Sunday, 28 November 2010

SOS Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato

I don’t cook with sweet potato as often as I should. It still seems a bit exotic to me and I tend to use our common pumpkin much more. Fortunately other bloggers love it, especially my northern American friends, and give me the encouragement I need with the fluro orange vegetable.

Take Ricki. She had a series on favourite sweet potato recipes a couple of years ago. So it is no surprise that sweet potato is this month’s theme of the SOS Kitchen Challenge event that she runs with Kim. Such events encourage me to try things I have always meant to do. Such as a shepherd’s pie with a sweet potato mash on top instead of the ordinary mashed potato shepherd’s pie that I usually make.

I made this a few weeks ago using quinoa, lentils and cauliflower as the main ingredients in the filling. I also threw in quite a few leftovers so this recipe is as much suggestion as instruction. I think I needed a bit more cooking time for the filling and a bigger saucepan but it is a very good work in progress.

I definitely recommend it to you. When I tasted the filling after it had cooled I thought it tasted just like mince meat but better. However then I returned to reality and remembered it is probably about 20 years since I had mince meat and how would I know what it tastes like any more. I also found the sweet potato far too sweet for my tastes and found it much more palatable with some seasoning. That said, sweet potato is great for the mash. It means less carbs, if that concerns you, and keeps better than regular potato mash, which is just as well given that this kept us going a few nights!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Ramblers at the Castle in Peebles
This time two years ago: Leftover Cream and Paprikash
This time three years ago: Fantastic Falafels

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato
Serves 6
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup water
  • 400g tin of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g tin of brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 heaped tsp promite
  • leftovers: ½ - 1 cup corn and roast pumpkin, ¾ of a tofu nut burger, 1 tsp pesto, ½ cup tomato pasta sauce (see alternatives below*)
* If I didn’t have leftovers I would probably use other flavourings such as more garlic, herbs, mustard, etc.
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 800g)
  • slurp of milk knob of butter
  • 1 dessertspoon of nutritional yeast flakes
  • generous shake of smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • lots of black pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan or stockpot. Cook onion, carrots and celery for about 15 minutes or until soft (I did 15 minutes but would do more next time because my celery was still a bit toothsome).

Meanwhile cook quinoa in boiling water for about 20 minutes or until soft. When cooked, drain and set aside.

Add the cauliflower to the vegetables and cook for about 10 minutes. (Next time I would cook this a bit more as it could have been softer in the final dish.)

Add cooked quinoa, peas, water, tomatoes, smoked paprika, lentils, promite and leftovers (or additional flavouring). Cook for at least 15 minutes and set aside until the mash is ready. The cauliflower and celery should be soft when you finish cooking and set this aside.

While the cauliflower and quinoa mixture is cooking, prepare the mash. Peel and chop the potatoes and sweet potatoes. Place in a medium saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash with remaining ingredients.

To assemble, spread cauliflower and quinoa mixture into rectangle casserole dish. Spread mash over filling and use a fork to fluff up so the edges will get crispy. Bake at 200 C for 40 minutes. Ideally the topping should be a little crispy and golden brown.

On the stereo:
Liege and Lief: Fairport Convention


  1. Funny, I grew up eating sweet potato about 5 nights a week as mum always, always roasts it (and not pumpkin) with potatoes. And I've often used it as a topping for shepherd's pie! So I'm the opposite to you - pumpkin in the novelty for me!

  2. thanks hannah - we are the opposite when it comes to sweet potato and pumpkin - I always mean to roast it and forget - and I don't remember having sweet potato as a child (though my mum will probably correct me on that)

  3. Looks amazing. I love sweet potatoes and quinoa what a great way to match the two.

  4. This is one fab looking shepherds pie - and I adore sweet potato (me and my sweet tooth), so it would be perfect in my books.

  5. That looks wonderful and very comforting. Love the idea of the sweet potato mash, very autumnal

  6. JUST what I need on a day like this. :)

  7. Ooh, thats sounds good. What a great combination of veg and quinoa! I wish I was eating it now(cold outside, heater on...November!!)

  8. ooh I too LOVE the sweet potato / potato combo when it comes to making pie!!!!

  9. This sounds really good, right up my alley!

  10. Excellent SOS entry! I love the idea of sweet potato topped shepherd's pie, and definitely plan on stealing it ;)

  11. Being a serious sweet potato addict, I have to say that I love this version of shepherd's pie! It must add such a nice flavor to that savory filling.

  12. Sounds like a lovely shepherd's pie Johanna. You are putting me right in the mood. I haven't made shepherd's pie for ages and it is one of Graham's favourites too.

  13. Thanks K - they do go well together

    Thanks Cakelaw - if you want to sweeten up your shepherd's pie this is a good way

    Thanks Katie - yes the colours are quite autumnal

    Thanks Wendy - am sure this would be welcome with all your snow!

    Thanks Deb - you are right - it should be too warm for such a meal but hasn't it been cold lately!

    Thanks Lisa - I'm glad I have finally tried it

    Thanks Maria - do try it

    Thanks Sarah - yes please steal it and call it your own :-)

    Thanks Joanne - your are right - the sweetness of sweet potato is good with the filling

    Thanks Jacqueline - hope you have some shepherd's pie soon - am sure it is just the weather for it

  14. This looks fabulous! Funny, the reason I love sweet potato so much is precisely because it IS so sweet! But it goes well with savory seasonings, too. . . this is such a great submission to the SOS this month. Thanks so much! :)

  15. Ooo love your version of Shepherd's pie! I've only tried making it once and wasn't completely enamored. I do love sweet potatoes though. Usually I just cube them and roast them.

  16. Actually sweet potato doesn't have any fewer carbs than potato and may even have slightly more (depends on the type of both), but they're slightly "slower" carbs and thus better for your blood sugar. Some people make low-carb Shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower, generally a popular low-carb mashed potato substitute.

    I wonder what a combination of mashed sweet potato _and_ mashed cauliflower would be like. :-> I've never had Shepherd's pie anyway since it's not eaten where I live, but I've been supposed to make a vegan version for ages.


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