This is my first year of living in Melbourne so I’m becoming acquainted with Melbourne weather – Four Seasons in One Day is a saying which is apt indeed! I’ve also been warned that winters here are long – long by Australian standards anyway… it’s almost the end of October and flannelette sheets are still on the bed, flannelette pj’s still rule and winter comfort food is still starring in my kitchen!
So with winter lingering a hearty, warming pie was in order and this Lentil & Vegetable Cottage Pie fits the bill!
What you will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1x 400g tin crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 sticks celery – sliced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
Handful or ½ button mushrooms
Spinach leaves (English spinach or regular variety)
1 x 400g tin of brown lentils, drained
1 x 400g tin vegan casserole mince
Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper
3-4 potatoes, washed and chopped (peel if you prefer)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
Paprika or cayenne pepper
What to do:
In a large cooking pot heat the olive oil and gently sauté the onion until lightly browned. Then add the garlic and celery and gently stir. Next add the tomato paste and the tinned tomatoes and the dried mixed herbs – cook until heated through.
Then add the vegetables to the pot – carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, lentils, vegan casserole mince and lastly the spinach. Cook gently for a few minutes. Season with a little salt (if desired) and cracked pepper.
In a separate saucepan bring water to the boil with the potato and sweet potato and boil until very tender.
Drain your potatoes. Now – bring out the potato masher! Throw in a good dollop of vegan margarine and mash away.
Spoon the lentil/vegetable mixture into a casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. You can use a fork to add a little texture to the mashed potato. Sprinkle a little paprika or cayenne pepper over the top.
Pop the casserole dish in a moderate oven and bake at approx 180°C (350°F). for approx 30 minutes or until a little browned on top.
Serve with some lovely steamed broccoli, beans or peas…
Ooooh yes, comfort food at its most comforting!!