There’s nothing more comforting on a cold winter’s night than a large bowl of this healthy vegetarian shepherd’s pie. What’s more it freezes really well so we often make a few small ones, perfect on those evenings where you just don’t feel like cooking or find yourself staring at an empty fridge.
It’s a delicious way to add fibre-rich beans and legumes to the diet and the soluble fibre in the lentils is particularly good at binding with cholesterol. We use black lentils as unlike other varieties, they contain anthocyanins – the potent antioxidants found in blueberries. These anthocyanins help to protect our cells and can offer protection against disease.
We top it with a mash made from a combination of sweet potatoes and celeriac to add even more nutrients and fibre. We love sweet potatoes as they’re a rich source of beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant and is vital to the immune system, skin and a healthy gut.
It’s important to eat a rainbow of food every day to get the broadest range of nutrients and this dish is a great way to incorporate lots of colours. To really boost the nutritional profile, serve with a side of greens sautéed in garlic.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 leek finely chopped
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 stick celery diced
- 2 tins tomatoes
- 400 g passata
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
- 1 tin black lentils
- 1 tin borlotti beans
- 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp worcestershire
- 3 sweet potatoes diced
- 1 celeriac diced
- 1 handful grated cheddar cheese optional
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions. Cook for about 2 minutes before adding the garlic, leeks, carrots and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the tinned tomatoes, passata and dried herbs and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, gently boil the sweet potato with the celeriac for about 25 minutes (until a fork goes into them easily). Drain them and put them back in the saucepan, add a knob of butter and mash with a fork or potato masher. You can add some milk or water if the mash is too dry.
- Once the veg and tomatoes have been simmering, add in the lentils, beans and parsley. Stir in the worcestershire sauce, adding a little at a time to taste. Season with salt and pepper and place the veg filling in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Cover with the mash and some grated cheese if using.
- Bake the pie in a hot oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling at the edges. We love to serve this pie with some steamed or sautéed greens - spinach, tender stem broccoli or chard.
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