Lentil and Leek Cottage Pie with Tahini Mash
I came up with this lentil cottage pie one night as a simple vegan version of what the rest of my family was having for dinner, almost as an afterthought, but the result has exceeded my expectations and made it on my list of favourites. Especially the tahini mash. It gives the mash a subtle sesame flavour, which turned out to be a great match. Had I planned properly beforehand, I would have probably had a vegan milk or cream handy to make the mash. This way, I just looked for anything that would add some creaminess and my eyes fell on a jar of tahini in the kitchen cupboard. The leeks give a subtle sweetness and more creaminess. Just yum.
I do not consider potatoes a healthy food to be had as a staple, but once in a while they make a nice change and a treat.
- 1/2 cup dry green lentils
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp oil
- 200 g sliced leek
- several splashes of soy sauce
- 300 g baby new potatoes, cut into chunks, unpeeled
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 pinch of onion granules
- parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp melting vegan cheese, coarsely grated (optional), or some rice breadcrumbs (such as from Clearspring)
- Soak the lentil for a minimum of 30 minutes, but preferably for 2 hours or longer.
- Discard the soaking water, add fresh water, and cook without salt and with a good pinch of thyme until tender.
- In the meantime, chop the leek and potatoes.
- Boil the potatoes in salty water.
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the sliced leek with a pinch of salt. Stir fry the leek till it softens up a little. Add a few splashes of soy sauce if it starts colouring too much.
- When the lentils are cooked, drain them, reserving the cooking water. Add the drained lentils to the pan with the leeks, and keep cooking it together for a few more minutes. Taste it, and add saltiness with more soy sauce if needed. If needed, add a small amount of the cooking water from lentils, to stop it from burning.
- Preheat the oven to 220° C, with grill.
- When the potatoes are ready, drain them, and put them in a bowl with the rest of the mash ingredients. Mash it roughly with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning. If it’s too dry, add a bit of vegan milk
- Spoon the lentil and leek mixture into a baking dish or individual baking dishes. Top with the mash, and sprinkle with vegan cheese, if using.
- Bake and grill till the top colours a little.
- Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.
As usual I recommend soaking the lentils before use for improving digestibility, nutrient content and ease of cooking.
- Top with a quick homemade vegan parmesan before baking as a more nutritious alternative to breadcrumbs (blitz 1 tbsp nutri yeast, 1tbsp hemp seeds, 2 pinches of sea salt)
- I used baby new potatoes, because that was what I had, but obviously other potatoes would work as well. It’s nice made from Maris Piper as well.