It’s Monday! I have no idea how that happened, other than blinking away the weekend. We’re mired in a heat wave at the moment and yet somehow I ended up in front of an oven the whole of yesterday, baking away on what felt like a billion projects. This one was meant to just be a hearty meal, but it managed to get the Man-thing stamp of approval, so you know it has to be shiny! Whether you’re up north enjoying the spoils of snow, or down south and happy to eat cold leftovers, this is a dish that can be made with ridiculously little effort, which is always in season.I’ve been wanting to make a shepherd’s pie for a long while now, but just a little different since the mushy number on top can be pretty off-putting in the heat (don’t ask me why, I have no idea!). Plus, there’s nothing better than crispy potatoes…except crispy potatoes with crispy chickpeas and baked onions. So much goodness in one spot!I had intended for this to last at least two or three days, but it didn’t see further than the day it was made. Man-thing claims that 3/4 of an entire dish was sufficient for one serving, but that “normal” people might be content with half each. He is a bit of a monster though, and doesn’t believe in side dishes of salad or steamed spinach, so we will respectfully disagree on that point. Essentially, however, our dinner for the week was gone before it even began! The ingredient list looks long and scary, but trust me, it’s all day-to-day ingredients and straight-forward in terms of the making and baking, so don’t fret to whip this out if you have an impromptu burst of energy or have a hoard of unexpected visitors making their way to your lair.
Ingredients (serves 2 – 4):
- 2 cups sliced carrots, steamed til soft
- 1 1/2 cups peas, steamed
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp fennel
- 1 TBSP dry parsley
- 1 1/4 cup cooked brown lentils
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 5 TBSP aquafaba (brine)
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 2 tsp coriander
Crunchy potato top:
- 2 small onions, sliced thinly
- 1 can chickpeas (keep the brine)
- 2 medium peeled sweet potatoes, sliced and steamed til soft
- 1 TBSP almond butter
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1 TBSP mustard powder
- pinch salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 TBSP dry parsley
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp oil
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 TBSP chickpea flour
- mixed herb and pinch of salt (I used a garlic herb shaker)
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line and spray a baking tray. Toss chickpeas with black pepper and paprika and coat the onions lightly in oil.
- Bake for 25 minutes, tossing halfway.
- Meanwhile, steam all your veggies and blend your lentil hummus.
- Mix your veggies with the black pepper, fennel and and parsley and place in a sprayed glass round dish, approx 23cm across.
- Spread your hummus evenly over the veggies, then press in the crunchy chickpeas.
- Mix the rest of your potato top mix, including the onions.
- Pour 1/4 of the soy milk over the top and bake for 20 minutes.
- Mix 1/4 cup soy milk, herbs/spices and the chickpea flour until smooth and pour over the top.
- Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Serve warm with gravy – try this chickpea flour version (with or without mushrooms).
I admit, however, that this dish was just an excuse to eat peas, because I’ve been having a hankering that has simply not abated. I used to eat the stuff by the can as a kid, and now that my wallet is my own and not the parental unit’s, it’s more difficult to justify healthy gluttony on its own. Of course, basing an entire meal around one ingredient that you’re pining after is totally legit and the mature way of dealing with things, so it’s ok. Surely. 😀 I added the roasted chickpeas and onion because I was craving some bite to what is traditionally a bit of a mushy affair, and the onion has been lying in my pantry for over a month, sulking hard at its lack of charm. I pretty much ate half the roasted onion straight off the baking tray, so it has been glorified sufficiently, methinks, but wow, flavour bomb! If Man-thing was keen on lots of roasted garlic I would have added an entire head of roasted cloves, because nom – ultimate savoury indulgence.
And so we begin another week – plodding closer to the dreaded holidays and festivities: a time of empty wallets and lots of coffee!