Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort meal, and here we’ve given you two versions – one with beef (technically a cottage pie) and a plant-based version with green lentils. If you’re weaning yourself off sugar, the sweet potato and the tomatoes will give this a natural sweetness to help calm any cravings.
It’s also a great way to get extra vegetables into children. My son won’t eat any of these veggies on their own, but he happily wolfed down the lentil version without flinching – success! I’ve given you the weight of the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes as there’s nothing worse than discovering you haven’t got enough potato for the topping.
- 1tbsp - olive oil
- 1 - medium brown onion, roughly diced
- 2 - cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 - small (or 1 large) carrots, roughly diced
- 2 - stalks celery, roughly sliced
- 0.5cup - vegetables of choice, such as sliced mushrooms, diced red capsicum or finely chopped kale
- 500g - beef mince OR 1 cup dried green lentils
- 1 tbsp - tomato paste
- 1 tbsp - soy sauce
- 400g - tinned tomatoes
- 2cup - vegetable stock
- For the topping:
- 2 large - sweet potato, peeled and diced (yield 800 grams)
- 20g - butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
- Fry the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery for 8-10 minutes until they start to soften. Add other vegetables, frying for another minute.
- For the beef version: add the mince and break it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to separate and brown. Once all the mince is well-browned, add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool and proceed to step 6.
- For the vegetarian version: add the lentils, and stir well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes until the lentils are softened. They should have just a little bite left to them. Don’t let them turn to mush! Set aside to cool and proceed to step 6.
- For the topping: Boil the sweet potato for 10-15 minutes until a knife pierces the flesh easily. Drain and return to the saucepan.
- Add the butter, salt and pepper, and mash using a potato masher or just a fork if that’s what you’ve got on hand!
- To assemble: Use an oven dish with a volume of around 1 litre. Tip your base mixture into the dish and even out.
- Drop the sweet potato topping on in big lumps, then use the back of a fork to gently spread. The ridges created by the fork will help the topping crisp up in the oven.
- At this point you can freeze the pie for future meals, otherwise, cook in the oven for 20 minutes until the topping starts to brown.
- Serve with a crisp salad or some steamed green beans tossed in olive oil and minced garlic.