Per serving, according to My Fitness Pal:
A comforting, winter dish to use up all those tired vegetables in your fridge, this is a lighter version of cottage or shepherd’s pie, topped with a light – kind of creamy – mash without the calories. It is so-called thanks to a quick Google search to find out the difference between cottage and shepherd’s pie (it’s due to the type of meat but I bet you already knew that) and stumbled across a forum that suggested that vegetarians called their equivalent dish “Gardeners Pie.”
As much as I like sweet potatoes, I do find them rather, um, sweet – especially in a mash. Adding cauliflower tones this down a bit yet without detracting from the overall flavour. It lightens the whole mash given that it has less carbohydrates than starchy vegetables such as potato.
You do not have to stick to the list of vegetables I have suggested; throw in mushrooms, cubes of aubergine, grated carrot – for example. Nor do you need to use lentils, just substitute them for 1-2 cans of beans, such as butterbeans which echo creamy taste of the tahini (which, in turn, really lifts the whole dish). Alternatively, use around 250g of dried beans that have been pre-soaked and boiled ready for use.
The amounts below fill a large oven dish – 30 x 20cm.
Ingredients (serves 6)
2-3 large onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 mild chilli – optional
250g dried green/puy lentils
3 tins tinned tomatoes plus 1 can of water
2 tablespoons of tahini paste
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper
Sweet potatoes – about 6 medium, weighing 800-1,000g
1 medium-large cauliflower
Grating of nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven 160 (fan)/180 (conventional)
- Dice the onions and fry in a drizzle of oil until they soften a little. Add the garlic and chilli if using. Cook for a couple more minutes.
- Cube the courgettes and peppers, throw into the sizzling onions and cook for 5 more minutes or so before adding the lentils and tinned tomatoes. Fill up one of the empty tins with water and add that too.
- Bring the whole lot to a gentle simmer and let it bubble away for around 35 minutes – just check this is in line (definitely no less) with the cooking time recommended with the lentils.
- Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into about 4 pieces and slice each in half. Transfer to a saucepan. Fill the saucepan with cold water until the potatoes are just covered, bring to the boil and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are just soft enough to mash.
- Break the cauliflower into florets and steam for 10 minutes.
- Mash the sweet potatoes and cauliflower together, add a good grind of black pepper and a bit of salt (and a dusting of nutmeg if using).
- When the lentils and vegetables have finished simmering in the tomato sauce, pour into a large dish. Top with the mash, smoothing with a spatula.
- Cook for around 30 minutes until you can see the lentil-tomato sauce bubbling around the sides beneath the topping.