Farmer's Pie (AKA Lentil Shepherd's Pie)

Farmer's Pie

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Shepherd's pie is named for the individual who's job it is to guard and take care of the sheep.  This pie has absolutely nothing to do with sheep.  There is no lamb or mutton, so why would I call it "Shepherd's" pie?  I guess I could have called it Sheperdless Pie, but I liked the idea of Farmer's Pie.  Maybe that name resonated with me because it moves the focus away from a central ingredient (meat) to the whole dish.  The potatoes, peas, corn, lentils, etc. all would have needed to be cultivated by a farmer, so that's who deserves to be celebrated in the name of this dish.


Anyway, by any name, this recipe is hearty and filling in addition to healthy, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free.  I used ground flax seed to thicken the base instead of flour and I used olive oil and some reserved cooking liquid from the potatoes, so this dish is very allergy friendly.  There is no wheat, soy, egg, dairy, nut, or peanut in this recipe making a great option for a party or potluck.

You could use any recipe for mashed potatoes.  All you need to do is boil 6 cups of potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  When they are fork tender, you strain them (however, save about a cup of cooking liquid) and transfer them to a large bowl.  Add in a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, and a TBSP of olive oil.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Add in the cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time (I only needed 1/4 cup, but you might need more) until you get a nice creamy consistency.

I used frozen green beans and peas and canned corn (salt free) because that's what I had on hand.  You could use fresh raw ingredients, of course, if you have them.  If you decide to use raw, I would add them into the mix at the same time as the carrots and celery so they get a chance to cook.


Serves: 6-8 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil (plus extra for greasing the casserole dish)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid from the lentils (you could also use vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or salt free canned)
  • 2 TBSP ground flax meal
  • 1 TBSP parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • pinch salt
  • dash pepper
  • mashed potatoes, 2-3 cups or enough to cover the top

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a saute pan, heat your oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, stirring frequently, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until they begin to look translucent. 
  3. Add the garlic, and cook another minute.
  4. Add in the celery and carrots, and cook stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Remove from heat.  Add in the green beans, peas, lentils, corn, flax meal, reserved cooking liquid, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Stir well, to combine.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a greased casserole dish.  Top the mixture with the mashed potatoes.  
  7. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

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