Tonight’s dinner was simple thanks to all the leftover mashed potatoes and gravy from last night’s not-fried feast. All I did was cook some lentils to make the base of the shepherd’s pie and roast some squash.

Lentils are easy to cook and can easily be substituted as a meat substitute in any recipe that calls for ground beef if you season them appropriately. If you’re looking for a sturdy lentil that will keep it shape, go for the green or brown ones. If you want lentils that will cook down into a mushy consistency or make a thick sauce, choose the red lentils. I used small brown lentils.

Whatever lentils you choose, be sure to look through them carefully for stones and debris. Wash them well. Then cover them generously with water. Bring them to a boil and simmer them for about 20 minutes. Drain any excess water and use them in your recipe.

If you haven’t made lentils before, I encourage you to try them. They’re inexpensive and versatile. My kids love them plain but they’re even better seasoned and served with rice. When I’m looking for an easy win with the kids, I reach for the lentils.

Back to the recipe. While the lentils were cooking, I cubed the squash, brushed it with olive oil and roasted it at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

kale salad
This kale salad was seasoned with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil and a dash or salt. I added dried cranberries and roasted squash and walnuts.

In the meantime, I made my kale salad. The trick to a good kale salad is to use your hands to rub the dressing into the kale. And then let it sit in the dressing to soften.

As a dressing I used a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of maple syrup, a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. I massaged it into the kale, added a few tablespoons of dried cranberries and put them aside until the rest of dinner was ready. I put some walnut pieces in the bowl I used to mix the salad dressing to coat them with a bit of oil and sweetness and spread them onto a cookie sheet and added them to the oven. This bit of warming adds to their flavour. Just be careful not to let them burn.

Once the lentils were done, I mixed them with the leftover gravy and frozen peas and corn, topped this mix with the leftover mashed potatoes, a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and paprika and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

vegan shepherd's pie with squash
If my son ever warms to kale, it’s not going to be store-bought winter kale. So I just gave him roasted squash on the side. He ate it with butter and a little bit of whine.

When everything was done, I tossed the squash and walnuts in the salad and dished out the Shepherd’s pie. I went over well with everyone.

8 thoughts on “Shepherd’s pie and kale salad with squash, cranberries and walnuts

  1. Love this vegan version of a family favourite! Although we are not vegan, we do follow what is ultimately a vegan diet for about 1/3 of the year as we fast for Orthodox holidays. This recipe will definitely make the rotation! Thanks ­čÖé

    Liked by 1 person

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