Lentil Shepherds Pie

Shepherds pie, or cottage pie - who really knows which is which? was always a firm staple in my house growing up.  When I turned Vegetarian it was quite simple to replace the meat for Quorn or soy mince but since going Vegan & also being Gluten intolerant things got a bit trickier.

I kept seeing recipes online where people would substitute the meat element for lentils and to be honest I was kinda like, lentils...boring!  To me they were the food that Mum threw into soups that kind of just existed at the bottom of the bowl & didn't do much else, ohhhhhhh how wrong I was.

Since then I've used the magical ingredients in many dishes including taco's, chilli and bolognese but one of my favourite ways to use them is in a shepherds pie.  It's vastly becoming my favourite meal ever, especially in the colder months when you just want something warm and comforting and there is something so homely and warming about a shepherds pie for me.  Not to mention I whip it up the night before and just pop into the oven during the week.  Simples.

So, ingredient wise this recipe (if you can call it that) doesn't call for very much.  You will need;
  • Tinned green lentils, or dry if your prefer.  I find the tinned kind cook a little faster.
  • Potatoes, and lots of em', I mean I AM IRISH afterall.
  • Carrots, onion and peas
  • Stock cube
  • Spices or if your feeling lazier, Schwartz gluten free shepherds pie mix.

I firstly start off by adding some oil to a pan and saute the onion until soft.  At this stage I like to throw in some Garlic and chilli (I add this to everrrrrrrrything) and then add in the finely cubed carrots and allow to soften.

Once those are slighly softened I drain and rinse the tin of green lentils and add this in to the mix.  I boil up around a pint or so of veggie stock cube and add in allowing the lentils to soak in the flavour and soften.  Add in more water if this is not enough.

Once everything has softened I then throw in the spice pack and add a touch more water, I would suggest adding 1/2 a packet as I have found the full packet can be a little over powering and takes over the dish a little.  If you are making a larger quantity you could get away with the whole pack.

Once stirred through, add in the peas and allow these to defrost and cook slightly.  Dice the potatoes and put onto boil.  Add the mixture to the bottom of a caserole or baking dish and allow to cool.  Once the potatoes are soft, drain and mash with a little non-dairy butter and add to the top of the dish.  Using a fork spread the mixture and create a lined pattern, I find the texture helps get the top extra crispy.

Place in the oven for 20mins until warm and the top is as crispy as you like.   Please note this recipe does feed 4 people if served with other veg, or two greedy people who top with a side of broccoli.  For reference I do use a Pyrex 30x20 roasting dish to cook this in, you could cook in a small dish and have more of a lentil to potato ratio.

Please let me know if you do give this dish a try, or tweet me a photo @hello_saralou.