure it is distributed evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Every 20 minutes, briefly remove pan from oven, and spoon or baste an additional thin layer of ketchup or barbeque sauce across the top of the loaf. Serve with your favorite steamed vegetables, a salad, and/or a loaf of gluten-free bread. This amazing dish serves at least 6 people, unless everyone is very hungry. Once you start eating it, you’ll find it quite hard to stop.

The loaf keeps well in the refrigerator and makes a nice lunch or reheated snack at home or in the office. It stays moist and fresh for several days. You’ll be glad you took the time to prepare this amazingly inexpensive, delicious meal. Welcome to autumn!

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