Vegetarian shepherds pie

This shepherdless pie's a vegetarian version of the British classic made with puy lentils
By Rachel Khoo
Vegetarian shepherds pie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 200 g puy lentils, or beluga lentils
  • 1 lapsang souchong tea bag
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp Marmite

For the polenta:

  • 600 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 200 g quick cook polenta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Tips and Suggestions

Tricks with polenta - Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps building up. If you feel like it is thickening to quickly, remove from the heat and beat very hard.

Get ahead - the filling can be made a couple of days in advance or frozen in an airtight container. Its best to make the polenta just before serving as it will harden and no longer be creamy if left to sit for a long time.

If youre short on time you can use already cooked lentils, although they can be a little too mushy.


1. Cover the lentils in plenty of cold water, approximately 1 litre, and bring to the boil with the tea bag. Leave to simmer. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until al dente. Drain the lentils but save 200ml of the cooking liquid.

2. Add the oil to a large frying pan and add the carrots, tomatoes, paprika and onion. Fry gently until the onion is translucent, this takes about 10 minutes. Add the cooked lentils with the 200ml of the lentil cooking liquid, the mushrooms, tomato paste and marmite. Stir until the marmite and tomato paste has dissolved. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and cover while making the polenta.

3. For the polenta Preheat the grill to a medium heat. Bring the vegetable stock and herbs to a boil. When the stock is boiling, add the polenta in a slow stream. Stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles, which only takes a couple of minutes. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning.

4. Pour the filling into a deep baking dish 26x20cm and spread the polenta on top of the pie. Use a fork to make lines on the top, this will help to get some extra crispiness.

5. Place under the preheated grill for 5 minutes or until the top crisps up.

Want to see more like this? Take a look at more of our vegetarian recipes.

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