Lentils are one of my favourite foods. My boyfriend and I have a long-standing joke as my answer to every meal is: “let’s just bulk it up with lentils!”
They’re such a brilliant staple to have in any kitchen cupboard as they’re versatile, cheap and so nutritious. Since they’re also a great source of iron, they’re a great meat replacement in vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Anyway, this is one of my favourite ways to use the humble little lentil. When cooked into a shepherd’s pie, it has such a delicious, meaty feel to it and tastes so comforting. While you can add any form of mash you want to this (sweet potato or your ordinary potato mash would work equally well), I love using cauliflower as it’s lower in carbs and is full of goodness – think lots of vitamin C and K, folate (great for mums-to-be) and vitamin B6, too.
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie With Cauliflower Mash
- Serves 4
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Two handfuls mushrooms, chopped
- Small handful fresh thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 500g cooked Puy lentils
- 2 vegetable stock cubes (or substitute for 1 cup homemade veg stock and omit the wine)
- For the cauliflower mash-
- 1 extra large cauliflower (or two smaller heads), cut into florets
- 2 garlic cloves, roasted
- Handful coriander
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast OR cream cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: vegan cheese to top
- Gently heat some coconut oil in a pan, then fry the onion for a minute or so. Add in the carrots, celery and garlic, then fry until the onion is colouring and the veggies are softened (around ten minutes). Add in the mushroom, then fry for another couple of minutes.
- Stir in the herbs, then tip in the wine and crumble in the stock cubes. Leave to simmer for around 20 minutes, then stir in the lentils and allow to cook a little longer or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Once cooked through, season to taste, then stir in your tomato puree.
- In the meantime, prepare your cauliflower mash by filling a large saucepan with water. Bring to the boil and add the cauliflower florets, cooking until tender.
- Drain the cauliflower, then tip into a food processor or blender, adding the remaining ingredients and blending to your desired texture (add a splash of almond milk or vegan spread, if you want it slightly smoother).
- Spoon the lentil mix into a pie dish, then spoon over the cauliflower mash. Sprinkle over vegan cheese, if using, and a few more sprigs of thyme if desired, then place in the oven to cook for around 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve warm with broccoli and green beans.