Creamy lentils perfectly spiced with just a tiny hint of chilli, chunks of soft sweet potato mixed in with lightly wilted spinach. All piled on top of fluffy white rice with a warm pitta on the side. For me, you can’t get much better than that. Especially on a cold night after a long day of work. I think that my favourite thing about this meal is definitely the simplicity of it all. It’s such an easy recipe to make, and takes hardly any time at all. There’s minimal prep and the whole thing can be done in just under an hour.
I think that for so many people food has a story, memory or meaning behind it. For me, shepherds pie always reminds me of warm winter evenings sitting around the dinner table whilst my mum served up delicious plates of traditional, homemade shepherd’s pie with a side of vegetables. I’d smother everything in a thick layer of warm gravy, until the bottom of my plate swam in a wave of brown liquid. Without a hesitation I would go back for seconds or even thirds just because it was my favourite meal of all-time. I wanted to recreate this magic memory, and this is what inspired this recipe.
I must admit, although I got the basic idea from a classic shepherd’s pie, this version couldn’t be more different. For starters, the classic meat and veg filling is replaced by a rich tomato, bean and mushroom concoction. And I’ve used sweet potato mash in place of the traditional mash topping. This is my grown-up meat free take on my favourite childhood meal.
Just like my mum’s trusty old recipe, this vegan friendly dish is VERY easy to make. The sweet potato mash is probably the easiest aspect of the whole dish. All you do is roast a sweet potato in the oven until a knife can be easily inserted. Then remove the orange flesh from the skin and mash gently with a fork. Easy as (shepherd’s) pie!
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days or placed in the freezer for a later date. I love to serve this with a good helping of vegetables and drowned in gravy – I guess some things never change!