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Healthy Eating with Friends


 The holidays are here and with the cooler temperatures indoor cooking with friends and family is a must. I have a couple of friends who have food allergies or certain dietary needs. Friend A has a serious gluten allergy, friend B is vegan, and friend C is allergic to beef and most condiments. So, when it comes to social gatherings involving food, meal planning requires extra forethought. Like most I searched the internet (Google and Pinterest) and asked friends for some recipes to help accommodate my nearest and dearest.

When I was probably 11 or 12 years old I tried to eat a vegetarian diet. My mother humored me and allowed me to try tofu hot dogs. Let’s just say the new diet only lasted a day. As I grew up I still tried different recipes and dishes just to help broaden my palate. Needless to say I did come across gluten free and even vegan dishes that either tasted amazing or were an experience to remember (not in a good way).

With that all said I have found some recipes that not only my friends enjoy but dishes that I like to whip up for myself. Keep in mind I am no Julia Child but I do enjoy cooking. Bon appetit!

This recipe for Sweet Potato Shepherd's pie was discovered on Pure Ella's website

Here is what you need:


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas (frozen are fine)
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn
  • 1 large can of lentils (or 1 cup dried lentils, cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten-free soy sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried paprika
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • grapeseed oil for cooking
  • 2-3 sprigs of green onions for serving


Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters (so they cook faster). Heat water in a large pot, and cook the potatoes in 1 teaspoon salted water. 

In a large pan, saute the chopped onions and carrots and cook until golden. Add the frozen peas and corn and cooked lentils and cover to cook for a few minutes. Add a bit of water if these veggies start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add in the soy sauce, and season with cumin and turmeric, salt and pepper. Keep covered, turn down the heat to low.

Your potatoes should be boiled by now, drain and mash them with a potato masher. Taste and season with salt and pepper.


Scoop the lentil veggies mixture on the bottom of an oven-safe dish or ramekins (for individual sizes) and top with the mashed potatoes. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

NOTES : both baked and no-baked options are great it all depends on the timing and how quickly you would like this dish to turn around. If you’re making this as a casual dinner on a busy evening forgo the baking and enjoy a quick delicious comforting meal. If you’re making it as a large family dinner or say Thanksgiving dish and waiting for company. Then I would do the baking version just because you can keep it in the oven until it’s ready to be served and keeps it out of the way until you’re ready.