Growing up, shepherd’s pie was a comfort classic in our house. As much as I love a nice hit of spice, (dousing hot sauce on pretty much every meal I eat) there’s something so satisfying about having some good old British grub. This fully plant-based lentil shepherd’s pie really hits the spot.
Ready-made meal or restaurant shepherd’s pie is often thickened with flour, and often this is wheat flour rather than cornflour, so they ain’t gluten-free! I sometimes think that adding flour to things is the cheats way of thickening things, because this recipe doesn’t have any flour at all in it.
This recipe is absolutely packed with veggie protein so it’s an incredibly satisfying meal, perfect for winter weeknights or even Sunday dinner!
We buy dried green lentils in bulk so coming up with various ways to jazz them up has been fun. I love lentils in place of mince in dishes. Using mince meat substitutes is a bit iffy for us, since most bags of dried soya mince I have seen have traces of gluten and quorn mince has gluten-free barley malt in it which Michael tends to react to. Lentils are a straightforward swap that still have a decent bite to them and don’t leave you feeling groggy afterwards like a heavy meat-based version may.
Adding sundried tomatoes to the recipe came to me after doing a bit of online scouting. Most recipes I saw called for tins of tomatoes being added, but I didn’t want the overwhelming tomato taste because I felt it would be too close to bolognese. The sundried tomatoes add a nice savoury zing.
Chucking some spring onions into the mash elevates the dish even further, adding extra texture and flavour.
This lentil shepherd’s pie freezes and re-heats well too, and is perfect for babies if you siphon some off into little ramekin dishes and blitz the lentil mixture a bit. I guarantee after making this dish, you’ll want to make it a regular feature on your meal plan!
- 1kg white potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp dairy-free butter
- 2-5 tbsp dairy-free milk
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (sundried tomato oil from jar would be nice!)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1-2 leeks, chopped
- 8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 x 400g tin of lentils, drained
- ½ tbsp dried thyme
- ½ tbsp dried rosemary
- 400ml vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
- Place your peeled and chopped potatoes in a pot of water and bring to the boil.
- In the meantime, fry onion and carrot in oil on a medium heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes until softened.
- Add the leeks and sundried tomatoes to the pan and cook until softened.
- Toss in the herbs and drained lentils, mixing it all together,
- Add the stock, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and reduce to low until the liquid has mostly evaporated but the mixture is still moist, around 15 minutes.
- When your potatoes are soft enough, drain the water. Add the butter and mash, adding milk a tablespoon at a time, seasoning with salt and pepper. Get it to a creamy, spreadable consistency which will be easy to layer on top of your lentil mixture. Mix the spring onions through.
- Pour your lentil mixture into a casserole dish, spreading evenly. Top with the spring onion mash and flick up peaks in the potato so they will get crispy in the oven.
- Pop it in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until the mash is crispy. Serve with extra veg!