While corned beef and Irish soda bread may take center stage at this time of year, these foods aren’t exactly known for their health benefits. This week, I’ve decided to focus on some healthy Irish-inspired dishes that you can feel good about preparing for your family, any time of the year.
Those who know me, know that I frequent my local Kimberton Whole Foods in Downingtown for all of my organic produce and natural-product needs. I'm pleased to share that the great folks at Kimberton will be sharing some of my recipes with their customers over the coming months. Check out the notes in the recipes below to see how I like to use my favorite Kimberton products - plus, they've given me the inside scoop on some sales they're running starting Tuesday the 14th, and allowed me to share them with you. (Scroll down to see!)
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
We leave out the beef in this updated version of a classic. Fiber and protein-rich lentils give this dish a huge nutritional boost, with plenty of stick-to-your-ribs staying power.
- 2 pounds potatoes, such as russet or red, peeled and cubed (about 4 medium)*
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (I like Soy-Free Earth Balance)**
- 2 ½ cups vegetable stock, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (always organic and unrefined!)**
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 oz white or cremini mushrooms, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 heaping tsp fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
- ½ to 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 can (cooked) lentils (about 2 cups)
- Seasonings: 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, dijon mustard, or red wine vinegar (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes, mash with butter, ¼ to ½ cup stock, salt, and pepper, until smooth. Adjust consistency by adding more or less stock. Keep warm.
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, then add carrot, celery, and onion. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until onions are tender, adjusting the heat to medium-low as needed to prevent burning. Add mushrooms, garlic, and thyme, and heat for another 5-10 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and have released their liquid. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Finally, stir in 1 to 2 cups stock and bring to a gentle simmer. You’re looking for a thickened-gravy consistency.
Stir in peas and lentils, then adjust seasonings as desired: note options in the ingredient list.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a casserole dish with the vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over top and spread gently to cover. Top potatoes with a sprinkling of paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top with chopped parsley and serve.
Tips: Try using mashed sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes for a variation on this meal. You can also add spinach, kale, or other greens to this dish - simply stir them in when you add the peas and lentils, and cook until wilted. This dish is flexible and versatile, so feel free to add whatever vegetables you have on hand.
A mild and healthful cruciferous vegetable, cabbage contains plenty of antioxidants and vitamins, and is a great addition to a healthful diet.
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 small cabbage, sliced in half, cored, and sliced thinly*
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegan Shamrock Shake
While McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes have a cult-following - who doesn’t love the sweet combination of mint and vanilla? - I obviously won’t be spending my money there. Here’s a version that I can make at home and feel good about. See notes below for a more decadent version that still uses organic, plant-based ingredients.
- 1 banana
- Large handful of fresh baby spinach
- About 1 cup unsweetened flax milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk (I love SO Brand unsweetened coconut milk in this application - mild yet slightly sweet.)**
- 1 scoop plant protein powder - optional (I like Garden of Life Raw Protein)**
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste (Frontier Brand is the best!!)**
- Crushed ice, optional (½ cup)
- Sweetener, to taste: sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave - optional (depends on your protein powder)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. (We recommend adding your sweetener last, only if needed.) Enjoy!
Looking for something more confectionary, like the original? I love Luna and Larry’s brand vanilla ice cream. Blend with plant milk, mint extract, vanilla extract, and a handful of fresh spinach, for color. (Or, use fresh mint for color and omit the mint extract, if you can!)
*Organic Red Potatoes and Green Cabbage are on sale at Kimberton Whole Foods starting March 14th!
**My favorite brands are all available at Kimberton Whole Foods