You will not miss the meat in this rich and filling vegetable and lentil bake. A vegetarian alternative to Shepherds pie, the lentils make a great substitute for mince producing a dish that is just as satisfying as the meat version.
Like many people I am trying to eat more meat-free meals and of course I shall be sharing some of my favourites meat-free dishes with you.
Don't get me wrong, I do like my meat and by no means do I intend to become a vegetarian, but most of us eat more meat than we need, myself included.
And eating meat-free dishes has the bonus of being easy on the purse so that has to be a good thing too.
This dish can be prepared a head of time up to the end of step 6. Allow to cool, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Freeze before baking for up to 6 months. Defrost fully before baking for 40-45 minutes or until the filling is piping hot and the top is golden.
Make it a vegan vegetable and lentil bake
I like to add a little milk and butter to the mashed potato and celeriac topping which makes it a little richer but if you want to make this dish vegan it can be easily done so by omitting these. Add a little extra virgin olive oil instead. - Easy!
How to make the bake – step by step
Vegetable and lentil bake
For the filling
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large leek washed and sliced
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 2 clove garlic chopped
- 250 g brown or green lentils
- 750 ml water
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
- 2 tbsp mushroom ketchup or brown fruity sauce
- 1 tsp each dried thyme, rosemary and oregano
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping
- 450 g floury potatoes peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1inch chunks
- 450 g celeriac peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1inch chunks
- 50 g butter
- 4 tbsp milk
- Heat 1 tbsp oil and gently cook 1 large sliced leek, 2 chopped celery stalks and 1 chopped carrot for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until softened. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute.
- Rinse 250g (9oz) lentils and add to the pan. Add 750ml (1¼pt) water and crumble in one stock cube. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are just tender.
- Meanwhile, cook 450g (1lb) potatoes and 450g (1lb) celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks in lightly salted boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes or until just tender.
- When the lentils are just tender, stir in 150g (5oz) finely chopped mushrooms, 4 tbsp mushroom ketchup or brown fruity sauce, and 1 tsp each of thyme, rosemary and oregano. Cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Mix 1 tbsp cornflour with a little water to a smooth paste and stir in. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste, then spoon into a large ovenproof dish.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain well. Add 50g (2oz) butter and 4tbsp milk and mash well. Carefully spoon the mash over the lentil mixture.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is crisp and golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving