Vegetarian shepherds pie

Lentil Shepherds Pie

Serves 6

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig each rosemary and thyme, or a teaspoon dried herbs
  • 200g spinach or kale
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Large knob of butter
  • About 250g hard cheese like cheddar, grated.

Firstly, peel the potatoes, cut into quarters, and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until a knife slides easily into them, then drain.

Chop the onions, carrots, celery and garlic finely and put in a large, deep frying pan or pot with a couple of tablespoons of oil. Fry gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 – 15 minutes, until the veggies are starting to soften.

Add the rosemary and thyme and fry for a couple of minutes longer. Drain the cans of lentils and add to the vegetables, along with the tomatoes, soy or Worcestershire sauce, and a good seasoning of salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and mash with the butter and some salt and pepper.

Stir the kale or spinach into the lentil mix until it starts to wilt, then pour the whole thing into a large casserole or lasagne dish.

Top with the mash, and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Bake in the oven at gas mark 6 / 180 deg C for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden and starting to crisp up.

Alternatively you could also use leftover mashed potato for the topping, and swap the vegetables for any old bits you might have lurking at the bottom of the fridge – leeks, parsnips, swede, frozen peas or even bits of cooked broccoli would work well here. Just be sure to chop any root vegetables finely and fry for a decent length of time with the onions, whilst adding any leafy or pre-cooked veg just before putting the pie into the oven.

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