If a shepherd’s pie contains lamb because shepherds keep lambs and a cottage pie contains beef because…beef isn’t lamb, which is a vegetarian version? I’m calling it a vegetarian shepherd’s pie because I think that sounds better but, if it is actually a vegetarian cottage pie I apologise.
We’re not vegetarians. Far from it, we absolutely love meat so this recipe may come as something of a shock. However, my reasons for choosing it for dinner are threefold. Firstly, we’re trying to save money and meat is expensive. Secondly, Husband has been having a lot of trouble with his back and I’m trying to get back into running. So, while we’re far from on a health kick, we are both trying to lose a little weight and tone up a bit. Lastly, I honestly think sometimes losing the meat forces you to come up with creative new ideas and enjoy other flavours more. Vegetarian meals can be wonderfully tasty, healthy and nutritious.
You will need:
- 200g Cooked Green Lentils
- 6 Carrots
- 250g Frozen peas
- 150g Button Mushrooms
- 1 Red onion
- 2 Veg stock cubes
- 1 Splash Henderson’s relish
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1tbsp Mixed herbs
- Mashed Potatoes and cheese to top
I’ll admit I went into my vegetarian shepherd’s pie a little blindly. If, like me, you are a meat eater you may now be thinking “how do you cook a lentil??”. I had no idea. Fortunately, there are instructions on the packet. You boil them for 10 minutes and then simmer for 40 before draining. You can do this earlier and keep them to one side if that’s easier for you. They look a bit gross!
When it comes to cooking, first, you want to peel and chop your potatoes and carrots as well as chopping the onion and button mushrooms if they are a little large.
Lightly fry the onion in a little cooking oil on the hob for a few minutes until softened. Add the carrots, mushrooms and peas. Stir together well.
Next, add the lentils.
Pour in enough cold water to cover all your ingredients. I find this is around 500ml but don’t worry if it’s more or less. Stir everything together and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, add Henderson’s, salt and pepper, herbs and tomato puree before crumbling in the stock cubes. I’m going to be honest here…we used beef stock. Because we’re not vegetarians and we like a beefy flavour. So mine wasn’t exactly 100% a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, but yours could be!
Reduce to a simmer and leave for 1 hour, or until nearly all the liquid has reduced. Stirring around every 10 minutes.
With 30 minutes to go, bring your potatoes to the boil and leave for 20 minutes. Drain and mash with butter, milk and a little salt and pepper. Leave to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
When the pie mix is ready, remove from the heat and empty into an oven proof bowl.
Top with mash and grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbling.
Alternately you could make your vegetarian shepherd’s pie earlier in the day and just reheat when you’re ready. Make sure the filling is bubbling under the mash before serving. This could take around 30 minutes.
I was surprised at how nice this was if I’m being totally honest. It was full of flavour, exceptionally filling and it had a fantastic texture. The Boy actually couldn’t tell the difference, he said it tasted just as good as ever!
Vegetarian Shepherd's pie is a great alternative to the meaty version
- • 200g Cooked Green Lentils
- • 6 Carrots
- • 250g Frozen peas
- • 150g Button Mushrooms
- • 1 Red onion
- • 2 Veg stock cubes
- • 1 Splash Henderson’s relish
- • Salt and Pepper to taste
- • 1tbsp Tomato Puree
- • Mixed herbs
- • Water
- • Mashed Potatoes and cheese to top
Peal and roughly chop the vegetables
Fry the onions in a little oil until softened
Add the peas, carrots and mushrooms
Stir together well
Add the cooked lentils and mix together
Cover with water and bring to the boil
Reduce to a simmer and add Hendersons, tomato puree, herbs and salt and pepper
Crumble in the stock and stir thoroughly
Simmer for 1 hour, stirring regularly
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Tip the mix into an oven proof bowl, top with mashed potato and grated cheese
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes