VEGAN FARMER’S PIE

When I first became vegan, I was secretly worried that I’d be really really hungry, alll the time. I’m a gal who really likes to eat, so I stocked up on carbs, carbs, carbs (like, the white, complex kind). “BEING VEGAN IS SOOOOOO EASY!!!!” (I wanted to yell from the rooftops, as I stuffed my cakehole with pasta, baguettes, bagels, pizza, burgers, etc.) Turns out, it’s not actually so good to fill up on that stuff…and totally misaligned with a mantra I’ve been trying to remember more and more these days:

every time you eat, is an opportunity to nourish your body.

Trust me, there are many meals that are questionable in terms of nutrients (i.e. the Fritos and tequila I refer to in my “about me” page), BUT, for the most part I tried to keep things healthy and nourishing.

This dish is a grand slam in terms of nutrition, taste, effort required to make it, and ability to satisfy a hungry crowd. It’s a modified / veganized version of a recipe by the same name in “The Ontario Table” by Lynn Ogryzlo (which has lots of lovely vegan recipes, btw).

Yield: 6-8servings
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour (total)

Ingredients:
4 large sweet potatoes
3 cups cooked lentils
2 tbsp canola oil or Magic Vegan Bacon Grease (if you really want to impress)
2 pkgs Yves original veggie ground
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
8 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed
3 tbsp soy or almond milk
1 veggie bouillon cube
2 tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
Salt and pepper
2 cups mixed veggies (fresh or frozen): try broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, mushrooms)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup whiskey (optional, but tasty) or water

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (190C). Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into chunks and put in a pan covered with salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook sweet potatoes until done, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil or “bacon grease” over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for 1 minute or until onions are soft. Add the veggies and cook for 5 minutes. Add the veggie ground and lentils and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and mix well. Add whiskey or water, bouillon cube, thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Cook stirring for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Mash sweet potatoes with margarine and soy / almond milk. Spoon veggie ground/lentil mixture into a 9 x 13 in pan. Top with sweet potato. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Feeling Lawless? This dish requires three things: protein/grain, veggies, and potatoes. Depending on what’s in the fridge, you can mix it up! A friend of mine doesn’t like ground round, so exclusively uses lentils. The veggie options are endless too – use whatever is in the fridge/freezer. And if you don’t like sweet potatoes, use regular potatoes! Spices can be as simple as salt and pepper and whatever dried options you have on hand. The other thing that is nice on this dish is a bit of melted vegan cheese – sprinkle on the dish during the final few minutes of cooking.

 

 

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH, APPLE, AND SWEET POTATO SOUP

Amongst his many well-deserved titles, my husband has earned that of “Seasoner” in our household. I often prepare everything in my soups…prepping and roasting the veggies, making the stock, etc and then call him in to be my closer. The guy just has a way with spice. I discovered this hidden talent many years ago when we first started dating. He’d taken me out to Mongolian Grill (as one would) and he managed to create a masterpiece with the hundreds of seasoning options available at the buffet. I, on the other hand, found the process confusing and ended up making an inedible concoction. Cue my date, upgrading to the “all-you-can-eat” option, and saving the day with a new custom dish for me.  The rest, dear reader, is history.

Yield: 4-6
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr, 15 mins

Ingredients
1 butternut squash
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions: slice squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down on baking sheet (parchment helps with clean up). Roast at 350 degrees (F) for about 45 mins or until squash is very soft when you poke with a fork. Allow to cool. Scoop out flesh and place in broth, along with apple and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 mins or until potatoes are soft. Allow to cool. Blend with immersion blender or in batches if you’re using a stand blender. Return to pot and put on low heat while adding spices, salt and earth balance. Allow to simmer 10 more mins, stir and serve!

Feeling Lawless? Squash is a must, but add whatever you have in the way of apples or pears (even apple sauce will do). Potatoes can be plain ‘ol potatoes if that’s what’s on hand. The extra fruit / veg in the soup really helps to thicken it up, but if you’re ok with a thinner end product, you can actually skip these all together. Re: spices, you’ll need a bit of S&P, but feel free to experiment with cinnamon, cumin, curry, fresh herbs and spices (basil and parsley are nice).