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Vegan shepherd’s pie

I love summer and I love winter, which makes me pretty happy year-round.

This recent arctic spell has made me review my position though! After unpeeling my frozen fingers from the handles of the bike, I can safely say that winter sucks from a weather perspective. I’m just not very good at being this cold.

The kids seem to have sidestepped this by wearing their cosy, oversized, fleece sweaters non-stop. When I say oversized, I mean you could honestly fit three adults into their sweaters. They’re the official The Comfy brand – wearable blankets as it were. If you are tired of your teen, I suggest you buy them one. They’ll retreat into it never to be seen again, or at least only emerging for snacks!

I quite like my teens though, so losing them to a mountain of fluff has been depressing. I have banned The Comfy at the dinner table so at least I get some conversation in then. Another good thing about teens is that they’re always starving and willing to eat almost anything.

Gone are the days of dinnertime rejections and negotiations. The first question I get asked after school is “Do you have food?” followed by “What’s for dinner?” followed by “When’s dinner?” every 15 minutes until I manage to fling it on the table. If that makes them sound ungrateful, they’re not … there’s a lot of please and thank you in there which is good for the soul.

Tonight, I’m stretching the boundaries of Belle’s carnivore nature and serving up this vegan shepherd’s pie. I was passed this recipe by a colleague (you know who you are!) and it’s amazing! I did tweak it a little of course. If you rely on one source of beans/lentils for a vegan dish and pair it with potato, then you get something that’s very carb-heavy and low on amino acid bioavailability. So instead of just lentils, I used a combo of lentils and adzuki beans (but really any combo will do). I also removed the corn because it’s not very nutrient-dense and just a carb that you don’t need in this recipe.

The list of ingredients is quite long but they’re mainly store cupboard items and so it’s unlikely you’ll have a long shopping list. If you do have to buy lots of things, make it worthwhile and make a double batch of the filling. You can freeze the spare and make a quick pie another day, or just serve the filling with brown rice or quinoa. Either way, don’t forget to have half a plate of non-starchy greens or salad too. Enjoy!

Vegan shepherd’s pie (serves 4)


½ tbs light olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced

2 stalks celery, strings removed, diced

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp maple syrup or honey

2 tbs tomato paste

2 tbs tamari soy sauce, Braggs aminos or coconut aminos

1 tbs balsamic vinegar or ACV

¼ cup veg stock (I like Kallo)

¼ cup red wine or more veg stock

1 cup cooked lentils (I like Puy lentils)

1 cup cooked adzuki beans (or any other bean)

½ cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

For the mashed potato topping: 2lbs potatoes (white, sweet or a combo), ¼ cup unsweetened plant-based milk, 2 tbs Earth Balance vegan butter. Nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)


1. Peel your potatoes, boil till tender, mash with the vegan milk/butter and spices. Set to one side.

2. Preheat the oven to 390F.

3. Meanwhile, heat your oil and sauté the onion, carrots, garlic, celery and all spices, until the veg are tender.

4. Add in the maple/honey, tomato paste, tamari sauce (or equivalent), balsamic, veg stock and wine (optional). Stir.

5. Add in the lentils, beans and peas. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for seven minutes.

6. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish (try a square 9 x 9).

7. Layer the mash on top and bake for 15 minutes before popping under the grill just to brown the top.

8. Serve with lots of green veg or salad. It’s so good!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Catherine Burns swears by the vegan shepherd’s pie recipe she was given by a colleague and tweaked to her taste

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Published February 05, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 03, 2021 at 2:05 pm)

Vegan shepherd’s pie

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