Okay, I wish I could say I have it all together. With a crazy mix of different tastes and needs, I have lost my way to eating healthy more often than not. It is not easy to eat healthily and intuitively, if I am cooking three different types of meals for dinner – or if the husband drives me crazy with his set in stone ways of how things are supposed to be – well, the world doesn’t work like that.
But, I am always willing to try new things and expand my horizon, which includes some hits and misses, sometimes more misses than hits, driving forward. Well, not like there is much of choice, settling into feeling miserable – settling into anything – has never been my style. I simply need more!
So, we decided to experiment with food hauls, meal prep boxes, and morphing recipes that we found on the internet (I say we, because my daughter is an active participant in us getting it together – and I truly appreciate her for that, and so much more), just like the Vegan Shepherds Pie below. As a non-vegan, I never understood the fascination with fewer spices, or less salt – unless it is necessary due to dietary restrictions that come from illnesses in a lot of these recipes. Now, I am not a proponent to salting everything to death, in fact, I probably use so little salt in my day to day diet, that you could consider it restricted – but not on purpose. If I think something needs salt, I will add it, if it doesn’t fit with my taste buds, I won’t. Practicing semi-intuitive eating works for me.
An awesome follower of mine on Instagram asked me to share this recipe after I posted some pictures, and I must admit, that instead of being an original recipe, it is a mix up of recipes my daughter and I found. First of all, we both don’t like peas – so we used corn instead, we added vegan Worcestershire sauce, more spices, and used canned lentils and corn for the creation – yes, canned, I know, I can already feel some people look at me with disdain. Well, shoot me, I am crazy busy every day, so I take as many short cuts as I can – at least I used the organic kind. Because this recipe has components from too many different sites, I will not give credit to them, considering that no original recipe is recognizable within that thing.vegan
What I am trying to encourage you to do with recipes is to make them your own, to not follow into the rut of having to do what other people are doing, but forge your own way that suits you, and your family. If you don’t like an ingredient, skip it, if you need more spices, then add your favorites, and if you want to take a short cut because you are pressed for time, then do so with pride. Meals should not only nourish us properly, but be an enjoyable experience, both in the preparation and in the consumption.
A word of caution: I am not a food photographer – obviously. I make real food, so my food looks real and most importantly tastes good to us. There are plenty of people on Instagram and beyond who are awesome at taking really pretty food pictures – I am not one of them.
Vegan Sheppard’s Pie
You will need:
1 can of organic lentils – or 1 1/2 cups of cooked lentils
1 can of corn or peas if you prefer
1 1/2 cups of diced carrots
1 half onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
thyme to taste
paprika to taste (I prefer Hungarian paprika, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of olive oil
1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock – I use Better Than Bouillion
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
a splash of rice milk
1 tablespoon of vegan butter or margarine (we love Earth Balance)
Boil potatoes, until soft, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the minced onion in a dash of olive oil, until soft, but not brown. Add vegetable stock, and carrots to the pan, and cook on medium for 10 minutes. Add drained cans of lentils and corn to the pan, and add all of the spices to taste, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the carrots are really tender.
Drain potatoes, and put them into a bowl. Add rice milk and vegan butter, and use a hand mixer or a kitchen machine to mash potatoes, until they get a creamy consistency. Set aside.
Place the veggie mix into baking dishes. I use this small glass oven safe containers because I can also use them to store the food afterward.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the veggie mix, evenly, and place into the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the top begins to brown (if your broiler works). Alternatively, you can brown the top of the meal with a food torch, which is especially pretty if you are serving guests. You can also add a sprinkle of paprika on the top to pretty it up, but I was feeding an additional person who tends to have stomach issues, so I skipped it this time.
Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to 7 days – which makes this a great addition to any meal prep plan!
For a free printable document of this recipe click on this link!
Question: How do you customize your food? Do you follow recipes to the smallest detail, or do you improvise, like we do? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.