This Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!) is so delicious you won’t even miss the meat! Check out the step-by-step photo instructions below the main recipe.
We try to eat vegetarian meals a few times a week, for our budget, our health and the planet. At first this was a bit more of a struggle – we had to make it a point to schedule and think up a meal for “Vegetarian Thursday”. Now it’s second nature – our weeks naturally just have one, two or even three meals that are vegetarian.
I really love meat (hello… I really love FOOD). I honestly don’t think I could ever give it up all together. But I like the challenge of eating meatless meals on a semi-regular basis, and I like knowing that this healthy habit often benefits our budget too.
Lately I’ve really been wanting to experiment with lentils. They’re super cheap, easy to keep in your pantry, and extremely healthy. For some reason a vegetarian ranch shepherd’s pie using lentils instead of the traditional ground beef seemed like the best idea ever. And guess what? It was DELICIOUS. It was so good we ate double helpings of it. And I honestly don’t think we missed the meat at all!
In my mind, that’s a vegetarian meal success 🙂
Step-by-step photo instructions after the recipe.
Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!) – Step-by-Step Instructions
Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!) Ingredients
Put 2 cups of pre-soaked lentils in a large pot with 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. I used chicken broth, since I’m mainly trying to eat some meatless meals – I’m not a vegetarian. Vegetable broth would be great too. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.
When lentils are cooked, drain them over a bowl in order to save the broth for later in the recipe.
Meanwhile, peel around 2 lbs of potatoes and cut them into chunks. I would say this is about 4 large potatoes or 6 medium potatoes. Cover them with water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are cooked (you can easily poke them with a fork), about 15 minutes.
While potatoes (and/or lentils) are cooking, chop 2 onions and fry in a large skillet, pot or wok, with 2 tablespoons of butter. After onions start to soften add 5 minced cloves of garlic.
Add drained lentils, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt and stir well to combine. Add broth that was drained out of lentils and allow mixture to simmer until it thickens slightly.
Pour into the bottom of a medium sized (2.5 – 3 quart) casserole dish.
Cover with a layer of frozen peas and carrots. You could also peel and chop your own vegetables for this step but you would have to cook the carrots slightly or chop them quite small. I opted to save time with an affordable frozen substitute.
When potatoes are cooked, drain them well and roughly mash them. Add1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream, 2 tablespoons of butter 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of dry ranch seasoning. If you don’t have ranch seasoning you can easily make some using this recipe. If you’d rather use ranch dressing, substitute it to taste. Use a hand mixer to cream the potatoes until they are light and creamy.
Spread potatoes on top of vegetable layer. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until heated through. Don’t overbake.
Do you ever try to eat meatless meals? Let me know in the comment section below!