Ultimate shepherd's pie in a dish with a portion gone

The ultimate makeover: shepherd's pie

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(55 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

  • kcal444
  • fat12g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs57g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre10g
  • protein22g
  • salt0.51g
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    For the filling

    • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
      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 potatoes

      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, questions and tips

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    28th Sep, 2019
    Great recipe for a healthier pie. Very tasty. Often substitute lamb mince for beef as not always easy to get the lamb, still tastes great. Also use beef stock. Delicious result and generous servings. Worth the time and effort.
    Lola7606's picture
    4th Feb, 2019
    Fantastic dish, I have not had a Shepherds pie for years as always found them bland and not very exciting but this recipe has changed that, will definitely be making again. I added a beef stock pot which gave it a richer taste.
    24th Oct, 2015
    Oops forgot to rate
    24th Oct, 2015
    Fantastic recipe, my fussy son loved it and it's so reassuring to know there's so much goodness inside.
    11th Oct, 2015
    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....)
    23rd Aug, 2015
    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.
    10th Aug, 2015
    Brilliant, simple as
    4th Aug, 2015
    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!
    30th Jul, 2015
    The potato topping was lovely. I felt the filling lacked flavour. Needed more seasoning than the recipe says.
    Adaobi Emetu
    29th Oct, 2014
    absolutely fantastic


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