I'm not sure exactly what led me to make this shepherd's pie. I've actually never really cared for that dish before. I think that maybe I've just never had a good one. Shepherd's pie usually brings to mind overcooked vegetables topped with flavorless, gummy mashed potatoes. Even when presented with a recipe for a shepherd's pie, I'll typically pass in favor of just about anything else. Associations are hard to break sometimes, I guess.
Whatever possessed me to want to try the Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie in Appetite for Reduction, I'm glad for it. My mind has been forever changed. It's funny, too, presenting this as "upside-down" somehow makes my brain think it's less work than the other way. Really, I think it's pretty much the same amount, you're just not layering until you're ready to serve it. There's where the end of the overcooked veggies comes in, too.
This dish is full of so many good things: lentils, shitake mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, celery, peas, Caulipots. Oh, Caulipots. OMG, Caulipots. Seriously, Caulipots are like a revelation. It's pretty much just half and half cauliflower and potatoes mashed up together with a little bit of olive oil and vegetable broth mixed in. Much less fat than regular mashed potatoes and a truckload more flavor. I swear I could sit down and eat an entire bowl of Caulipots just by themselves.
I didn't feel like searching the city for du Puy lentils, so I just used plain old green lentils for this. I also added some beet greens because I had some that needed using and adding a few extra greens to a dish never hurt. You can conceivably make this using just two pots. One for the Caulipots and one for the lentils and veggies. Easy cleanup and easy to make. It's pretty quick, too. You could make this after work one night if you have everything on hand already. Who wouldn't like coming home to a nice meal like this, anyway? The thyme and tarragon simmering away with the veggies and lentils gives off such a wonderful aroma. That'll put you in a good mood if you weren't before.
This recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce. I definitely think it adds a nice bit of flavor to this dish. If you're having trouble finding a vegan brand, check the ingredients on the store brands. I was surprised to find that some of the local chain grocery stores around here have a vegan store brand Worcestershire sauce. That's kind of cool. If you can't find any or don't want to spend the money on something you might not use again, (what- you're not making a bloody mary for weekend brunches?) you can just use a bit of soy sauce and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead.
This is definitely a keeper recipe. I will for sure be making this again. It reheated really well and was a great leftover dish to take to work for the week. Your tummy will thank you.