Total time: 1 hour || Active time: 30 minutes
This is what nightmares are made of! If nightmares were totally delicious. A grizzly green ghoul with haunted olive eyes, gaping radish fangs and ferocious claws…of thyme? Vegan food hasn’t been this scary since the 80s!
But beneath all the horror, this is a Lentil Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie With Scallion Cilantro Mashed Potatoes. Unfortunately, there’s nothing scary about that. So to name this macabre creation, I turned to the Post Punk Kitchen Facebook and ran a contest to find the perfect title. There were so many good ones, but come on…Monster Mash? That took the cake. Or took the potato, as it were. The winner will be receiving a signed copy of Isa Does It plus $25 to her favorite charity!
A few runner-up titles: Creature From The Black Legume, Mr. Potato Dead, Ghoul Interrupted, and Frankenthyme! Haha, good work, guys. Check back on Facebook soon for another Halloween recipe and your chance to win.
But for now, here we are: the perfect Halloween feast! DIG IN AT YOUR OWN RISK. And check out this video for a little extra guidance. (Watch with the sound on for the full effect.)
~Hey, cilantro haters! You can totally replace that herb with some parsley or extra scallions, if you prefer.
~For extra decadence, replace the almond milk in the potatoes with cashew cream. Yum!
~I used white pepper in the potatoes so that you wouldn’t be able to see it. But if you don’t have any, black pepper is totally fine. Maybe your ghouls have freckles?
For the mashed potato ghouls:
3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2 inch chunks or so
2 cups chopped scallions, green parts only
1 cup fresh cilantro, including stems
1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk (or your fave unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
For the lentil mushroom shepherd guts:
2 cups cold vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, medium dice
2 medium carrots, sliced into thin half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 lb cremini mushroom, chopped (about pea sized pieces)
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (plus more, to taste)
4 cups cooked lentils
1 cup frozen peas
Pimento stuffed green olives
Make the mashed potatoes:
Place potatoes in a large pot and submerge by an inch in cold water. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt into the water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook until very tender.
In the meantime, place scallions, cilantro and milk in a blender and puree until relatively smooth and bright ghoulish green!
Once potatoes are tender, drain them, then place immediately back in the pot. Do a preliminary mash with a potato masher, just to get them broken up. Add the oil and the blender mixture, salt and pepper and mash until very smooth. Taste for salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
Make the lentil layer:
In a measuring cup, mix together the broth and cornstarch until mostly dissolved. Mix in the tomato paste and set aside (we’ll use this to thicken later on.)
Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and carrots in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, just until fragrant. Add mushrooms, celery, and thyme along with a bunch of fresh black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until mushroom have released a lot of moisture. Add the cooked lentils and use your spatula to much them up a bit right in the pan. This creates a “ground beef” effect. :)
Add the cornstarch/broth mixture, and mix well. Let cook until gravy-like and thickened. Fold in the peas. Taste for salt and seasoning.
Now comes the fun part! Slice olive into 1/8 inch thick “eyes.” The ends will need to be a separate snack, since you’ll just want to use the pieces with pimento in the center.
Slice radishes into 1/8th inch thick discs, and slice those discs into halfmoons. Then use a paring knife to carve out triangles for teeth. Have fun with it! Don’t worry about perfection here. (View video above for reference)
Strip thyme sprigs of their leaves until reaching their “claws.”
Have ready a large freezer bag with a 3/4 inch hole sliced out of the corner. Fill bag with some ghoulish mashed potatoes. This works best if they’re still warm!
Now fill individual bowls with shepherd guts. Take your mashed potato bag and squeeze ghouls into existence right onto each bowl of guts.
Place sliced olives into its eye sockets. Postition radishes for mouths. Position into mouth. Attach stems to the ghoul’s arm sockets. It’s alive! Ahh!