I’m not really into the whole “meat substitute” idea – for example, I love tofu, but only when it’s not trying to masquerade as something else. So I don’t usually bother trying to convert a meaty dish into a vegetarian one.
But once in awhile I go for it. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it doesn’t. One of my recent successes? The cottage pie I tried last week, using lentils instead of ground meat.
This is not the first time I’ve subbed in lentils for meat, but this attempt probably produced one of the best results. Texture’s a bit different, of course, but it’s still wonderfully satisfying.
It is entirely possible to make this vegan, since the only dairy is a sprinkle of cheese and a couple tablespoons of butter… and I might even omit the cheese next time.
If you’re starting with dried lentils, about one cup will yield three cups cooked. You can cook them in veggie broth if you like, but water should work fine too. I recommend prepping your veggies while the lentils are cooking.
Canned lentils should work, though I haven’t tried that yet.