Dreamy and VEGAN shepherd’s pie with green lentils and chestnuts as the base. I replaced the traditional potato puree with sweet potato puree and it’s soooo good. Delicious, comforting and sweet – a real celebration. This recipe has a few steps in it, but trust me – it’s so worthy.
How to make Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
This vegan sweet potato shepherd’s pie has 2 layers in it – the lentils layer as the base, and the sweet potato layer on top.
The sweet potato layer:
The first step will be cooking the sweet potatoes. There are lots of ways to cook sweet potatoes. One of my favorite methods is to roast it on a bed of coarse salt. That way, there’s no added liquid to the sweet potatoes, and all the sweet and wonderful flavors are highlighted and concentrated. The method is very simple – after thoroughly washing the sweet potatoes, brush it with some olive oil and poke it with a fork or a knife a few times. Prepare a suitable baking pan, and sprinkle cover it with coarse salt. It should be about 1/4-inch (or 0.5 cm) thick. Place the sweet potatoes on the coarse salt bed. Bake on high heat for about an hour, until very soft.
After the sweet potatoes are cooked, cool and then pill off its skin. The sweet potatoes’ skin should come off pretty easily. Place the cooked and pilled sweet potatoes in a bowl and mash them. Since they are so soft, you can easily mash them using a fork. You can also use a potato masher. To the sweet potato puree add olive oil, finely chopped parsley and season according to the recipe.
The lentils’ base:
While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, you can start making the lentils’ layer that is the base of the shepherds pie. Regarding the lentils – I always soak green (and also black) lentils for at least two hours. Soaking lentils is not mandatory, so it’s absolutely your choice whether to soak it or not. Start by briefly sautéing diced onions and celery. Add raw and finely grated sweet potato, and then the rest of the ingredients as listed in the recipe, like chestnuts, oregano, rosemary and crushed tomatoes. As for the chestnuts, I use ready to use peeled and roasted chestnuts.
Cook the lentil mixture over medium-low heat for about half an hour, with the lid closed . During cooking, the lentils will absorb all the liquids and soften. At the end of cooking, leave the lid on for a few more minutes, before moving on to the next step.
Assembling the dish :
Prepare your 8X12-inch (20X30 cm), or similar size, oven safe baking dish and grease it lightly with olive oil. Place the lentils’ layer at the bottom and smooth it. After that, layer the sweet potato puree over. You can use a fork to smooth down the puree and gently score the top a bit.
Bake the vegan sweet potato shepherd’s pie in the oven for one hour. If you desire to get a golden crush on top (and trust me – you do!), carefully take out the shepherd’s pie from the oven after 50 minutes, drizzle some olive oil on top, and return the dish to the oven for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Looking for more recipes with sweet potatoes?
- Vegan Adzuki Bean, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
- Lentils and Kale Stuffed Baked Sweet Potato
- Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, Spiced Chickpeas and Yogurt Dressing
Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
for the sweet potatoes puree –
- 3 medium size sweet potatoes – about 2.2 pounds/ 1 kg, well washed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
for baking the sweet potatoes –
- 1 pound/ ½ kg coarse salt
- olive oil for brushing the sweet potatoes
for the lentil layer –
- 1 cup green lentils, washed well and drained. although not mandatory – I prefer soaking the lentils for at least 2 hours
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs of celery (1 cup), chopped
- 1 small sweet potato (1 cup), pilled and grated finely
- 3½-oz / 100 gr peeled and roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
- 14-oz / 400 gr crushed tomatoes ot tomato puree
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 springs of fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 sprig rosemary (1 tablespoon), chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup water
- starting with baking the potatoes – preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Prepare a baking pan lined with baking paper or silicone mat and sprinkle a thick layer of coarse salt on it, which will serve as a base for the sweet potatoes. Brush the sweet potatoes with some olive oil and prick them all over using a fork. Place them on the coarse salt bed, and bake for about an hour, until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Allow to cool.
- While the sweet potatoes are baking, start preparing the lentils' layer. In a wide, deep pan, heat olive oil. Add chopped onions and celery and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add finely grated sweet potatoes and chopped garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients – coarsely chopped chestnuts, crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree), oregano, rosemary, sweet paprika, salt, black pepper and one cup of water. Mix well, cover and bring to a boil. After boiling, lower to medium-low heat and cook for 25-30 minutes, until all the liquid evaporates and the lentils are soft. Leave covered for a few more minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, lightly grease a 8X12-inch (20X30 cm, or similar size) baking dish with a little olive oil.
- Prepare the sweet potato puree – remove the peel from the sweet potatoes, it should peels off quite easily. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl and mash the sweet potatoes with a fork or a potato masher. Add to the mixture 2 tablespoons of olive oil, finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Assembling the dish: place the lentil stew on the bottom of the baking pan and flatten it using a fork or a spoon. Place the sweet potato puree on top of the lentils' layer and flatten it evenly. If desired, you can move a fork over the top layer and create a nice shape. Bake uncovered for an hour. If you want a nice brown crust of the top layer, carefully take the dish out of the oven after 50 minutes of baking, drizzle over some olive oil and return to the oven for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!
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