I love making shepherd’s pie almost as much as I love eating it! It was one of the first things that I tried when I became veggie over 20 years ago, and I was amazed at why all shepherd’s/cottage pies couldn’t be meat-free, as they seemed greatly improved. This is a slightly spicy version to warm up those long autumn evenings…
400g red split lentils, rinsed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 tbs olive oil
1 red chilli, diced (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large courgette, chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tins of cooked kidney beans, drained
150g frozen peas
1 bay leaf
700ml good quality vegetable stock from boullion
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
600g potatoes, peeled and diced
75g mature cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion, chilli and garlic for approximately 5 minutes, until soft.
2. Add the courgette, carrots and herbs and cook for a further 8 minutes before adding the lentils, tomatoes, cumin and paprika.
3. Add the stock and bay leaf and simmer gently for 20 minutes before adding the peas and kidney beans.
4. Meanwhile, make the mashed potato by boiling the potatoes for 15 minutes then mash with the butter and milk. Season to taste. (Use soya milk and spread for the vegan option)
5. Remove the bay leaf then pour the cooked lentil mixture in a large casserole dish, top with the potato and sprinkle generously with the cheese. Put under the grill for 5 minutes to brown. (Omit the cheese for the vegan option). Serve immediately.