The ultimate makeover: Shepherd's pie

The ultimate makeover: Shepherd's pie

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(39 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr, 25 mins


Serves 4
Angela Nilsen works her magic on a classic and gives Shepherd's pie a superhealthy face-lift

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze before baking
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal429
  • fat12g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs63g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre11g
  • protein22g
  • salt0.91g
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For the filling

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3-4 thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 carrots, diced (total weight 300g/11oz)



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 250g lean minced lamb (we used 10% fat)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder, made up to 350ml/12fl oz stock with boiling water
  • 227g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g can green lentil with no added salt, drained



    The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest…

  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

For the topping

  • 650g Maris Piper or King Edward potato, roughly chopped
  • 250g sweet potatoes, roughly chopped

    Sweet potato

    sweet po-tate-toe

    Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavour that makes them ideal for savoury…

  • 2 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep sauté pan or saucepan. Tip in the onion and thyme sprigs and fry for 2-3 mins. Then add the carrots and fry together for 5-8 mins, stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to brown. Stir in the mince to break it down. Fry for 1-2 mins until no longer pink. Stir in the flour, scraping the bottom of the pan in case the meat sticks, then cook for another 1-2 mins. Pour in the stock and stir until thickened. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, lentils and Worcestershire sauce and season with pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 mins, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Drop all the potatoes into a large pan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil, then simmer for 12-15 mins or until the potatoes are tender. Drain well in a colander then tip back into the pan. Mash with a masher or, briefly, with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Beat in the crème fraîche and milk with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

  3. Spoon the meat into a 1.5 litre pie dish and remove the thyme sprigs. Top with the mash and smooth over with a knife. Use a fork to create a ridged pattern on top. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 mins until piping hot and the filling starts to bubble around the edges. If the top is not brown enough, pop it under the grill for 5 mins or so until the mash is crisp and golden. Let it sit for 5 mins then serve.

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Comments (36)

prettywhitelight's picture

Oops forgot to rate

prettywhitelight's picture

Fantastic recipe, my fussy son loved it and it's so reassuring to know there's so much goodness inside.

natalieflondon's picture

Made a big batch of this (to fill a le creuset casserole dish) so went for 1kg of meat, one can of lentils (red on this occasion and they were great)...added a sprinkle of cinnamon and cumin as someone else suggested and extra stock to keep the mixture moist....and the results were delicious. This is a keeper with the extra volume of ingredients (or you may end up a little hungry....)

fizzh89's picture

Just made this for Sunday lunch, absolutely delicious! My 2 year old devoured it! Will definitely be making it again.
Used tomato purée with chilli as didn't have plain and it added a subtle bit of heat to the flavour, will be using the same next time.

jonnytherocket's picture

Brilliant, simple as

MrsLemons's picture

Delicious! Though I'd suggest adding more seasoning than the recipe says. I added more thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bullion than was in the recipe as well as some extra rosemary and a dash of soy sauce. It makes a ton of food too, so great for leftovers or for feeding a very hungry family!

charlotte110887's picture

The potato topping was lovely. I felt the filling lacked flavour. Needed more seasoning than the recipe says.

Adaobi Emetu's picture

absolutely fantastic

lyndseymac's picture

Great recipe. I use 100g of dried red lentils instead of the can of green lentils but works fine (just add extra water if it starts to dry out). Really tasty and I add salt at the table as I don't like to add salt if my 11 month old is eating the same as us.

Peaches1st's picture

Followed the recipe to the letter and it turned out really well. I found that the thyme and Worcestershire sauce gave it plenty of flavour. Also, the recipe does say to season, but just with pepper. I didn't think it needed more seasoning. Will be making this one again!

adbeckam's picture

Healthy, easy and enjoyed by the whole family, what more can you ask for!

stahlwend's picture

Great recipe! I contemplated not adding the lentils, but really glad I did; they added a lovely taste and texture. I used the white flesh sweet potatoes and added some garlic and fresh basil too. My son, who isn't a great eater, asked for seconds.

i05wahan's picture

Really tasty! Made for a New Zealand themed party before going to live with the kiwis for a year. After reading comments I added some cinnamon and cumin which gave it a great flavour. Making again tomorrow for some friends in New Zealand, hope it goes well!

vfrawley's picture

Very nice, added some mushrooms in it too!

lizleicester's picture

This was delicious. Used chicken stock and left out tomato puree and flour but otherwise followed the recipe and everyone loved it.

HGosal's picture

I replaced the mince with 200g quorn and used leek instead of onion. I also added chilli, ginger, cumin and salt and pepper to season. Tasted absolutely lovely, was a little sceptical bout the lentils but they added a great flavour and bulked the dish out. Easily feeds 4 people.

michellesmith9's picture

Yummy. I switched a few things - beef mince instead of lamb and beef stock, also I simmered dried lentils rather than using canned and added a chopped celery stalk and an extra onion. Didn't bother with the creme fraiche and used skimmed milk, which all worked fine. Will do again.

jennykowalczyk's picture

Really liked this, made on a few occasions now - always a winner!

lolaypop's picture

Delicious, doubled the amount of lamb to 500g and that is the only change i made. Lentils are a great addition. Only comment is to make sure you give it plenty of seasoning (as it is not mentioned in the actually recipe to do so!)

lineyloub's picture

A great recipe, but lacked flavour. Would try again, but don't forget to season well or change bouillon for stock


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