I nearly called this vegan shepherd’s pie but I realised that shepherd really does imply sheep – not entirely appropriate for a vegan recipe. Then I started wondering why cottage pie isn’t called beef farmer’s pie. I guess it just isn’t. This one has no meat, so maybe I should have called it vegan kinda cottage pie, but I didn’t. I’ll stop rambling now – here it is – whatever you want to call it!
I love, rich warming stews and think they are even better when served with mash – of any kind. Cottage pie is usually made with minced beef and gravy but this one uses puy lentils rather than meat and has a delicious tomatoey sauce rather than gravy. If you have a tub of homemade tomato sauce in the freezer as I usually do then it is incredibly quick to make. If you don’t it might take a little bit longer but it is still not an onerous or difficult recipe.
I chose to top mine with cauliflower mash (because I love it) but you could use mashed potato or mashed butter beans (another favourite of mine). I served this one with some green veg on the side but there is no reason why you can’t add some to the sauce and save on washing up – broccoli florets, spinach or garden peas would all work well.
I think this is a great dish to serve to unadventurous non-vegans. The flavours will all be familiar to them and the lentils give the dish a kind of “meaty” texture and flavour without being meaty at all. They also add a nice dose of protein that will keep you feeling full for hours. I used a pack of ready-to-eat puy lentils but you can, of course, buy dried lentils, just give them a good wash first and you may have to cook them for a little longer.
1 Pint / 500 ml home made Tomato Sauce
2 medium sized Carrots
250g pack ready-to-eat Puy Lentils
1 large Cauliflower
A handful of Chopped Parsley
Place the tomato sauce in a large saucepan and add 200 ml of cold water.
Peel and dice the carrots and add to the sauce along with the lentils. Bring to the boil then simmer until the carrot is soft. Add the chopped parsley and taste. Add more seasoning if you need to.
Meanwhile prepare and steam the cauliflower. Mash with a potato masher or blend with a stick blender if you want it to be super smooth. Season to taste.
Pour the lentil mixture into a casserole dish. Top with the cauliflower and swirl with a fork.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes until piping hot and slightly browned on top.
Serve with green veg.