Saturday, February 24, 2007

Vegetarian shepherd's pie & dijon avocado salad (yum!)

I like my Vegetarian Times magazine because it gives me good ideas for what foods I can use for tasty vegetarian dishes. However, I often feel that the magazine limits recipes to a short ingredient list (and sometimes skimps on the spices that are in the ingredients) so that the recipes do not reach their full potential for flavor. Last night I altered a V.T. recipe for vegan shepherd's pie to create a heartier, richer flavor. My version isn't vegan but could easily be reconverted to a vegan recipe. My friend Lesley ate it with me and my husband, and we all thought it was a pretty wonderful, bone-warming dish.

If you usually cook with meat at home, I encourage you to try the soy crumbles. The consistency isn't exactly the same as ground beef but the flavor is very similar. Except for missing the gristly tiny bits that beef has, I don't think I would realize the soy bits in this dish weren't beef. (And soy is so cheap to buy, too!)


Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes

2 medium russet potatoes, cut into small cubes

salt for potatoes

1 T olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz. package soy crumbles (looks like ground beef--buy the regular kind)

0.65 oz. vegetarian dark brown gravy mix

1 2/3 c. water

2 c. frozen peas and carrot pieces (or use fresh and chop the carrots finely)

2/3 c. 2% milk (use soymilk for vegan)

4 tsp. butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder or garlic Mrs. Dash

salt and pepper

Chop everything you'll need chopped and set out the appropriate amounts of what you'll need for the dish.

Cut your sweet and reg. potatoes, placing them in a large pot as you go. Add about 1 tsp. of salt to the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with about 2" of water. Turn the heat to high and bring the dish to a boil. When the water is boiling, turn the heat to medium. Let it simmer 15 min. or until potatoes are tender.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over med. heat. Add shallots and onion, and cook 4-5 minutes--until onion and shallots begin to be translucent. Add garlic; cook one minute. Add soy crumbles, and cook three minutes or until crumbles are heated through.

Sprinkle gravy mix into the skillet, and stir it all together. Pour in water, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add carrots and peas, and allow mixture to simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain potatoes, and mash with milk and butter. (I put them back into the same pot and mixed with an immersion blender, leaving a few small chunks of potatoes.) Season with garlic seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

Spread vegetable mixture into a deep casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until vegetable layer gray bubbles around the edges of the mashed potatoes.

With the shepherd's pie I served a simple but tasty salad topped with a dijon dressing.


Dijon Dressing

2 T. grainy dijon mustard

4 T. olive or canola oil

1 tsp. honey

(Add other ingredients as you deem necessary.)

Combine ingredients in a jar. Put the lid on the jar, and shake it well. Let the dressing sit in the fridge for an hour or more for the flavors to meld. You will want to toss the dressing with your salad well so that the grains of mustard are spread out in the salad.

I served a salad of butter lettuce, freshly shaved Parmesan Reggiano, toasted walnut halves, and avocado. Lesley and I think finely sliced apples or tangerine sections would make a nice addition. But it was also very tasty as it was.


I'm Fat said...

Both look awesomely yummy. I think my kid would have a faint heart attack if he knew what he was eating. lol...

Sarah said...

The avacado salad looks amazing! I am on a walnut kick as of late and I have always LOVED avacado =)