Farmers Market Shepherd’s Pie

This post is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Have you noticed how most of our holidays are food focused? And, it’s not just holidays, during big moments, both good and bad, we gather around food. I still remember sharing meals with my family as a child.

Our older children who are now adults reminisce about their favorite childhood meals. The meals we share with our kids will have a lasting impact on them. I believe creating healthy meals and enjoying them together will make your family stronger, both physically and relationally.

If you are looking for a meal that will bring a family together, look no further than this Farmers Market Shepherd’s Pie. It’s perfect for helpers!

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie

I bought these beautiful veggies on a recent trip to the farmers market as part of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Nourishing Arizona campaign. If you want your family to get interested in eating more veggies, a trip to the farmers market is a great start!

I love that this whole meal (except maybe the lentils and spices) are grown locally! My son is slightly obsessed with wanting to become a gardener to grow all our food. We aren’t anywhere close to that but he does a great job of helping pick out fresh produce.

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie

If your kids want to help and are old enough to use a knife, cutting veggies is an easy way for them to help. If not, they can wait until it’s time to mash the sweet potatoes. Even toddlers can help with the measuring after you do the cutting.

You can cook some parts of this Shepherd’s Pie in the Instant Pot. I cooked the potatoes in the Instant Pot while the other ingredients cooked on the stove. If you don’t have an electric pressure cooker, you can bake or boil your potatoes. If baking, just wash your potatoes first, no need to peel them because you’ll be able to scoop the potato out of the skins. If boiling, peel and cut into manageable pieces.

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie

Farmers Market Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe is perfect for potlucks, especially if you don’t know if there will be healthy options.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced and divided
  • 4 large sweet potatoes or yams
  • ¼ cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup dry lentils + 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free baking mix (you may substitute flour if you aren’t gluten-free)
  • 1 ½ cups soy milk

Cooking the Veggies

Put 1 cup of water into a large skillet. Add your cut green beans, sliced carrots, sliced celery, half the garlic and half the onion. Cover with the lid.

Cook the veggies for 10-15 minutes until they are tender-crisp or to your desired crispness.

Pour the veggies into a colander and let the extra liquid drip off until time to assemble. Use the skillet to make the sauce.

Cooking the Lentils

While the veggies are cooking, start cooking your lentils in a medium saucepan.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then add 1 cup of dry lentils and the remaining garlic and onion. You may season them with salt, pepper and other spices.

The lentils will need to cook for about 15 minutes. Most or all of the water will be absorbed. If not, carefully drain it off.

Cooking the Sweet Potatoes

I like cooking potatoes in the Instant Pot because it’s fast and easy. If you have an Instant Pot, wash the potatoes and place them on the wire rack with one cup of water below. Then cook them on manual for 15 minutes with natural pressure release.

Once done and cooled enough to handle, remove the potatoes from the pot, carefully remove the skin, then mash them with ¼ cup of soy milk and a sprinkle of salt.

Cooking the Sauce

The sauce requires constant attention, don’t start it until you can focus on it. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, onion powder to a bowl. Then add 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast and gluten-free baking mix (or flour if you aren’t gluten-free) and mix them together.

Dump that mixture into your skillet. Add 1 ½ cups soy milk and whisk all together. When the mixture starts to clump, alternate using a silicone spatula to smooth it out and scrape the bottom of the skillet, and a whisk to stir it up. You’ll need to keep stirring and scraping until the sauce is thick.

Assembling the Shepherd’s Pie

In a pie pan or 9×9 casserole dish, pour your cooked lentils. I like to take a fork and press them into the bottom to help them stick together a little.

Then, pour in the veggies that have been draining in the colander. Spread them around so they evenly cover the lentil layer.

Pour the sauce over the veggie layer. Give the casserole dish a little shake so that the sauce settles around the veggies.

Carefully scoop out one spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes at a time and plop it on top of the sauce layer. Repeat this until the whole casserole is covered in mashed sweet potatoes. Then you can use a spoon to smooth out the sweet potato layer.

Pop this in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes while everyone gets washed up for dinner.

Farmers Market Shepherd's Pie


You can adapt this recipe and make it using your favorite veggies too! Take a look at this infographic from Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Nourishing Arizona campaign for more tips on picking fresh produce.

How to Pick Produce

 

Creating healthy meals with your family will make a big impact in their future. Eating healthy meals creates a culture where being healthy is a priority. Using real, whole foods and teaching your kids to prepare them will set them up for healthy eating later in life.

It may not be possible to eat every meal together but making it a part of your family’s routine is worth the effort. Years from now, your kids will tell stories about family traditions and the foods they remember eating, let’s make those good memories!

Oil-Free Pumpkin Granola

Since September 1st is the beginning of pumpkin season I decided it was time to share my pumpkin granola recipe. This is no ordinary pumpkin granola! It has my favorite fall flavors in an easy to make oil-free granola.

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

This page contains affiliate links.

Most granola recipes are made with oil and it can be tricky to make it without. The payoff is worth it because you get a delicious chewy granola. (My husband loves chewy granola.) Don’t get me wrong. It still has plenty of crunch from raw pepitas and pecans. If you have a nut allergy, you can leave the pecans out but they are my favorite part!

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

I typically make my granola mild, I don’t want flavor too strong so it doesn’t overpower whatever it is served with. The funny thing is, I can’t stop snacking on this one by itself. I finally had to put it away because it’s way too tempting when left on the counter.

If you are looking for an easy and delicious granola recipe that has the best flavors of fall, try this recipe! You get the pumpkin, maple syrup, the classic pumpkin pie spices, raw pepitas, pecans and dried cranberries!

If you aren’t ready for fall after reading that list, nothing will help you! But don’t worry, if you aren’t a cranberry fan, you can leave them out. I made a batch of both but I’m partial to the cranberries!

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

One important note, if you need to be gluten-free because of an allergy or celiac disease, make sure you use gluten-free oats. I completely trust GF Harvest!

Oil-Free Pumpkin Granola

Enjoy this Pumpkin Granola on vegan yogurt, baked fruit, a smoothie bowl, pumpkin pudding, or like me, by the handful!

Oil-Free Pumpkin Granola
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 5 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups rolled oats (choose certified gluten-free oats if needed)
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plant milk (I used rice milk)
  • ¼ cup raw pepitas
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your rolled oats and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add your pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spices, vanilla and plant milk. Stir well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the oats a little at a time and stir well. Once all the wet ingredients are incorporated into the oats, add the raw pepitas and pecan halves and mix again. Don't add the dried cranberries yet!
  5. Scoop mixture onto the parchment covered baking sheet. Be careful not to get it too close to the edge. If there isn't enough room, use two baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes total but pull it out every 10 minutes to stir gently. Once done, allow to cool.
  7. After the granola is cool, mix in the dried cranberries and store in an airtight container.

You can skip the parchment if you have a Silpat! It’s a non-stick silicone baking mat (and it makes a great gift).

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

Did I leave out any of your favorite fall flavors? 

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

You may have noticed an abundance of Instant Pot recipes lately! I’m working my way through updating old recipes and adapting them for my pressure cooker. My latest success is adapting one of my favorite recipes, Instant Pot Minestrone Soup! Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup! I have been in love with the stove top version of this delicious, plant-based soup for years. The only thing I don’t love about it is how long it takes to make it. It still takes time to cut the veggies but making it in the Instant Pot means I can walk away from it and come back when it’s done. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll love my stove top version of Minestrone Soup that has been a reader favorite for years! Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Pressure Cooking with Pasta

The one thing that concerned me about making Minestrone in a pressure cooker was the noodles. Pasta and pressure cooking don’t always mix. I’ve had the best luck with whole wheat pasta like rotini or penne. I haven’t gotten gluten-free pasta to work in my pressure cooker, yet. If you are gluten-free, I recommend cooking your pasta on the stove and adding it to your soup after it is done. Even if you are not gluten-free, you may want to cook your pasta on the stove anyway. This soup creates a lovely broth, the noodles will soak it up and leave you with a casserole type dish instead of a soup. It tastes great either way but you can avoid that by adding cooked pasta right before serving. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Building Flavor

One of the reasons I’ve always loved Minestrone Soup is the variety of ingredients. You have veggies, beans, pasta and a flavorful broth. When I cook this on the stove I’ll let it simmer and tweak the flavors as it cooks. You can’t do that in the Instant Pot. I use my dry Veggie Broth Mix to give this soup a robust flavor. If you have a favorite veggie broth, by all means, use it instead of water. I simply add 1 Tablespoon of Veggie Broth Mix for each cup of water. For this recipe, that is 1/2 cup of Veggie Broth Mix. You’ll want to add salt and pepper to taste as well. I prefer to sprinkle both on my bowl right before eating. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

This soup has a long ingredient list but it’s really easy to make. If you will be pressed for time, you can precut the onion, carrots, and celery ahead of time. The rest of the ingredients are dumped into the pot.

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)
  • 1 15 oz can white navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups of water with ½ cup Veggie Broth Mix (or 8 cups of your favorite veggie broth)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups whole wheat noodles (or gluten-free noodles if needed)
  • 2 cups spinach (optional)
Instructions
  1. Dump onion, celery, carrots, and canned items into the pot.
  2. Add water and Veggie Broth Mix (or veggie broth) along with other spices.
  3. If using whole wheat noodles, add them to the Instant Pot. Make sure they are covered with liquid. This should be below the max fill line.
  4. Close the lid, press manual and decrease the minutes to 5 minutes. Adjust the pressure to low.
  5. It will take a while for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. After it finishes cooking, use the quick pressure release method. Be careful, escaping steam and liquid will be hot.
  6. Carefully remove the lid and add the spinach. Replace the lid, sealing isn't necessary.
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove lid and stir.

This delicious soup is easy to adapt if you are missing an ingredient. I usually have all of these on hand but occasionally I’ll be missing green beans or spinach. I forgot to add spinach when I made the recipe for these photos! It still tastes great! You can also use frozen or fresh ingredients instead of canned. It still comes out great! Do you love Minestrone Soup? Have you tried it in the Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Before we get too far into this post I need to be upfront. These aren’t actually refried beans. They aren’t fried and contain no oil! I call them Instant Pot Refried Beans so you’ll know this recipe is for the Instant Pot and so you’ll know what to expect bean wise.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

This page contains affiliate links.

In 2012 when I started blogging, one of my first recipes was called Unfried Beans. I love that recipe but it has people confused and it doesn’t exactly rank high in Google searches because no one searches for unfried beans.

This new recipe, designed for the Instant Pot, is basically that same delicious recipe I’ve made hundreds of times. Since it’s all being cooked together I add fresh onion and garlic. I usually added those when I cook beans on the stove top as well.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

I first developed the old recipe when we went plant-based. We wanted the same delicious flavors we had always loved without the meat and lard! It’s kinda gross to think about.

Thankfully, this version uses spices we always have on hand because I put them in everything!

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

If you have a food processor, it will save you a lot of time. I have a 10 cup Hamilton Beach food processor that we’ve used over 5 years. It’s not too expensive and has never let me down.

If you don’t have a food processor you could use a blender, immersion blender, potato masher or a fork. A food processor works the best though.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

We enjoy these beans on anything and everything! Try them in Nachos, Tostadas, burritos or a big bowl by themselves!

Instant Pot Refried Beans
 
Enjoy this easy and delicious refried bean recipe the whole family will love. This oil-free, plant-based recipe is low in fat but high in flavor!
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Ingredients
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to your taste)
Instructions
  1. Add diced onion, minced garlic, spices, beans and water to the Instant Pot.
  2. Cook on manual for 40 minutes on high pressure.
  3. After natural pressure release, scoop out excess water. Reserve it in case you need extra.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, more or less to your own taste
  5. Use a food processor, potato masher or immersion blender to puree.
  6. Add reserved bean water if needed until you get a smooth texture.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

If you have an Instant Pot, be sure to give these refried beans a try! They are perfect for batch cooking because you can use them in so many other recipes!

What are your favorite ways to eat refried beans?

Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs

These Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs are the perfect introduction to tofu!

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

When we first went plant-based I was a little afraid of tofu. I had never tried it and didn’t know what to expect. Years later, I’m happy to say that we love tofu. We don’t have it often but when we do it’s a crowd pleaser.

Cooking Tofu

There are a few different ways I like to eat tofu; we eat it crumbled in a tofu scramble, diced and cooked in a skillet, or cooked in my Air Fryer.

When I bought my GoWiseUSA Air Fryer I had two things I wanted to make, crispy fries and Tofu Kabobs.

Grilling isn’t an option for us. Our grill is pretty old and since we stopped cooking meat, we stopped using it and it fell into disrepair. Broiling and roasting in the summer is out because we live in Arizona and it’s too hot. In the summer, I don’t use my oven because it heats up the house.

You can definitely make these on the grill or in the oven if you don’t have an Air Fryer. I’ve even cooked them in a skillet but they don’t cook as evenly since the individual veggies and tofu pieces don’t all touch the surface of the pan at the same time.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

When I came up with this recipe, I really wanted to mimic the kabobs we used to make on our grill. Those had meat but the tofu was a great replacement. I also wanted to add my favorite veggies! Grilled bell peppers and onions are my favorite veggies to grill! Turns out, they are also great in the Air Fryer.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

If you are new to making tofu there are a few things to know.

First, tofu will take on the flavors of the other things you are cooking, so season your food well.

Second, tofu is packed in water and absorbs it like a sponge. You’ll want to squeeze it out. I used to put it between two plates and put heavy books on top. I recently bought an EZ Tofu Press and it’s much easier to use.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

Pineapple and Tofu Kabobs

Get your wooden skewers ready for these easy and delicious kabobs.

Ingredients for Tofu Kabobs

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 pineapple, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1-2 bell peppers, chopped into large chunks

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Optional sriracha

Do

  1. Press tofu to remove excess water. This will take about 10 minutes. While the tofu is pressing, soak wooden skewers in water. I broke mine in half so they would fit in my Air Fryer.
  2. Mix up the marinade in a shallow bowl or baking dish.
  3. Cube the tofu, then place the tofu in the marinade to soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Chop veggies and pineapple and set aside.
  5. Build the kabobs by alternating veggies, tofu, and pineapple on the skewers.
  6. If cooking in Air Fryer, at 320° for 15 minutes, shaking after 10 minutes. If cooking in a skillet, stir or turn tofu, pineapple, and veggies until lightly browned on all sides.

These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

Use these spices and ingredients as a starting point, add your favorites like mushrooms, grape tomatoes, zucchini, and more!

You should know that the veggies cook way faster than the tofu. If you use small chunks of veggies and big chunks of tofu the veggies will dry out if you cook them longer than 15 minutes.

One last tip! Use the leftover marinade to cook your quinoa, rice or noodles! If you are sauteing the veggies in a pan instead of making kabobs, use the leftover marinade in the skillet. The photo below is pineapple, tofu, and veggies that were sauteed in a skillet. No oil was used, just the marinade or a little water to keep it from sticking.These easy Tofu Kabobs are a great way to introduce your family to tofu!

What are your favorite (plant-based) kabob ingredients?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...