Once it a while I like to go crazy and have a totally vegan meal and this vegan shepherd’s pie was one such occasion. Well okay, it was an almost vegan meal, an almost vegan shepherd’s pie. I did end up using normal flora and a little cream (they were what I had in the fridge) to make the mashed potato topping so there was dairy in the version I made. Guilty. But you could make just as nice a version of this without any dairy products and make a truly vegan meal.
This is a rich, hearty and satisfying bit of comfort food. I find that in dishes like this, ones where you would traditionally use minced lamb or beef, you don’t lose out if you switch them up and replace the beef or lamb mince with lentils and beans. Lentils give a very similar meaty texture and taste to the finished dish. Plus, you might be doing something good for the planet.
So let’s get into today’s recipe, the vegan shepherd’s pie:
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
1.2kg mixed maris piper and sweet potatoes
40-50g dairy-free margarine
Dairy-free cream alternative
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
350g button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
12-14 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 can of lentils
1 can of cannellini beans
100-200ml vegetable stock
Zest of one lemon
Ready made breadcrumbs
Olive Oil, you can use oil from the tomatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste
Begin by preheating your oven to 200c/ Gas mark 6.
We’ll start with the potatoes. Peel the potatoes and chop them into even chunks. Pop on a pan of water and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or till tender then drain and pop them aside to dry out a little more before we carry on with them.
On to the filling. Prepare all the vegetables as directed above and assemble them all ready to go. Cook the onions, carrots, celery and garlic with a little oil for a few minutes before adding the dried herbs (thyme & coriander).
Add the vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for around 10 minutes before adding 100 ml of the stock. Add the lentils and cannellini beans,bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, stirring through.
Pop the potatoes back on a gentle heat. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes with a little butter, salt and pepper to taste. Use a wooden spoon to beat to a creamy consistency as you pour in some milk. Keep beating till you achieve your desired consistency.
Take a large dish to make the shepherd’s pie in. Spoon the lentil and bean filling in first and smooth out. Top with the potato and smooth this too, it should look something like this…
Mix the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, 1 clove of garlic and a little olive oil together and sprinkle over the top. I also topped with a few knobs of margarine to give it a golden crust on top. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, or till piping hot and then serve a generous portion to everyone.