Low Carb Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (With a Southwestern Twist!)

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!

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Prepare your taco seasoning.
  5. When cauliflower is tender, drain it and quickly add to a blender or food processor.
  6. Add butter, parmesan, almond milk, and salt/pepper to taste and blend until smooth and creamy.  It should look just like mashed taters.
  7. When lentils are beginning to become tender, drain and set aside.
  8. Melt a couple Tablespoons of Coconut Oil or butter in a large cast iron skillet.  Add chopped onion and cook until tender.  Add garlic.
  9. Add mixed veggies and cook about 5 more minutes, or until veggies are also tender.
  10. Dump lentils in and stir to disperse.  Cook an additional minute or so.
  11. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce and stir in.  Reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes.
  12. Carefully spread mashed cauliflower evenly over lentil mixture.  Top with shredded cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.
  13. Slide into preheated oven and cook until cheese is melty and buttery and everything is warm through, 10-15 minutes.
  14. Enjoy my version of a family favorite!

Peectures!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 1Start your cauliflower boiling!  Simultaneously if possible, get your lentils boiling too!  Both should take about 15 minutes, but check for tenderness part way through!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 2

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!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 3See?  I don’t know if you can tell here, but it is almost exactly the texture of mashed potatoes!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 5Make sure your veggies and your taco seasoning is prepped.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 6

Melt a few Tbsps of butter or coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 7

Add onions and sauté until tender.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 8Add garlic and stir in.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 9

Add mixed veggies…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 10

How great are those colors, eh?  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until everything is tender.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 11

Toss in your lentils and stir…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 12

Pretty!

Add in home made taco seasoning…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 13

And tomato sauce…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 14

Stir in.  Reduce heat and let it simmer gently for a few minutes, or however long you have until dinner time.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 15

Yummmmmmmmm!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 16

Evenly spread your mashed cauliflower over top of the lentil mixture.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 17

Top with shredded cheese according to your taste and dairy convictions. 😉  Oh and don’t forget a few cranks of fresh black pepper!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 18

Slide into your 350* oven and cook until melty bubbly goodness ensues!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 19

YES.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 20

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!

Deliciously Roasted Carrots

There was a short period in time when Mr. Rodgers and I had watched the documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and we got all fired up to eat only vegetables.  We were going to be super veggie freaks!  In that short amount of time I went crazy on Pinterest and was searching out any veggie recipe I could find…and being ever so slightly OCD, I had to organize my Pinterest account!  So I made a board for every vegetable I could think about, and then spent hours finding pins to go in them.  Well we quickly got over the “just veggie” stage cause we really love meat, and have found that it really is pretty good for you 😉  However, I still use all those boards and pins that I found on my veggie pin binge!  But months later I was exploring those boards and realized that something seemed to be missing!!

What  could be missing?!  I had broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, squash, bell peppers, asparagus and beans….what more could a girl need?  Then it dawned on me!  Carrots!  Why the heck don’t I have a board for carrots?!  Oh, I know why…I always immediately and exclusively think of carrots as something you eat raw.  My little Grandma Maudie would be so ashamed, because she would cook us a down home Oklahoma style feast every Sunday, and she would ALWAYS have carrots cooking in butter in her nice big cast iron skillet.  Why did it not occur to me that I could cook carrots too?

I’m so glad I had that awakening.  These carrots made me really happy.  I could barely even adapt it, because the blog where I found it already had used agave instead of sugar!!!  Two points for you, familystylefood.com!!  You have my respect.  I just cut out the fresh mint because, as I mentioned in my Quinoa Mint Zucchini Boat post…Mr. Rodgers is DEFINITELY not a fan of fresh mint.  😉

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 bunch carrots with the green tops (baby carrots, or just long skinny ones)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Lime, Juice and Zest
  • 1 tsp Agave
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 2 Green Onions, sliced

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim most of the tops off of your carrots, wash them, and put them in a bowl.
  3. Whisk together the remaining ingredients (except green onions) in a bowl and dump them over the carrots.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with foil and dump on your carrots.
  5. Roast about 2o minutes until they are tender and have a little char on them.  Unless you don’t like char, but I do.  🙂
  6. Sprinkle with sliced onions.
  7. Now EAT!  This went great with our grilled chicken and fresh watermelon, and we got to eat it all on the front porch…it was perfect!!!

 

 

Pictures!!!

 

 

 

 

Cumin Carrots 2

 

Preheat your oven to 400.  Wash your carrots and trim the tops a bit!

Cumin Carrots 1

 

Whisk together everything except the green onions.  Pour over carrots (in a large bowl…or you can do it right on the pan like I did but it left me with a mess on the pan which I don’t like ;))  Toss to coat.

Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and have a little bit of char!  It makes them taste yummy and look grilled!

Cumin Carrots 3

 

This is why you cover your pan in foil. 😉

Sprinkle with green onions and serve!  So yummy!!

Cumin Carrots 5

 

I think they’re kinda pretty, but maybe I’m biased 😉

Cumin Carrots 4

 

See how there is just a touch of char, but the beautiful orange color is still shining through?  Perfect!

Cumin Carrots 6

 

Welcome to our little picnic, where these tasty little carrots didn’t last long!  Perfect summer evening!!!  These nights make me so happy!  But not half as happy as this guy makes me, all this cooking and sunshine would be nothing without him…

Cumin Carrots 7

 

Heheheee.  Eating him some carrots!  Yeah!!!

 

Alright, that’s it folks!!!  Enjoy your carrots, mamma always told me they make you see better.  Maybe if you love these as much as I do and eat them lots…you’ll get X-ray vision!  SWEET!

Simple Warm Lentil Salad

This is what I made to stand beside my Marinated Garlic Herb Chicken Breast.  If you read that post, you will know that it was a week night, and I didn’t want to spend tons of time on dinner, but still wanted to treat Mr. Rodgers to something tasty.  Well, the chicken was SUPER easy.  I didn’t want to spend tons of time on the side dish either…and this was perfect!  Filling and hearty to compliment the lightness of the chicken 🙂  Try it out!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 lb Lentils, uncooked
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Tbsp Minced Onion (The dry stuff.  You can use a real onion too, I just didn’t have one!  Probably about 1/2 an onion)
  • 1 1/2 C Frozen Mixed Veggies
  • 1/3 C Chicken or Beef Broth
  • 1/2 T Dried Chives
  • 1/2 T Savory Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare 
  • Red Pepper Flakes to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Follow the directions on your lentil bag to get them started cooking.  Set your timer for just a couple minutes less than the recommended cooking time.
  2. In a large pot melt your butter.  Toss in the onion and mixed veggies and saute until tender.  
  3. Add the lentils and stir to combine evenly.
  4. Add the broth and seasonings, stir, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Scoop on your plate, and top with a delicious protein.  🙂

 

Simple.  Warm. Comforting.  Delicious.  And fast 🙂

 

Lentils and Veggies

 

Lentils!  Such a wonderful food!  I love them and I didn’t even know what they were a year ago!  🙂  Check your package and cook them just a couple minutes shy of the recommended time.

Lentils and Veggies 2

 

Measure a cup and a half of frozen veggies.  You can use fresh if you want!  But as I mentioned before…the groceries were low so I was using things from the caverns of the freezer and pantry. 🙂   Usually I prefer the flavor of fresh veggies, but for a busy night when you can’t spend time chopping and slicing these work great!!!  

Lentils and Veggies 3Melt the butter in a large pan.

Lentils and Veggies 3.5Add your frozen veggies and minced onion and cook until they are tender.

Lentils and Veggies 4Add lentils and seasonings.  If you don’t know what Herbamare is…here ya go…its a tasty version of salt, and it’s pretty healthy!!

Grilled Chicken Chickpea Salad 1

 

Add your beef broth and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Scoop on your plate, top with a protein, and devour!!!!  Yummy!!!Lentils and Veggies 5