Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Celery Root-Potato Topping

The ultimate in comfort food: shepherd’s pie! I decided to making this dish entirely vegan, opting for lentils and walnuts instead of meat and nutritional yeast to impart an umami flavour punch. Loaded with garlic, thyme, and super flavourful veggies….you won’t even notice this dish happens to be entirely plant based!

It takes a bit of time to put together, though you’ll be able to enjoy it many meals over. Pop some in a container for a delicious workweek lunch (that your coworkers will be jealous of!), or throw some in the freezer for a quick reheatable meal in the future!

Ingredients:

For the base:
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced small (~2.5 cups)
1-227g container cremini mushrooms, woody stems removed, caps diced (~4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp dried thyme 
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp low-sodium tamari 
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts 
1 cup frozen peas
2-19oz cans lentils, drained and rinsed 
3 tbsp BBQ sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste 
Pinch of red chili flakes, optional 
2 tbsp chopped parlsey, for garnish (if desired)

For the topping:
4 cups chopped celery root
2 cups chopped white-fleshed sweet potato (or regular potato)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp milk of choice

Directions:
1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt along with the celery root and sweet potato. Cook until very tender, about 15-20 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, prepare base layer. In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and mushrooms and cook, stirring periodically, until softened. Add a splash of water to the pan if it gets too dry. 

3) Add the garlic, thyme, nutritional yeast and tamari and stir to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the walnuts, peas, lentils and BBQ sauce and stir to combine. Cook until heated through, then transfer to a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Mash the mixture slightly with a potato masher right in the baking dish. This will break down the lentils slightly and help the mixture to stick together. 

4) Drain the celery root and potato and transfer to a food processor. Add the nutritional yeast and garlic. Pulse the mixture, adding 1-2 tbsp of milk if needed, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Feel free to mash by hand if you’d prefer. Add in an even layer atop the lentil mixture.

5) Preheat oven to 425F. Bake for about 30 minutes, until heated through and browning at the edges. I turned my oven to broil for about 5 minutes at the end to help the topping brown. 

6) Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.    

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