by Marygrace Taylor—
Even though the calendar doesn’t say so yet, we’re all starting to feel that extra snappy chill that tells us winter has arrived. Even down here in Austin, evening temperatures have plunged into the 40’s and 50’s, and I’m left craving some serious comfort food. But nutritionally, mac and cheese every night just won’t cut it. So I came up with this veggie-packed shepherd’s pie that gets its protein boost from creamy split peas instead of the usual ground beef. It’s warm and satisfying—and a dish that kids are sure to love, since it’s topped with mashed potatoes. The next time your family wants something cozy and comforting for dinner, try this. And if you like this recipe, be sure to sign up for KIWI magazine’s seasonal cooking e-newsletter, KIWI Cooks—where you’ll get plenty more just like it!
Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Split Peas
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
This hearty casserole, which works equally well as a weeknight dinner or a holiday main dish. Kids will love the bright, sunny color of the yellow split peas, but green split peas work equally well.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pie plate
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
½ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cooked yellow split peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup 1 percent milk
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with olive oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Add the diced potatoes to the boiling water and cook until fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. While the potatoes cook, add the olive oil and the onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften and the mushrooms have cooked down. Add the split peas, garlic, and thyme and cook 2 minutes more, then add the vegetable broth. Allow the mixture to simmer while you make the mashed potatoes.
4. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the pot. Add the butter and use a fork or potato masher to mash the potatoes. Slowly pour in the milk while you continue to mash, using a little bit more or less to reach the consistency you like. Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more seasoning if necessary.
5. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pie plate (there should be some broth still left in the skillet; pour that on top). Smooth with a spatula, then spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top.
6. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are just beginning to brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving: calories 312, fat 9 g, protein 9 g, carbohydrates 50 g, dietary fiber 9 g