I’ve made variations of a vegetarian shepherd’s pie for a long time now. The kids loved the idea of a shepherd’s pie albeit vegetarian. I have modified the recipe over the years and this version is filling, satisfying and absolutely scrumptious even though I say so myself. I also stopped calling it shepherd’s pie and started calling it grower’s pie to reflect the meatless nature of this pie.

Grower’s pie


For the filling:

400g tin of lentils

400g tin of beluga lentils

400g tin of kidney beans, drained, rinsed and mashed

200g onion, finely chopped

200g celery, finely chopped

200g carrots, finely diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

25g butter

7-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons HP sauce

3 teaspoons mustard powder

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

For the topping

1 kilo Agria potatoes or any floury potatoes

750g pumpkin

25g butter, cut in small squares

100g grated Colby or Egmont cheese

30ml cream

Salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. When hot enough, add the butter and allow the frothing to stop and get a bit brown. Fry the onion, celery and carrots on medium heat for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue frying for a further five minutes until some of the vegetable pieces begin to caramelize. Toss the beluga lentils and lentils with their liquids, along with the mashed kidney beans.

Grower’s pie

Add the tomato paste, HP sauce, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper. Mix well and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until thick and saucy. Taste to check seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Wash and peel the potatoes. Depending on their size, cut in half or quarters. Place potatoes in a cooking pot and cover with water. Put the lid on and let the water come up to the boil. Remove lid and let simmer for 20 minutes.

While potatoes are boiling, cut the pumpkin into large chunks and put in a microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle two tablespoons of water and cover with a microwave safe lid. Cook on high for 10 minutes but removing after every three minutes to shuffle and toss them. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin and mash with a potato masher.

Once potatoes are cooked, remove from stove and drain the water. Stir in the cream and butter along with salt and plenty of pepper. Use a potato masher and mash well. Combine the pumpkin with potato. Taste to check seasoning and adjust as per your taste. Mix in the grated cheese and use a wooden spoon to cream the mash well.

Take a large (30cms x 15cms) baking dish and layer the filling as base. Top with the mash and use a fork to fluff up the top surface. Alternatively, you can make individual pies in ramekins.

Bake in a preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8.

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