There are many versions of veggie shepherds pie, my children don’t like the meal ‘trying’ to be the real version with a substitute meat, and substitute meat options may mean your meal is still partial processed. The favourite in our house is a carrot and lentil version, I normally make the ‘mince’ in the slower cooker so I can batch cook and freeze saving time for future meals. This is our version of the BBCGoodfoods Veggie Shepherds pie
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 large carrots, sliced and quartered
2 tbsp thyme chopped
200ml red wine (vegetarian/vegan) – optional
150ml water if using dry lentils 100ml if using tinned lentils
400g can chopped tomatoes
One large squirt tomato puree paste
1 Garlic clove thinly chopped
2 vegetable stock cubes, low salt
410g can green lentils or one cup dry puy lentils (wash and drain dry lentils)
1 cup red lentils (wash and drain dry lentils)
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
25g butter/ vegan substitute – optional
85g vegetarian mature cheddar, grated, if vegan Nutritional Yeast
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots, garlic and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the wine, 150ml water and the tomatoes, then sprinkle in the stock cubes and simmer for 10 mins. (If cooking for veggie sceptics, young children, those that don’t like veg at this stage you may want to put all the ingredients into a food processor to chop very small, then add back to pan) Tip in the can of lentils, including their juice,the dry red lentils then cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots still have a bit of bite and the lentils are pulpy.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 15 mins until tender, drain well, then mash with the butter and season to taste. Pile the lentil mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the cheese ( or nutritional yeast) and remaining thyme. The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cook for 20 mins if cooking straight away, serve with some green veg.