Posts Tagged ‘Mushrooms’

Here is my vegan version of my shepherd’s pie.

A couple of notes if you decide to try this recipe. The recipe calls for black beluga lentils because that’s what I had on hand to make this but you could easily substitute du puy lentils (french green).  The mushroom gravy is not necessary – I often make this dish without but sometimes you just want some extra fat to up the comfort factor.  You need a large rectangle glass baking dish to make this in.

Veggie Shepherd’s pie (Vegan version)

1/2 c wild rice

1 1/2 c black beluga lentils

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

1 carrot

3 lbs. potatoes (about 6-7 large potatoes)

1 lbs. mushrooms (button, cremini)

1/4 c dried porcini mushrooms (about 6 or 7 dried)

1 tbsp. of olive oil

fresh or dried thyme to taste

1/2 c frozen peas

½ c soy milk* optional — you can also use the cooking water

1 tbsp. vegan margarine (I use Earth balance brand)

1/2 package of mushroom gravy (vegan)

Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

  1. Make your wild rice.  Rinse the rice and then stir it into a cup and a half of boiling water.  Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak in the same water, covered for 1 hour.  Drain.  Stir rice into 1 1/2 c of fresh boiling water.  Let simmer for 25-35 minutes.  Drain.  While making the rice – prepare the other parts of the shepherd’s pie.
  2. Check your lentils for stones and rinse the dust off them.
  3. Put them in pot with 3.5 cups of cold fresh water.  Cover and bring the water to a boil.
  4. While waiting for the water to boil prepare your aromatics.  Quarter the onion.  Finely chop the carrots and peel the garlic cloves.  Once the water has boiled, add these to the lentils, plus the bay leaves and turn the heat to simmer.  Cook for around 25 minutes.  You want your lentils to be firm and not mushy.
  5. As the lentils cook prepare the potatoes.  Basically if you already know how to mash potatoes this step will be very easy for you. Peel the potatoes.  (Note:  if you have organic potatoes no need to peel them – I love the rustic look of the potato skins in a mash.)  Chop the potatoes into small pieces roughly the same size.   In a large pot add enough cold water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil (turn down to a simmer once they have reached a boiling point).
  6. As this point your lentils should be finished.  Drain, and if you want you can reserve the liquid to use for stock at some future date.  Remove the onion, garlic and bay leaves.  Don’t worry if you can’t remove all the onion – some small pieces in the lentils won’t hurt.  Season with some freshly ground pepper.
  7. If your potatoes are ready drain the boiling water and leave them in their cooking pot until you are ready to mash them.
  8. Prepare your mushrooms.  Soak your dried mushrooms in warm water as directed.  Slice the button mushrooms and leave some pieces in quarters.  Once the dried mushrooms are soaked – slice into bite sized pieces.  Warm the oil in a frying pan and add all the mushrooms – you want to cook them just until they lose some of their juices.
  9. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Now prep your base.   Add the lentils, mushrooms, frozen peas and wild rice.  Mix together.
  11. Drain the water from your potatoes if you have not already done so.  Mash them with the soy milk and margarine.
  12. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the base mixture.
  13. Cook for 20 minutes in your pre-heated oven. While it is cooking prepare your mushroom gravy if using.
  14. Remove from oven and spread mushroom gravy over the top.

Serve with: rapini with garlic and chili peppers.


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September and October are my favourite months of the year.  I’ve never been a  “fun in the sun” girl.  Give me a campfire instead of  a beach any day.  Pumpkin beer, chilly evenings where I can wear a pair jeans and a warm sweater and I’m in heaven. Which is why I wanted to write a blog post about some of my favourite fall activities:

The Fair.  When I was a kid the fair was the place to be – rides, cotton candy and games.  But by the time I was old enough to drive myself to the fair I wanted nothing to do with it — tractor pulls, cattle shows, and greasy pig contests were just too small-town for me.  But, in the past couple of years, I’ve started to change my mind again about the fair.  Like a lot of people, I have become more aware of food politics, and try to eat as much locally produced food as possible.  The fair celebrates all things local and is a great community event.  There are giant pumpkins, competitions for the best vegetable, a parade and local music.  There is even a cake competition (I almost submitted the cake with the second place ribbon below to cake wrecks then Mike pointed out that it was the children’s competition.  And, cue feeling like a jerk.)  It’s a weekend where I get to hang out with my family and celebrate the fact that autumn is just around the corner.

194 lb. PumpkinWinning pumpkins

Pumpkin cakeWinning jams

Trips out of the city.   Nothing beats sitting around a campfire, walking in the woods and eating warm food with friends and family.  We are super lucky to have amazing friends that invite us to their cottage every year and every year, in the fall, we go camping with my family here.  Usually food is the highlight of these trips! At the cottage friends make chili, french toast and we sip on whisky while playing board games.  At the campground, my mom makes veggie smoked beans, lots of mashed potatoes and always brings us a can of mushroom gravy.  My family plays croquet and my sister and I hunt for mushrooms on our hikes.



I think in Canada the beauty of fall makes you realize how short the season truly is.  Before you know it, the snow will be falling and we will have to deal with January’s short days and dark, long and cold nights.

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Stuffed Squash

This makes a full meal for 2 people.   Some notes:  I used Lundberg brand rice in this recipe but any brown rice would workAlso you can substitute the  rosemary for thyme if that’s what you have on hand.

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 small butternut or buttercup squashes
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sliced leek (or if you prefer use an onion)
  • 2 bell peppers (any colour), cut into small triangles or cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • grated Parmesan cheese as needed
  1. Make the rice. As rice cooks, preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly oil and baking sheet or lay down some tinfoil.
  2. Wash the squash and then slice in half. Spoon out the seeds. Use about 1 tablespoon of the oil to rub on the squash and then place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  3. While the squash cooks, sauté the leeks and garlic in the remaining oil until the leek is translucent. Add the bell peppers and rosemary and continue to cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are just tender and release their water. Remove from heat.
  4. Mix together rice and vegetable sauté.
  5. When the squash is finished baking remove from oven and turn cut side up. Mash the flesh slightly (working carefully!) and then stuff with rice mixture. You can use all of the rice mixture here or you can save some for a side dish. Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on top and enjoy!

Stuffed squash

This recipe originally appeared in Food for thought : a cookbook for the Canadian library community.

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