For years I hated shepherd's pie and would dread it being served up for dinner. Since perfecting my veggie version, however it has become a staple of my midweek menu.
This recipe uses lentils instead of meat for plant-based protein as well as fibre. In addition to the lentils, using tomatoes, sweet potato, carrots, courgettes all count towards your 5 a day (about 3 per portion).
Ingredients (serves 6):
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 vegetable stock cube
1 whole courgette, grated
1 whole carrot, grated
240g dry lentils
1 white potato
3 sweet potatoes
Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the red onion and garlic. Cook until they start to soften and then add the stock cube. Add the grated vegetables and fry all together for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add in the lentils and tomatoes, making sure they are mixed in well and cover, continue to cook over a low heat.
Whilst the lentil mixture is softening in the pan, chop all the potatoes into equally sized pieces and boil or steam until soft (I tend to boil them for around 15 minutes). Once they are soft, drain the potatoes and mash with the remaining oil, long with salt and pepper to taste. Once the potatoes are mashed, the lentil mixture should be cooked through. Check that the lentils are soft, and that the mixture is not too runny - it shouldn't have any loose water sitting on top.
Spoon the lentil mixture into an ovenproof dish and then top with the mashed potato. Use a fork to create ridges on the top - these bits should go nice a crispy! Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the top is crispy. I serve this with peas and broccoli for a lovely comforting midweek meal.