I’ve been doing pretty well with my twice a week vegan dinners, thanks to some inspiring recipes and much appreciated time to make them. This shepherd’s pie was one of my first attempts and it is definitely going to become a dinner staple. The filling is made of lentils, mushrooms and a rather unexpected secret ingredient – oats! You’re probably thinking, oh yes lentil porridge, where have you been all my life – not. But trust me on this. The oats are undetectable – Mark had no idea they were there and he will always call out anything bad/weird in my dishes. The oats bind the lentils and mushrooms together, giving the filling a rich and creamy texture, like mince with sauce. Add a little veg stock and spices and this tastes so similar to meat that it’s hard to believe it’s all veg.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potato
- 2-3 medium sweet potatoes (depending on how much topping you want)
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 punnets white or brown mushrooms, half sliced and half chopped into quarters
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tsp lazy garlic (or minced fresh garlic)
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- Splash of white wine
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1-2 tbsp soya sauce
- Paprika, dried mixed herbs, cayenne pepper and any other spices you like
- 1 – 2 tsp lime juice
- Cook the sweet potatoes either in the microwave or oven (I used the microwave as I wanted the insides super soft)
- Places lentils, oats, salt and bay leaf in a medium pot and simmer uncovered til lentils are soft but not mushy – this is important! If you overcook them, the filling will have the texture of sticky glue and your lentil porridge fears will have come true. Cooking time is roughly 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent oats from sticking.
- Drain lentil mixture and toss the bay leaf.
- While the lentils are cooking, in a separate pan saute the mushrooms in olive oil with some spices of your choice. When the mushies are soft and browning nicely, add the onion and garlic and saute til onions are translucent.
- Make sure your heat is on medium and add the lentil mixture to the pan, combining well.
- Add veg stock, wine, soya sauce, tomato paste and lime juice to taste. At this point you can make the mixture meatier with more salt and tomato or fresher with lime juice and wine. Keep tasting til you get the right balance (my favourite part of cooking!).
- While the mixture is simmering, peel your sweet potatoes and mash the flesh with a little coconut oil and salt.
- Pour filling into baking dish – this recipe makes a standard pie size with a cup of filling left over – and smooth sweet potato over the top.
- Bake at 180 degrees until the edges are bubbling and the potato turns golden – about 20-25 minutes.
Tip: for more traditional shepherd’s pie, swap the sweet potato for regular potato.