Shepherdless pie recipe

06 May 2019

Who needs lamb when you have lentils, mushrooms, a rainbow of other tasty vegetables and a pillowy polenta crust?

Prep + cook time is 1 hour 

Serves 4


1 cup (200g) french-style green lentils

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion (150g), chopped coarsely

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 medium carrot (120g), chopped coarsely

200g (6½ ounces) swiss brown mushrooms, halved

400g (12½ ounces) grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock

60g (2 ounces) baby spinach

Fresh thyme leaves, extra, to serve

Polenta topping

1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock

1 cup (170g) polenta (cornmeal)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes 


1. Cook lentils in a medium saucepan of boiling water, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until just tender drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and seeds stirring for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add carrot, mushrooms and tomatoes cook covered, for 10 minutes, or until carrot softens.

3. Stir in paste cook for 1 minute.

4. Add in stock bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until thickened slightly.

5. Stir in lentils and spinach season to taste. Cover to keep warm.

6. Make polenta topping.

7. Preheat grill (broiler) on high. Place lentil mixture in a 2-litre (8-cup) ovenproof dish; spread with polenta topping. Grill for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.

8. Serve topped with extra thyme. Season to taste.

Polenta topping 

Bring stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add polenta and thyme to stock, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until polenta thickens. Stir in oil and yeast. Season to taste.


French-style green lentils, grown in Australia, are related to the famous French lentils du puy. These green-blue, tiny lentils have a nutty, earthy flavour and a hardy nature that allows them to be rapidly cooked without disintegrating.

Recipe by Australian Women's Weekly Vegan Kitchen