Lentil Shepherd's Pie
This lentil cottage pie recipe was a family favourite growing up - lovingly invented by the OG vegetarian Queen, Mama Grbic.
Great for a cold winter’s day this dish leaves you feeling totally warm and satisfied, like your stomach has been given a big bear-hug.
Lentils are packed with goodness (not to mention everyone’s favourite buzzword *protein*), they’re also super cheap and somehow always found floating around in the back of the pantry.
What more could you want!
Ingredients (serves 5):
2 cups of dried green or brown lentils (you can sub with 2 cans of cooked lentils if you don’t have the time to pre-cook, but I always find dried tastes best!)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 brown onion, diced
A couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 sticks of celery, cut into 1cm wide pieces
2 large carrots, grated
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
2 cups frozen peas
6 medium sized mashing potatoes
Almond or oat milk, unsweetened
Olive oil, salt & pepper
For the lentils:
If you’re using dried lentils, you’ll want to start cooking these first as they take about 40 minutes. Get them on the stove with a ratio of 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils, and add a sprinkle of salt.
Bring them to the boil, and then simmer until all the water has disappeared. Check for softness before taking them off the heat -- you can always add more water if they need to cook a little longer. Set aside when they’re ready.
For the filling:
Fry your onion in olive oil and salt. After about 4 minutes, add the celery.
Add the carrots with a good glug of olive oil, salt and pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes.
Once the carrots have begun to soften, add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. (Trust me on the sugar, it’s a Grbic trick whenever you cook tomatoes.)
Here you can add any optional vegetables you may have at the back of the fridge, like capsicum, mushrooms or even chopped kale. Almost anything will work well!
Let it cook for another five minutes, stirring regularly
Add the cooked lentils, stir through, and turn your pan to a low heat
Taste! I can’t stress this enough. I taste during every step of the cooking process (by dinner time I’m generally no longer hungry - but at least I can be sure I’m serving something delicious)
If needed add salt and pepper, perhaps even a glug of olive oil
Add the frozen peas - they’ll cook in the dish
After another 5 minutes, stir through the garlic and turn to high heat for a final 2 minutes
For the mash:
Boil your potatoes until you can stick a fork through them easily
Drain completely of the water
Add several good glugs of olive oil, half a cup of almond or oat milk and salt (I prefer to use garlic salt)
Mash! Taste! Add more of everything as you need until you get a nice creamy texture & great taste (there are no hard and fast rules about mashed potatoes - all quantities are guesswork and you can’t really go wrong)
Put it all together:
Find a nice baking dish and add the filling, then top with the mashed potato
Cook at 200C for 30 minutes with the lid on (or covered in tinfoil) so the dish heats through
Take the lid off and grill the top for 3-4 minutes to crisp
Voila! This dish is even better the next day so make sure you try save some leftovers for lunch