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These mini vegetarian shepherd's pies feature lentils, carrots and corn, crowned with a velvety mashed potato topping. Vegetarian Shepherd's Pies. Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each. Prep Time: 45 minutes. Total Time: 45 minutes.

EATINGWELL: Vegetarian Shepherd's Pies

These mini vegetarian shepherd's pies feature lentils, carrots and corn, crowned with a velvety mashed potato topping. The recipe can also be made in a broiler-safe casserole dish. Serve with a spinach salad with oranges, walnuts and red-wine vinaigrette.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pies

Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

1 pound Yukon Gold or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

1/2 cup finely diced carrot

1 tablespoon water

3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 14-ounce can vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned (rinsed) lentils (see Tip)

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Add buttermilk, butter and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until mostly smooth.

While the potatoes are cooking, position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat four 10- to 12-ounce broiler-safe ramekins (or an 8-inch-square broiler-safe baking dish) with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a broiler-safe baking sheet.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in corn, thyme and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in lentils and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Divide the hot lentil mixture among the prepared ramekins (or spread in the baking dish). Top with the mashed potatoes. Broil, rotating halfway through, until the potato is lightly browned in spots, 6 to 10 minutes.

To make ahead: Prepare the filling, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Tip: To cook lentils, place in a saucepan, cover with at least 1 inch of water, bring to a simmer and cook until just tender, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of lentil. Drain and rinse with cold water. 1 cup dry lentils equals about 2 1/2 cups cooked. Or use canned lentils: 15-ounce can equals 1 1/2 cups. Rinse canned lentils before cooking with them to reduce the sodium by about 35 percent.

Recipe nutrition:

Per serving: 326 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 4 g mono); 9 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 12 g protein; 10 g fiber; 679 mg sodium; 842 mg potassium

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (65 percent daily value), Folate (45 percent dv), Vitamin C (25 percent dv), Potassium (24 percent dv), Iron (20 percent dv), Magnesium (16 percent dv).

3 Carbohydrate Servings

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 fat

(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)


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