A dish I have seen come by now and then but one that I have never made or tasted. Time to do so! My slow cooker Shepherd’s Pie is made of lentils, lots of veggies and slow roasted root vegetables to make a creamy mash. Always in search of warming comfort foods to try for my family, ways to add more veggies to our daily diet.
I have made this Shepherds Pie in my slow cooker but it can be done in a regular oven. I have become a big fan of this way of food preparation because it gives me the feeling of being the closest possible to high raw food while eating warm, cooked dishes. The temperature is the key, the food cooked on a low setting is below boiling point which is a huge point for preserving nutrients. The power and heat with which your food is cooked has a big effect on our health. And slow cookers are so convenient! You put ingredients in the pot and dinner is ready when you come home. Next time recipe for a warm, comforting breakfast, but first let’s do this!
Wonderful sweet veggies with all the flavor kept inside. Also great as a base for a blended soup or salad.
Served with the last green leaves from the garden. Great with a huge green salad.
Ingredients for 4 to 6 portions of this delicious slow cooker Shepherd’s Pie are,
For the mash …
- 4 small parsnips, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces, about 350 grams or 3/4 of a pound
- 150 grams of Jerusalem artichokes/sun-chokes or celeriac
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, I used the purple skinned ones with the white flesh to keep the mash light colored
- 2 tsp. coconut- or olive oil or water
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, optional
- 1 Tbsp. brown rice- or maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. pink or sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 cup almond milk or any plant based milk of choice
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast ( optional )
For the lentil layer,
- 150 grams of shiitake mushrooms, cut in stripes
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
- 2 medium carrots, cubed
- 1 big onion, cut fine
- 1 and 1/2 cup dry lentils soaked in plenty of water with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar, cooked until soft if you are not using a slow cooker
- a big handful finely chopped kale, about 150 grams
- 1 Tbsp. of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. of dried
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock, yeast free if possible
- 1 small zucchini in small cubes
- pink salt and black pepper to taste
To make the mash add all the ingredients except the cauliflower, milk and parsley to the pot of your slow cooker. This can also be done in an ovenproof dish and bake for 45 to 60 minutes on 200C / 400F, depending on the size of your vegetables. The slow cooker will do this in 6 to 8 hours on low. Stir ones half way through if possible. I have made my vegetables the day before so they were ready to use when needed. One note on the slow cooker, every time you open the lid you can add up to 15 minutes of cooking time so keep it closed to speed up cooking.
I steamed the cauliflower until slightly tender and added in a food processor along with the roasted vegetables, almond milk and olive oil to make it nice and creamy. Season to taste with pink salt and black pepper. Add the finely chopped parsley and the mash is ready to be enjoyed like this, as a side dish or as the topping to our shepherds pie.
Fry the onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp. water until they become soft but not brown, about 5-7 minutes. My crock pot can also be used on the stove so I always fry the onions in there before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add the shiitake mushrooms, carrots, lentils, kale, zucchini, fresh thyme, stock and season it with pink salt and black pepper. This can cook for about 6 to 8 hours on a low setting. Just when it is almost done you ca add the mash on top of the lentils and let it warm through for about a half a hour or so. This dish makes a great freezer meal for when more time challenged!
You can also prepare the lentils and vegetables on a stove. The same procedure, bake the onions, add the other ingredients, bake for a few minutes, add the stock and cook until soft. Scoop it in an ovenproof dish, cover it with the mash and bake on 375F / 180C for about half an hour, cover with foil to keep it from burning.
One close-up. The mash also makes a great side dish with a nice nut- or bean burger and salad.
And a little note on sun-chokes ….
Something new I actually had not bought before …
Jerusalem Artichokes or sun-chokes are these strange looking root veggies. They have a sweet nutty taste that is similar to water chestnuts and you can eat them raw or cooked. Delicious raw, crunchy and sweet, cooked, a creamy, very sweet, a texture similar to potatoes. Jerusalem artichokes provide a number of vitamins and minerals and can act as a pre-biotic thanks to the high amount of inuline. Inuline goes through the body without being digested BUT it forms a great meal to the friendly bacteria in our intestines, for these benefits they should be consumed raw. Great for restoring balance in our guts. For some this can form flatulence so try it out first!
Sun-chokes have a great effect on blood sugar due to their richness in fiber. Fall is the perfect moment to try them, when they are fresh and peak in nutrients. They should be hard and crunchy, no soft spots. Lovely grated in salads or added as a sweetener in brownies.
According to my aunt, great in gardening, you can put a few in the ground and they grow like crazy! Tall plants with yellow flowers and in the fall these nutrient rich roots under the ground.
Thank you for reading,