I’m going to keep this as brief as I can today. My eyes have been bugging out a bit lately–just feeling really sensitive to light, watering/misting up easily, and they’re not focusing in a reliably consistent way. It feels like I need one of those giant visors and wraparound blue blocker sunglasses whenever I go outside lately hehe. I honestly think it’s just excessive screentime mixed with a bit of seasonal allergies. The summer-like temperatures just keep going here, which means plenty of pollen and dust riding through the air and into our open windows. Not gonna complain though :) #ForeverSummer
A little while ago, I casually asked my Instagram followers what their favourite part of the Thanksgiving meal was. I got the overwhelming impression that we all just love to smother carbs in gravy. Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, a huge variety of stuffings, and plant-based gravy by the ladleful were the big winners. I’m a huge fan of these things as well. I live for thoughtful, 100% plant-based versions of classic side dishes at holiday meals. Those weird seitan/tofu holiday roasts always seem kinda goofy to me. Maybe because I just really love sides and vegetables in general? My bud Sophie told me about a pastry-encased vegetable “gravy pie” that her mother makes for Thanksgiving, and I kind of clung to the idea of OMG GRAVY PIE for weeks afterward.
When I imagined my own version of gravy pie, I thought about reversing the classic gravy and potatoes configuration–like a shepherd’s pie in a way, but a little more saucy. So basically we make a big pot of mushroom gravy with hearty herbs, garlic, onions, some flavour bombs, and cooked French lentils for protein. We thicken it up, pour it into a baking dish, and give it a cute topper of garlicky kale mashed potatoes. The potatoes get a little bit golden and despite the kale addition, the whole thing is comfortingly/reassuringly beige throughout. Basically perfect holiday food.
Wishing my Canadians a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving this week. Hope you all get some great food and calm times with your favourite people. Also, if you’re that person hauling the giant, beautiful bowl of salad to the family dinners because you know that you won’t get your vegetable fix otherwise, please know that I’m with you in spirit and in practice. It’s hard to strike that balance of slight self interest, thoughtfulness, but also not overbearing in your plant-loving ways when it comes to family, am I right? I just do a big, shredded salad (kale, brussels sprouts, root veg) with roasted delicata squash, some maple-candied pumpkin seeds and a bomb tahini dressing. It feels nutritionally complete for me personally and you get to help out by filling the token salad component hehe. Love you all. Sending my holiday hugs. xo
MUSHROOM GRAVY PIE WITH GARLICKY KALE MASHED POTATOES
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: To make this soy-free, use coconut aminos instead of the tamari soy sauce.
-If you’re feeling it and your dish is deep enough, this pie can handle double the amount of potatoes ;)
-You could use brown lentils in place of the French ones here. Alternatively, if you don’t have lentils on hand, you could use 1 ½ cups of whatever cooked pulse you like. White beans would be so good!
-Corn starch substitutes perfectly for the arrowroot powder as our thickener here.
-Use whatever mushrooms you like. I went for a mix of cremini, shiitake & portobello.
-If you’re using mixed dried herbs, go with half the amount specified (1 tablespoon).
-If you don’t have a glass baking dish, metal or corningware is also fine! As long as it’s oven-safe and at least 2 inches deep.
2 cups chopped and packed kale (about 6-7 stems-worth)
½ cup dry French lentils, rinsed
1 ⅓ lbs (585 grams) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 small cooking onion, small dice
2 tablespoons minced, fresh hearty herbs (I used a mix of sage, thyme & rosemary)
2 ¼ lbs (1020 grams) mixed mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Drop the kale into the water and simmer until kale is just-wilted and bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, retrieve the kale and place it in a small bowl. Run some cold water over it before squeezing all of the excess moisture out. Set aside.
Drop the lentils into the saucepan of boiling water. Cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Lightly wipe out the saucepan. Add the diced potatoes and one of the peeled garlic cloves to the saucepan. Cover the potatoes with cold water and place the saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then simmer until very tender, about 18-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
In a food processor, combine the drained potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the non-dairy milk, and plenty of salt & pepper. Run the food processor’s motor on high until the potatoes have a smooth and mashed texture. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a medium bowl. Roughly chop the cooked kale and fold it into the potatoes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with olive oil and set it on a baking sheet.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and saute until slightly soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Mince the remaining garlic cloves and add them to the pot along with the herbs. Stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and let it sit for 2 minutes.
After two minutes, remove the lid and season the mushrooms with pepper. Stir. Place the lid on and let the pot sit for another two minutes.
The mushrooms should have reduced in volume by at least a third at this point. Add the cooked lentils to the pot. Stir the mushroom and lentil mixture and then add the balsamic vinegar, tamari, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt at this point.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir. Bring the mushrooms to a boil. In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot powder and remaining 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk to combine. Add the arrowroot slurry to the pot and stir. Let the mushrooms simmer until the surrounding liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Pour the mushrooms and gravy into the prepared glass baking dish. Dollop the mashed potatoes on top, and then gently spread them over the entire surface of the mushrooms with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Drizzle the pie with olive oil and sprinkle with some black pepper. Carefully transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling and the potatoes are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove the mushroom gravy pie from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two before serving.