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the ultimate vegetarian shepherd’s pie?


there are some dishes you make that you just know you are going to be made time and again. this happened the first time i made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie. the original recipe was quite simple with lentils and a few vegetables in a tomatoey sauce topped with mash but over the years the recipe has evolved.

the current version i make is fabulous – one batch which would easily feed 8 was wolfed down by 3 hungry greedy girls! i’ve made this version a few times now and am not struck by inspiration about what tweaks to try next, so i thought i’d share it with you to see what you think. it could be, of course, that this is the ultimate shepherd’s pie and no changes are needed!

this is also my contribution to “waiter, there’s something in my...” the new food blogging event which, this month, is being hosted by jeanne at cook sister.

vegetarian shepherd’s pie with goats’ cheese mash and cheesy leeks (serves 8)

300g cherry tomatoes

300g dried black-eyed beans, pre-soaked and drained

300g yellow split peas, rinsed

900g sweet potatoes

150g soft goats’ cheese

2 tablespoons milk

1 large onion, peeled

1 red chilli

4 cloves garlic

250g carrots, peeled

275g swede, peeled

1 green pepper, deseeded

250g chestnut mushrooms

25g porcini, soaked, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

3 tablespoons worcester sauce (optional, this is not veggie)

150g butter

2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1cm slices

50g cheddar or other hard cheese

preheat the oven to 200c. halve the tomatoes and roast at 200c for 40 minutes,

put the drained black-eyed beans in a pan with the split peas, add 700ml boiling water, cover and simmer for 40mins – 1 hour, until both the beans and split peas are cooked. drain away any excess water then mash them together roughly.

boil the sweet potatoes until they are soft then mash them with the goats’ cheese, 50g butter, milk, salt and pepper.

while the potatoes are cooking, in a food processor, blitz until finely chopped, the onion, chilli, garlic, carrots, swede, green pepper and mushrooms. melt 50g of butter in a large pan and add the chopped vegetables and porcini. cook gently for 15-20 minutes until they are softened. mix with the bean/pea mix, add the sage and worcester sauce and season to taste.

spoon the mixture into a large baking dish (or several ramekins if you are doing individual portions). top with the roasted tomatoes.


top with the goats cheese mash. sprinkle the leeks on top of the potato, top with the cheese and bake at 200c for 20-35 minutes, until the top is crusty and golden.

this dish freezes well, allow to defrost before cooking.


Reader Comments (15)

Hi Abby

Wow - that looks gorgeous! I am particularly smitten with the goat's cheese mash - an idea I definitely plan to try :) Thanks for an inspired entry for WTSIM and hope to see you back next month.
February 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne
Hi, I will try this out soon, looks yummy. Just wanted to let you know how I used some of my Goji Berries from the BBM parcel you recently sent. I used some in making a yummy bread loaf by Bill Granger (www.lifestylechannel.com.au/billsfood/recipes.asp) - instead of dried cherries, mixed them with dried cranberries. I used the rest in homemade muesli. Thanks.
February 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterceviz
thank you both! it is a fabulous recipe and really worth the effort, especially given how well it freezes.

ceviz - did you like the taste of the goji beries? i wasn't very keen, maybe the fruit bread is the way forward.
February 28, 2007 | Registered Commenterabby
Brilliant!! I grew up on Shepherd's Pie and it's one of the things I always miss when I'm going through a vegetarian phase. Well any of my favourite English foods, really. I'm not sure what a swede is, so I'll have to leave that out, but I should be able to get my hands on the rest of the ingredients.
September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJudith
you could use parsnip (or any root vegetable) instead of swede judith. i hope you like it - let me know how you get on.
September 11, 2007 | Registered Commenterabby
That looks and sounds delicious! I'm always on the outlook for ways of making traditional meat-dishes vegetarian - will definitely try this!

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjokergirl
hey jokergirl, thsi is definitely worth trying. it's very forgiving too - you can mix and match ingredients quite a lot and still have a good result.
March 25, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
The recipe looks great. I checked wikipedia. They say a sewde is a turnip. Is that right?

The recipe calls for "blitz until finely chopped" in a food processor. What is blitzing?

Is soft goat's cheese, the same a feta cheese?

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndy
hi andy. you can use feta cheese but when i say soft goats cheese i just mean a goats cheese that does not have a rind and is quite mildly flavoured.

blitzing, to me, is turning the food procesor on and letting it run for a short time so that the vegetables don't get too finely chopped.

the swede/turnip question is more complicated as, in the uk, different vegetables are called the same thing depending on which part of the country you are in. for me a turnip has white flesh and swede has yellow flesh. you could use either but swede is slightly sweeter than turnip. another alternative would be parsnip.
April 21, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
this was yummy. it took longer to make than i'd normally want to spend but i froze individual portions, which make great ready meals.
June 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn
i thinking making a big batch and then freezing it is definitely the way forward with this dish.

it's also worth remembering if you're trying to use up beans and lentils which have been lurking in the cupboard for too long!
June 4, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
you put milk and cheese in and ruined it!
November 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commentervegan
it's very easily adapted to be vegan!
November 21, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
This recipe sounds delicious, although worcester sauce is not veggie!
October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark
good point mark - i should have flagged that! i'll edit the recipe.
October 16, 2009 | Registered Commenterabby

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