Recently I have decided to heavily cut back on the amount of meat I eat. I do not possess any where near the requisite will power to become a vegetarian full time but I have pretty much stopped buying and therefore cooking with meat. This is in part a money saving venture but predominately I just enjoy being able to smugly reflect on the microscopic sacrifice I am making for the good of the environment every time I get on a plane or accidentally put some plastic in the normal bin.
Actually cooking without meat is pretty hard, especially if you like trying out new things in the kitchen. At first it was an exciting challenge, but after about a month of the same 5 vegetables variously disguised as curries, chilli and stew, I was starting to get pretty bored. This shepherds pie, despite not exactly reinventing the wheel, does provide a bit of a contrast. The lentils are a good alternative to mince and give a fairly similar texture and the whole dish is comfortingly familiar; perfect for a chilly winter night.
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie (Serves 2)
- 1 Carrot
- 1/2 an Onion
- 6 Mushrooms
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1/2 a Cup of Dried Lentils
- 1/2 a Tin of Tomatoes
- 2 Sweet Potatoes
- 1 Cup of Veg Stock (or Beef if you are cheating)
- A splash of red wine (optional)
- Dried Thyme and/ or Rosemary
How to make it…
- Finely dice the carrot, onion and garlic and fry in oil, over a low heat for around 2 minutes. Add a splash of wine let it simmer until the alcohol burns off. Roughly chop up the mushrooms and add to the pan along with the lentils, stock and tomatoes. Stir through the dried herbs and leave the mixture to simmer.
- Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes and boil until soft enough to mash. Mash them with salt, pepper, butter and a splash of milk, you could also use coconut oil if you want to make it vegan.
- Once the lentils are soft enough, add the veg mix to an oven dish. If there is too much liquid you can always drain off the veg and return the liquid to the pan to reduce over a high heat. Top the veggies with the sweet potato mash and grill until the top is golden brown.
Washing up Rating **
I used… a knife, a chopping board, two pans, a masher, a wooden spoon, a fork and an oven dish.
Total cost per portion: 75p
(The total cost is based on the amount of each product used, buying all ingredients new will cost £4.78)