Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie with Kūmara and Goat’s Cheese Topping

, from Issue #92. August, 2020
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie with Kūmara and Goat’s Cheese Topping

You won’t miss the meat in this pie; with its crowning glory of whipped kūmara and little nuggets of goat’s cheese, it’ll fast become a favourite.

Serves: 4-6


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, grated
250 grams portobello mushrooms, peeled, sliced 1cm thick
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons each smoked paprika and dried tarragon
sea salt and ground pepper
2 packed cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
400-gram tin lentils, drained and rinsed
2 cups tomato passata or chunky pasta sauce

1-kilogram Beauregard orange kūmara, peeled, cut into chunks
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
100 grams soft goat’s cheese
parmesan for grating


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, paprika, tarragon and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, over a high heat for 5 minutes. The mushrooms will start to release their liquid.

Stir in the spinach to wilt then stir in the lentils and passata and bring to the boil. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish.

Topping: Cook the kūmara in well-salted, boiling water until tender. Drain well and tip back into the saucepan. Place back over a low heat to remove excess moisture.

Mash with a good knob of butter and nutmeg and season generously with salt and pepper. Crumble in the goat’s cheese and fold together, leaving the goat’s cheese in small pieces.

To cook: Spoon the mash over the filling, top with a generous grating of parmesan, and bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden. Top with little nuggets of extra butter if inclined. 

Change-outs: Leeks, thinly shredded silverbeet, thawed frozen peas, grated parsnips and chickpeas in the filling. The kūmara can be substituted with potatoes, parsnips or cauliflower to make the mash.