Herbed Sweet Potato Vegetarian Shepherd’s-Pie

  • Total Time: 1 hours  35 mins
  • Hands-on Time: 25 mins
  • Makes: 10 servings

Reinvent the classic Irish shepherd's pie with creamy sweet potatoes and hearty lentils. Where this vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe doesn't stray from tradition is in the herbal savoriness of parsley and thyme, and the sweet and fragrant characteristics of fennel seed.

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1. In a small pot, combine the vegetable broth, lentils, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook until the lentils have absorbed the water, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and garlic cloves.
2. While lentils are cooking, add sweet potatoes to a large stock pot and cover with water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Drain and place in a bowl along with the whole milk, heavy cream, butter, parsley, salt and pepper. Mash until potatoes are smooth and set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
5. While the lentils and potatoes cook, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add leeks, sautéing until translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.
6. Stir in carrots, mushrooms, celery and garlic, continuing to cook for another 8 to 10 minutes so that the vegetables begin to soften.
7. Add the red wine, tomato paste, herbs, salt and pepper. Once mixed in well, add 1 cup of vegetable broth. Allow the vegetables to simmer and soften slightly for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked lentils.
8. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of vegetable broth with the cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add to the filling mixture, stirring until the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.
9. Transfer filling to a tall-sided 9x9-inch casserole. Spoon the sweet potato mixture over the filling, carefully smoothing it out evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until filling is bubbling and potatoes are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and serve hot.


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