This cozy vegan shepherd’s pie has some serious borscht vibes, thanks to the combination of beets, potatoes, and other deep, wintery flavors. A shepherd’s pie is a great thing to make on the weekend, since it’s a bit of a project, which will set you up for several hearty meals throughout the week. This version is packed with vegetables, lentils, mushrooms, and has a nice kick from the addition of balsamic vinegar. Hope you’ll give it a try sometime during this final stretch of winter!
Beet Shepherd’s Pie with Balsamic, Lentils, and Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan/baking dish
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 1 celery rib, sliced
- sea salt
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
- 1 lb beets, peeled and finely cubed
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
- green onions or other fresh herbs, for garnishing (optional)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add enough oil to generously coat the bottom. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pot, along with a pinch of salt. Saute until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, and tomato paste, stir to incorporate. Add the mushrooms, along with another pinch of salt and pepper to taste, saute for 8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned. Add the lentils, beets, bay leaves if using, 4 cups of water, and more salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 35-40 minutes, or until the beets and lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If the mixture appears too soupy, leave the lid askew and simmer for a few more minutes, to help the liquid evaporate. Discard the bay leaves, taste for salt and adjust if needed. Turn off the heat and mix in the balsamic vinegar.
- Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in well salted water until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, milk, and more salt and pepper to taste. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Prepare a 2 quart baking dish by oiling it with the olive oil. Add the beet and lentil mixture to the baking dish. Top with dollops of the mashed potatoes and gently spread the potatoes over the beet mixture with the back of a spoon. Make a few swooshes in the potatoes with the spoon and drizzle with more olive oil. Put the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until everything is warmed through, and the potatoes are slightly golden on top. Let the shepherd’s pie sit for about 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, if using, and serve warm.