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sweet potato, mushroom & walnut shepherd's pie

This is the perfect Sunday lunch, packed full of plant-based ingredients. The base has a delicious hearty flavour coming from the mixture of mushrooms, with a great subtle crunch coming from the toasted walnuts. We love using creamy sweet potato mash on top but cooking potatoes, swede or parsnip all taste great too.

Serves 4 & takes around 1 hour to cook


  • 200g walnuts

  • 1x 40g pack of dried porcini mushrooms (or use 1 teaspoon of brown rice miso paste in their place)

  • 750g mushrooms, cut into very small pieces

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (about 500g), peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika

  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée

  • 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 180C, fan setting.

2. Place the walnuts onto a baking tray and cook for 8 minutes until golden. Once cooked, remove from the oven and place to one side until needed. Walnuts burn very easily so make sure to keep an eye on them. Once cooked, remove from the oven and chop into small pieces.

3. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for however long it states on pack, as these times differ. Once they have finished soaking, drain (keeping about a cup of the mushroom water), chop the mushrooms then leave to one side until needed.

4. Place a large pan over a medium heat and fill with boiling water. Once bubbling, turn down the temperature a little and add the sweet potato chunks and a pinch of salt. Cook for 30 minutes until the sweet potatoes feel soft. Once soft, drain and place back into the pan. Mash the sweet potatoes into a smooth, creamy mash, adding a tablespoon of plain yoghurt and a sprinkling of salt to taste. Once you have the mash, leave to one side until needed.

5. Now make the base of the shepherd’s pie, chop the mushrooms into small pieces, about the size of a pea. If you have a large food processor, you can add them all and blend to make it quicker - just make sure you stop before they become a paste. Once you have your mushroom chunks, spoon into a large, deep sided baking tray and add a good drizzle of olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for 30 minutes until soft.

6. While the mushrooms cook, place a large pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once warm, add the diced red onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion becomes soft.

7. Once soft, add the paprika and chopped dried mushrooms. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes, before stirring through the cooked mushrooms, walnut pieces, tomato purée and half of the leftover mushroom water. Mix well and cook for a final 10 minutes, adding the rest of the mushroom water if needed, until the mixture becomes thick and flavoursome. Taste a season with salt and pepper.

8. Once ready to assemble, turn the oven up to 225C, grill setting.

9. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the bottom of a baking dish and top with the sweet potato mash. Use a fork to create a slight pattern on top before placing the dish in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top turns golden.


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