When the sun felt like it was permanently high in the sky and the grass was turning crispy, I was contacted about taking part in the Waitrose Great British Dish challenge. Work and illness got in the way of me completing this challenge in August, and since then the days have become chillier and the shadows a bit longer. Last night there was a definite Autumn crispness in the air, so I thought it was about time I looked to classic British autumn foodie fare for my challenge.
Using ingredients from my local Waitrose, I decided to plump for a vegan shepherd’s pie. As there is obviously no lamb in my pie, I’m not sure technically where the ‘shepherd’ part comes in… maybe it was a veggie shepherd that liked to herd together the carrots and potatoes at harvest time? Who knows. Make it your own story if you like.
Either way, I’m a massive fan of pulses and will happily consume them every which way, and try to keep the ‘fake meat’ to an absolute minimum (no Quorn for me due to the egg white in it), so of course I had to bulk out the pie filling with plenty of lentils, chickpeas and root veg… making it a perfect dish for these lengthening Autumn nights we’re now having. Add in a kick of cayenne and some sun dried tomato paste, and you’ve got yourself a big, tasty rustic take on a British classic. Here’s my recipe:
Lucy’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
(Serves 2 fatties like Lucy and Rich)
Crispy fluffy topping
5 medium-large Maris Piper potatoes
Pure dairy-free sunflower spread
3 large carrots, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
3 medium onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
Tube of sun dried tomato paste
1/2 carton tomato passata
At least 2 tbsp Mixed Herbs & extra crushed thyme (homegrown)
1.5 tbsp Marigold vegan vegetable bouillon
1 tin Waitrose essential green lentils
1 tin Waitrose essential chickpeas
Lo Salt, cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper for seasoning
Waitrose mild & light olive oil
Sweet chilli sauce
1. First, finely chop the onions, garlic and celery and sweat down in a large pan with the mild & light olive oil.
2. Add in some fairly finely chopped carrots and sweet potato, and sweat down a little more before adding some water and a good helping of the vegetable bouillon.
3. Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes and boil until ready for mashing in salted water
4. Once the carrots, onions etc have tenderised in the veg stock, add in the tube of sun dried tomato paste, and around 1/3 – 1/2 carton of the passata. Mix well and then season liberally with the mixed herbs, cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper.
5. Drain the tin of lentils and chickpeas and add into the mixture, adding any extra water if required. Don’t make the mixture too sloppy though! Reduce down and add in a good helping of sweet chilli sauce. Keep mixing and seasoning to taste.
6. Once the boiled potatoes are ready, drain and add a couple of knobs of the Pure dairy-free sunflower spread. Mash until fluffy.
7. Pour the filling mixture into a casserole/pie dish and add the mashed potato topping. Stick in the oven for 10 minutes or so before grilling until crispy and golden brown.
8. Serve with lots of green veg (for politeness and illustrative purposes we provided a modest sized portion but in reality our plates are stacked high)!
It’s a really easy dish to prepare and will keep in the fridge or freezer for those days when you’re just too busy to make a hearty meal. Keep your eyes peeled for Part Two, where I’ll be making a vegan-style twist on the classic sticky toffee pudding to satisfy my sweet tooth!