Vegan "shepherdless" pie

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

  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
This recipe is from our book, Tasty Vegan.


  • 1 cup 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
  • 200 grams swiss brown mushrooms, halved
  • 400 grams grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
  • 60 grams 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. Stir in paste; cook for 1 minute. Add in stock; bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until thickened slightly. Stir in lentils and spinach; season to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  • 3
    Make 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.
  • 4
    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.
  • 5
    Serve topped with extra thyme. 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.

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