Vegan, gluten free Shepherd’s Pie (My Christmas dinner special)

It’s early December and as I am hosting Christmas at mine this year I am having a practise run of Christmas dinner. My husband is cooking for himself and the meat eaters and I am doing a special dish for myself and my vegan sister in law.

As a lactose intolerant coeliac it can feel hard at Christmas, you can definitely feel left out when it comes to advent calendars, mince pies and Yorkshire puddings. This dish will almost definitely have everyone feeling jealous of me though.

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Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup dried red lentils

1 brown onion

3 cloves garlic

Chopped sage

2 Kallo French Onion Stock Cubes (gluten free and vegan)

1 tablespoon Pure Soya Bread

Start by chopping the onion and garlic cloves and adding to a large pan with the dried lentils and 2 Kallo French Onion stock cubes and cover the ingredients with boiling water. Kallo stock cubes are fantastic as they are gluten free so they tick all my coeliac boxes. The French Onion Stock cubes are excellent for soups and gravy which is why I’m using them in this dish.

Switch the hob to a medium heat and cook at a simmer the lentils and onion  in the stock for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s important to monitor the levels of liquid during cooking. I have had to top up with additional water as the lentils absorb water.

Red lentils will breakdown and lose their shape but the brown lentils should retain their distinct has the consistency of gravy with cooked lentils and onion. It’s important the consistency is quite thick as this mixture is the base of the shepherd’s pie. (see photo below)

Whilst the base of the pie is cooking peel and chop the sweet potatoes and cover with boiling water. Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft and ready for mashing. It’s important not to over cook the sweet potatoes as they do fall apart much more easily than potato and can lose their nutrients. Although you could use other potato I’m choosing to use sweet potato because they are higher vitamins including vitamin A, C and B6 as well as being full of minerals and potassium. Sweet potatoes are also lower in carbohydrate and one of your 5 a day. In addition they taste great.

Once cooked drain the sweet potato and pop back into the pan with the tablespoon of soya butter and the chopped sage. Mash using either a masher or a fork.

Line a baking dish with a thick layer of the lentil mix, even the mix and then top with a layer of the sweet potato / sage mash. When the layers are even use the fork to create smooth lines which will add crunch when cooked.

Cook in the oven at a temperature of 200 for 30 minutes.

Once cooked this shepherd’s pie is perfect as Christmas dinner. Sweet and festive with the sage and sweet potato topping and with a rich base and garlic. This is home made, vegan and gluten free comfort food at its best.

Truly cannot wait for Christmas now.

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Sesame crusted tofu and garlic greens

After time away it’s lovely to have a couple of days to relax before heading back to work on Monday. I’ve spent my Saturday relaxing with my cats and getting lunches ready for work and for eating tonight with a glass of wine. 

I’m currently tucking into an incredibly simple, protein packed and tasty dish with subtle yet distinctive flavours. 

I start by preparing tofu. I’m using Cauldron Tofu and chop into approximate squares. Grill with sesame oil for approximately 10 minutes before flipping the squares over and then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before grilling for a further 10 minutes. This creates a toastoy sesame crust on your tofu. Incredibly delicious and full of healthy oils. 

To accompany this excellent tofu I’m cooking garlic greens. Rolling with the sesame theme warm half a teaspoon of sesane oil in a pan and then add batons of chopped orange pepper, courgette and baby pak choi. Stir through minced garlic (as much as you like – I’ve used a whole teaspoon as I am a garlic fiend!) Then add a few drops of gluten free tamari. Continue to cook for 10 – 15 minutes and serve with the tofu. I’ve also accompanied the dish with fresh, steamed edamame and sea salt. Yay for Saturday night dinner time.