When you were in school…I’m talking like, elementary school here…did you ever have to fill out those “about me” surveys that would ask you all of your favorite things? Well. I did. I don’t remember much about them. But I do remember one. One questionnaire that I was filling out, stressing over the answers because, let’s face it….my indecisiveness started young. As I sat there contemplating my feelings on colors, seasons, animals…I came to “What is your favorite food?” Ha! That one was easy peasy! SHEPHERD’S PIE!
And I still adore it to this day.
However, Shepherd’s Pie as I knew and loved as I penned that answer so long ago…it may not be exactly what you are thinking of. See, there are multiple meals that I grew up with that I had no idea my family made different. Then when I hit 19 and moved across the country and started cooking for myself I suddenly found myself asking questions like “what do you mean you don’t put veggies in your spaghetti sauce?” and “you really don’t know what a German pancake is?”, or “you don’t put Cheez-Its in your scrambled eggs?!” Or the question that is the subject of this post: “You don’t put taco seasoning in your Shepherd’s Pie?!”
Yes. You can mull that over for a minute. You may not know how to feel about that, but let me tell you…it is GENIUS! The flavors are PHENOMENAL!
Now I am grown up and trying to eat super healthy. But the little girl in me still loves Shepherd’s Pie. So I decided there MUST be a way to still enjoy this flawless flavor combo without the compromise on health. We gotta kick out the starchies. And why not try and make it meatless but still satisfying for all my veggie friends out there?! It was a challenge I had to accept. So here you go. Welcome to my (very successful) experiment!
So, here’s what you need:
- 1 head cauliflower
- 6 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Parm
- 1/4 C Almond Milk
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 lb Dry Lentils
- 3 C Frozen Mixed Veggies (Or fresh if you want to go that route. I was just using up what was in the freezer)
- 1/2 Onion, Chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Recipe Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 2 Cans Tomato Sauce (The small ones)
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese (To taste)
And here’s how you do it!
- Preheat oven to 350*
- Have you made mashed cauliflower before?! Well you’re about to! Chop cauliflower into small florets and place in a pot of water so they are covered. Bring to a boil and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Cook lentils according to package instructions. You should only need to boil them about 15 minutes, but it may depend on the type of lentil you ended up with. Just make sure they are beginning to get tender.
- Prepare your taco seasoning.
- When cauliflower is tender, drain it and quickly add to a blender or food processor.
- Add butter, parmesan, almond milk, and salt/pepper to taste and blend until smooth and creamy. It should look just like mashed taters.
- When lentils are beginning to become tender, drain and set aside.
- Melt a couple Tablespoons of Coconut Oil or butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add chopped onion and cook until tender. Add garlic.
- Add mixed veggies and cook about 5 more minutes, or until veggies are also tender.
- Dump lentils in and stir to disperse. Cook an additional minute or so.
- Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce and stir in. Reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Carefully spread mashed cauliflower evenly over lentil mixture. Top with shredded cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Slide into preheated oven and cook until cheese is melty and buttery and everything is warm through, 10-15 minutes.
- Enjoy my version of a family favorite!
Drain cauliflower and place hot in a blender or food processor. Add butter, parmesan, almond milk, salt, and pepper and whiz until you get the perfect rich and creamy texture!
Make sure your veggies and your taco seasoning is prepped.
Melt a few Tbsps of butter or coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet.
Add onions and sauté until tender.
Add mixed veggies…
How great are those colors, eh? Cook for about 5 minutes, or until everything is tender.
Toss in your lentils and stir…
Add in home made taco seasoning…
And tomato sauce…
Stir in. Reduce heat and let it simmer gently for a few minutes, or however long you have until dinner time.
Evenly spread your mashed cauliflower over top of the lentil mixture.
Top with shredded cheese according to your taste and dairy convictions. 😉 Oh and don’t forget a few cranks of fresh black pepper!
Slide into your 350* oven and cook until melty bubbly goodness ensues!
Is your mouth watering yet?! My husband LOVED this, and he is a serious carnivore. He told me that the taco seasoning along with the lentils gives the illusion that you are scarfing down beef!!! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! Boom baby!!! I hope you enjoy!