My almost-two-year-old daughter doesn’t seem to like meat. I’m not sure if it’s the taste or the texture – either way, I am determined to get good sources of iron and protein into her. Lentils are a great source of iron. They actually contain more iron than red meat (gram for gram) – although the type of iron in red meat is better absorbed (higher ‘bioavailability’). Luckily for me, my husband and I, plus our other two children also love beans and lentils. Today’s vegetarian shepherds pie blog was an experimental recipe – and definitely one I will make again. It was very popular with the kids and their 14 month old cousin who stayed for tea!


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • Large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet potato (approx. 170g), chopped
  • 200g dried lentils
  • 600ml (1 pint) boiling water

  • 1 stock cube
  • 400ml carton of passata, or tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 800g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Low fat spread (I used Bertolli Light) and milk to taste – to make up mashed potato
  • Black pepper to season

  • 60g grated cheese


  1. In a large saucepan, place the onion, courgette and pepper, and sauté with a little olive oil for 5 minutes

  2. Add the lentils, carrot, sweet potato, boiling water, stock cube and tomatoes, mix well and leave to simmer with a lid on, for approx. 40 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  3. Meanwhile, in a second large saucepan, boil the potatoes until cooked (approx. 20 minutes)

  4. Drain potatoes and mash with spread and milk to desired consistency. Add pepper to salt. I rarely add salt to my recipes (or take out the kids portion first before adding a little salt)
  5. Once lentil mixture cooked, place into a large overproof dish, and spoon the potato on top. Mark swirly marks with the back of a fork, and sprinkle with grated cheese

  6. Pop under the grill for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is a lovely golden colour
  7. Enjoy!


This meal will serve 5 hungry adults

Cost per serving

I bought all the ingredients this meal for £3.20 – that’s only 64p per adult serving. Lentils are so much cheaper than meat, and nutritious too!



The post Vegetarian Shepherds Pie appeared first on Expert Dietitian.


Annemarie Aburrow

Annemarie graduated from the University of Southampton in 2003 with a first class honours in Physiology with Nutrition. She went on to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, leading to registration as a Dietitian. Between 2005 and 2013, Annemarie worked for the NHS in a wide variety of clinical and community roles. More recently, she has specialised in health promotion and prescribing support. She has particular experience in obesity management (both adults and children), diabetes, nutrition for the under 5s and nutritional supplement prescribing. In 2013, Annemarie left the NHS to set up her private practice 'Expert Dietitian'. She now works as a freelance Dietitian, offering private consultations in Hampshire, telephone and Skype appointments, corporate nutrition consultancy and bespoke training. She has a growing portfolio of project work, including working with her local council to provide nutrition training and expertise to Early Years settings, article writing, work with schools and running training/workshops. Annemarie is a member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

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