When planning your holiday dinner parties and celebrations, it is always a good idea to have a vegetarian dish on hand. People watching their weight or who have been eating too much of rich, heavy holiday meals will appreciate it as much as your vegetarian guests. If you are a vegetarian, consider bringing a covered dish with you when you are invited to dinner, so you will be sure that there is at least one thing you can eat.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie Casserole
Pick through the lentils to remove bad ones and rinse them. Place them in a pot with 2 cups of boiling water and a bay leaf. Cover and cook for 25 minutes; then drain them.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut a package of tempeh, a fermented soy bean product, into bite-sized cubes and toss it in a bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Mix the onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, garlic, sage and thyme. Place a saute pan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and stir in vegetables. Cook them till soft, about 10 minutes, then salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the vegetables, lentils and tempeh in a well-greased casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and bake in the 375-degree oven, uncovered for 40 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven. Sprinkle nutmeg, paprika and chopped parsley over the top. The red paprika and green parsley on the white potatoes give a pretty holiday look to this hearty casserole for a festive presentation, and the nutmeg adds a special touch of holiday aroma and spice.