Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie & My Minimalist Wardrobe [RECIPE]
Good Morning Everyone!
Happy Pre-Friday! I like saying that. Mr. Noob Chef and I have a tradition of wishing each other a Happy Pre-Friday every Thursday to pump each other up for the weekend. So… Happy Pre-Friday, my friends! 🙂 I hope you’re having a lovely day. Today I want to talk a bit about minimalism…. and this amazing, healthy recipe. Many of you probably don’t know that I’m a minimalist. Yes, once upon a time on here I used to own a home lighting studio to make the perfect setting for my recipes. I invested in a ton of various dishes to have a steady supply of backdrops for my food. So if you’re browsing through the archives and you see food set against a stark white background… that was my studio. And it worked great! But it also took up a bunch of space.
With my normal day to day dishes, and my blog dishes, my kitchen cabinets were crying out for space. (And I was washing dishes all the time!). I don’t think there was really an “aha” moment for me that pushed me into minimalism. For some, they picked up Marie Kondo’s book and their eyes were opened. For me, it has been a gradual progression. Like most people I would donate things here and there to my local thrift store, and then buy knick knacks a few weeks later. Finally I decided to do the 30 day minimalism challenge.
What is the 30 day minimalism challenge? For each calendar day you get rid of that many items. So on day 1… 1 item. Day 2… two items, etc. By the end of 30 days you end up purging nearly 430 items! Now that probably sounds like a lot of stuff, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get rid of that many items. Between shelves of books, old clothing, unused kitchen dishes, etc. I had that much (and more) to get rid of!
So after the challenge was done I began to not only see the results of a clean space… but I felt them too! Having clutter around actually makes me feel anxious. I work best in neat, tidy spaces. I prefer to have only the things I need. And thus, my passion for a minimalist life was born. I knew then it was time to tackle my wardrobe. As a bariatric weight loss surgery patient, I’ve always had a strange relationship with clothing. I’ll lose weight… but somewhere in the back of my mind I think “okay, but what if I gain it back? I need to hold onto these larger clothes!!”. Even though my outside reflected a smaller me… the inside still felt like the fatter girl that I was for many years. So, I held onto the clothing.
But my closet was crammed. It was a pain in the neck to pick out an outfit in the morning, and quite frankly, I didn’t even use 2/3rds of my wardrobe! It was ridiculous and I knew I needed to really get in there and downsize. Now, donating clothes is only half of the battle. You also need to keep yourself from re-buying clothing. Yes, I too, get those tempting emails (daily) from my favorite stores with sales galore. But no amount of discounts can tempt me into purchasing more clothing unless it is an item that I really need.
So what ended up happening? Well, I currently own: 4 pants, 5 tank tops, 2 hoodies, 2 pajamas, 5 socks, and my bras and underwear. That’s it. My closet is so minimal (aka a capsule wardrobe) that I can see between the clothing to the back of my closet! I don’t think about what I wear in the morning, because I basically wear the same thing everyday: a pair of pants, a tank top, and a hoodie if it’s cold. And you know what? My stress has never been lower. Now before I jump into today’s recipe, let me answer the one question I get asked a lot when people find out I have a minimalist wardrobe: do you have to do laundry more often? Actually I do laundry twice a week. And that’s for a family of three! I could make it stretch to once a week, but I don’t like clothes piling up. So one load for the three of us, twice a week, is perfect.
And now for today’s recipe.
With Fall and Winter here, I am cooking up dishes that are a hug in a bowl and this lentil shepherds pie is just that. Even looking at it last night I was twirling around my tiny kitchen saying, “Ooooo just look at it! It’s beautiful!”. Sometimes there is beauty in a mess. This dish is exactly like that. The broth bubbled over the edge in a few parts. The potato mash was crispy on top in various places, and it smelled…. heavenly. It was pure comfort food without all the calories. (~287 kcals per serving! woohoo!)
I added spinach and mushrooms to my lentil pie to bulk it up, but you can easily keep it to carrots, onion, and lentils as described in the recipe. Soy sauce and canned diced tomatoes make up the broth in this vegan dish that mimics the flavor of beef broth (I swear!) and is so good. I had been wanting to make this dish for a long time, and I’m so glad I did because it’s completely worth it. If you’re looking for a healthy, comforting dish that doesn’t take much time, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. As Mr. Noob Chef says: “this recipe is a keeper!”. Have a beautiful Thursday everyone, and as always, keep on cooking! ❤
Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie
- 1 medium onion , chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic , chopped finely
- 1 large carrot , diced
- 2½ teaspoons dried herbs (thyme, rosemary or marjoram all work well, or a combination of them. Mixed Herbs or Italian Mixed Herbs are also fine)
- 190g | 2½ cups cooked lentils , (green or brown)
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot , or cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons tamari (you can sub this for soy sauce, coconut aminos or liquid aminos )
- 240mls | 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or passata (if you only have whole or diced tomatoes just blend them up until smooth first)
- 240mls | 1 cup mushroom broth , or vegetable broth
- Salt & pepper to taste ( I used 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1.5 teaspoons of salt)
- 1000g | 6 cups diced raw potato , I love Yukon Gold potatoes
- 80mls | 1/3 cup non-dairy milk , unsweetened
- 1 knob vegan butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 400° fahrenheit
Put the diced potatoes in a large pan and cover with hot water from the kettle.
Add a generous pinch of salt, cover and bring to the boil.
Simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are very tender (check with a fork or knife).
Drain then return to the pan, add the milk and butter (optional) and mash very well. Set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking warm another pan over a medium heat.
Saute the onions, garlic and carrot until the onions are starting to go golden brown. You can use oil if you like but I just used a drop of water instead.
Add the dried herbs, lentils and arrowroot or cornstarch.
Stir well to distribute the arrowroot through the lentil mixture.
Add the Tamari and tomatoes and stir very well.
Add the stock and stir well again.
As soon as hot and starting to bubble remove from the heat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the lentil mixture into an ovenproof dish that isn’t too deep.
Top with the mashed potato.
Spread it around evenly then rough up the top with a fork.
Place on a baking sheet in case of any leaks and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
If you want an extra crispy topping you can then put it under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.