My cooking “window” has shifted around here. Sienna used to take three long naps every day and usually, it was during the third nap that I would tiptoe my way around the kitchen to make dinner or work on a recipe that had been floating around my mind.
We’re down to two naps and the one that Sienna dropped was my “cooking nap” so I have been cooking at different times of day now. A couple of weeks ago we were in this transition phase where Sienna was going through some developmental milestones and being held a lot was what she needed at the time. Right now, it looks like she is able to play by herself for some time and although she still kind of freaks out when she sees me walk away, I don’t necessarily have to be holding her. As long as she can be seeing me or John then she’s good for a bit. Lately, our early morning alert time is either used up on a walk or in the kitchen. Sienna no longer slouches in the bumbo so she can just sit comfortably and watch anything going on in the kitchen. This pie took about one hour to make including prep time and for the entire time Sienna did great just observing what I did and listening to me chatter about cooking. Also, she definitely wanted in on these mashed potatoes:
She seems to be very interested in food these days and I couldn’t be happier about that. Of course my dream would be to raise a little foodie who loves to spend time in the kitchen with me but I know toddlers get through a “picky” phase when it comes to food so we’ll see how that goes. There is only so much I can control. For now, I am trying to expose different flavors to her palate and she seems happy about it. I set aside some mashed potatoes and stuffing without salt and pureed it for her so she could try the pie as well. I’m hoping she likes it! Lentils are high in protein and iron so this is a great option for infants.
This pie is such a hearty and delicious alternative for dinner. The ingredient list is also pretty simple so it’s definitely not an intimidating recipe. Leftovers can be reheated either in the oven or in the microwave. And just for fun, here’s a photo of my other kitchen helper – he keeps the floors and he loves sunbathing in the morning.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie – Serves 6 – Vegan – Gluten Free
For the Mash:
- 5 golden yukon potatoes
- 2 tablespoons of earth balance
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Stuffing:
- 1.5 cups of uncooked green lentils
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 cup of frozen corn
- 1 medium carrot – diced
- 1 medium sweet onion – diced
- 2 garlic cloves – finely minced
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut the potatoes in half and place in a large pot. Cover with water and boil for about 20 to 30 minutes – until the potatoes are cooked enough to mash. Drain the water and move potatoes over to a bowl where you can mash them with a fork or potato masher. Add earth balance, salt and pepper and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large saucepan (I used the same large pot used with the potatoes as our saucepan isn’t big enough) sautee the carrots, garlic and onion with the olive oil. Cook enough to make the onion translucent – about 5 minutes. Add the broth, lentils, tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper (I did about a teaspoon o salt and a little less pepper). Bring to a boil and them simmer for about 30 minutes, just make sure the lentils are cooked through but not as much that they become mushy.
Add the corn and peas to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Grease a square pan with either earth balance or olive oil. Add stuffing into the pan and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for about 15 minutes – until the potatoes are golden.
Cool before serving – if you serve while it is too hot it will most likely be runny and not thick enough to hold.