Recipe: Veggie shepherd’s pie


I have a confession to make. I’ve been a vegetarian for 35 years, but until last month had never cooked soya mince. I never liked meat much anyway when I did eat it, so I’ve never been able to see the point of using substitutes. I do have quorn occasionally and am a fairly recent convert to veggie sausages, but that’s about the lot.

Recently I had a craving for veggie shepherd’s pie (well, my protein levels are pretty lousy, and I fancied comfort food as well …) I used to make it a lot about 20 years ago when it was red lentils with everything. I didn’t go off it or anything – I just moved on to trying other things.

The recipe was resurrected and tweaked as I was staying with friends and was making myself useful by doing some of the cooking. And the domestic goddess friend just happened to have some soya mince in the freezer … Otherwise, it was a mix of whatever was in the fridge that needed using that day. So fiddle to your heart’s content!



Large onion

A couple of cloves of garlic

Soya mince

Red or puy lentils (I used a small tin of the latter as there happened to be one to hand)

A couple of large carrots (cut into cubes)

Some stray mushrooms

Tin of chopped tomatoes and about a tablespoon of tomato puree

Vegetable stock

Mixed herbs, salt and black pepper

Mashed potatoes for the topping


Fry the onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms. Tip the soya mince in and add vegetable stock as required – not having used it before, I was surprised by how much moisture it sucked up. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the lentils, the tinned tomatoes and the tomato puree, and cook for another ten minutes or so. Season with salt and black pepper and also add mixed herbs. Tip into a large oven-proof dish.

Meanwhile, cook and mash the potatoes. There was a parsnip or two approaching their use-by date at some speed, so they got chucked into the mash as well. You could do it with sweet potato if you fancied a change. Add oodles of black pepper to the mash.

Spread the mash on top of the vegetable mix. Grate cheese on the top if you’re vegetarian as opposed to vegan. Warm through in the oven for about 15 minutes – longer if you want the top to go crusty.

We served it with broccoli and green beans. Even the resident meat eater, who doesn’t think he’s had a proper meal if it hasn’t included pig products, approved!


12 responses »

    • Thank you! It was quick to make, as I used tinned lentils. Probably about half an hour all in, including cooking the potatoes for mashing and then warming it through in the oven.

  1. That looks fab! I have a bag of the dry soya mince and I much prefer it’s texture to Quorn mince.

    • Thanks! I’m not sure I’d bother with the mince next time – it kind of reminded me of the stuff that you put in spag bol! I’m happy with just lentils.

    • Oops, sorry! I used a whole bag of the soya mince, plus a large tin of lentils, as we were catering for five people. But I tend to think this recipe is a storecupboard/bottom of the fridge one, and you can use whatever’s left over in it.

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