(This recipe for vegetarian lentil shepherd’s pie recipe can easily be made vegan if you substitute the creme fraiche for coconut yogurt and use a butter alternative for the mash).
Did you know that eating lentils is one of the best ways you can increase your longevity?
Dan Buettner, a reporter for the National Geographic magazine, coined the term ‘Blue Zones’ which are regions of the world with the highest percentage of centenarians per capita. (They are: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California).
What do the people in the Blue Zones eat that helps contribute to such a high percentage of centenarians per capita?
We know that they eat an omnivorous diet centred around plants and that all of these regions eat large amounts of legumes!
- All beans
The great news is that legumes are:
- Easy to store
- A great source of vegetarian protein
- High in fibre
- Low in fat
- Contain no cholesterol
- High in calcium
- Easy to cook
So it’s time to add more legumes to your diet, and I have a delicious recipe to entice you.
Recipe for Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients for 4-6 as a main dish:
400g puy lentils
3 sticks of celery
1 punnet of mushrooms
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 stem of rosemary
2 tbsp of whole grain mustard
2 tbsp creme fraiche
4 tbsp tomato puree
- Boil the lentils until tender, or use canned (strain, rinse and set aside)
- Chop the veg
- Sweat the veg in olive or coconut oil for 10 minutes with bay and rosemary
- Mix lentils with veggies
- Add mustard, creme fraiche and tomato puree
- Mix seasoning and loosen with olive oil.
Sweet potato mash
4-6 sweet potatoes (depending on the potato size)
2 tsp chipotle mix
Salt and pepper
- Steam peeled & chopped sweet potato for 10-15 minutes
- Mash with a fork and add chipotle, butter & seasoning
- Top shepherds pie and bake in for the oven at 180 Celsius for 15 minutes or until lightly crispy.
A note on digestibility of legumes
Some people have difficulty digesting legumes, especially people with IBS symptoms. To make the digestibility of legumes easier use dried lentils instead of canned so that you can soak them in water overnight (8-12 hours). Discard the water the next day and rinse your legumes well before cooking.
Once cooking add a few strips of kombu or wakame seaweed which helps to break down phytic acid which completes makes legumes harder to digest.
Near the end of cooking add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon which will also contribute to the breakdown of phytic acid.
To learn more about the blue zones you might be interested to watch his fascinating Ted Talk on ‘How to Live to 100+’ by Dan Buettner of the Blue Zones research.
For another delicious lentil recipe try this lentil Dahl.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and it helps you to see how easy it is to add legumes to your diet.
For more delicious healthy vegetarian recipes download my 3 day plant based meal plan here.
To your health, Miranda Xo