Veggie Shepherd's Pie with Magic Mash

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Veggie Shepherd's Pie with Magic Mash

This week is National Vegetarian Week. Whilst their aim is to get you eating veggie for a whole week, this recipe is aimed more at the idea of foregoing meat for just one day a week. There are many arguments in support of one meat-free day a week which cite its environmental benefits and these are no small reason why it’s worth considering but I’m no scientist so I’ll leave you to form your own opinions there. However, I would suggest that an initiative like “Meat Free Monday” is worth a look for a much more mercenary reason - it can be really cheap to cook a vegetarian meal. Some sweet potatoes, a few carrots, some celery, mushrooms, onion, a can of beans and tomatoes will usually amount to less than half the cost of one pack of beef mince but can feed the same amount of people. Think of it less as missing out on meat and more as an easy way to boost your vegetable intake and try out different recipes.

When I thought about the times that I usually eat meat-free I realised that it most often happens on the days when I have least time and am eating on my own rather than with the family. Rushing back home after a long day in the centre of London I can often be found with a massive bowl of stir-fry veg, some noodles and and a dollop of peanut butter. But what about those days when you want everyone to eat meat-free? What can you cook that all satisfy a hoard of hungry stomachs, give enough protein and energy and not involve complicated ingredients? Here is my take on a vegetarian shepherd’s pie (though surely it should be called plough-er’s pie or something?). I think that the hummus provides something a little bit extra to the mash on the top, but it’s by no means essential. If your family are more adventurous I’d recommend crumbling some goats cheese over the top as well.

We all know that Wombles hate waste and rubbish, so I thought it only fair that I let one of the Womble family that we share our home with try it out. As you can see, Madam Cholet is enjoying sticking her nose right in there!

You can find out more about National Vegetarian Week at:


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 6 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 415g can of baked beans
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 100ml water
  • olive or sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 6 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp hummus (optional but recommended)
  • salt and pepper

To taste, If you have them:

  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar


  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop in cubes
  2. Boil for 15-20 minutes until tender, drain and mash
  3. Set to one side
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180c Fan or 200c
  5. In a large saucepan brown the celery, onions and carrots in the oil over a low heat
  6. Add the mushrooms and herbs and continue to brown for 5 mins
  7. Add the baked beans, tomatoes and sock and simmer for 10 mins
  8. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce (omit if you need a low salt recipe for small children) and a splash of Worcestershire sauce
  9. Taste and add a little balsamic vinegar or salt and pepper if needed - this will depend on how sweet your particular brand of baked beans are
  10. Pour into a large baking dish
  11. Mix the 2tbsp of hummus and a grind of salt and pepper into the sweet potato.
  12. If it needs it, add a little milk to loosen
  13. Spoon over the top of the veggies and mark with a fork
  14. Bake for 20mins until the top is brown
  15. Serve with green vegetables or salad and maybe a hunk of fresh bread (the mash is less stodgy than regular mash so you can get away with it)1