Today is World Vegan Day! While the Irish might be best known for a sturdy meal of meat and two veg more and more people are moving to meatless and vegan diets. Here's a vegan twist on the hearty favorite Shepherd's Pie... without the meat!

Holly White has been working as a broadcaster and journalist for over a decade in Dublin. She is passionate about style, natural beauty, and vegan food. In fact, so much so that she just realized a vegan cookbook, entitled “Vegan-ish”. Below she shares her vegan twist on an Irish traditional dish, the epitome of autumn comfort food – shepherds pie.

When I first transitioned to a plant-based diet, it was summer and light dishes felt nourishing. As I moved towards the colder months, though, I really craved comfort foods that would be warming and satisfying.

This shepherdless pie ticks all the boxes.

Read more: How hard is it to eat vegan or vegetarian in Ireland?

Shepherdless lentil pie recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

- 1 vegan stock cube
- Olive oil, for frying
- 100g button mushrooms, quartered
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 200g dried black or green lentils, rinsed, or 2 x 400g tins of green or black lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
- 300g frozen petit pois or peas
- 1 dessertspoon miso paste
-Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the mash topping:

- 1kg potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 250ml unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

Method

- First dissolve the stock cube in 250ml of just-boiled water. Set aside.

- Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan set over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic and sauté for 8 minutes, until they are beginning to soften. Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes, walnuts (if using) and stock and simmer for 20 minutes.

- Meanwhile, steam or boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, until soft. Drain and place in a large bowl with the garlic, milk, olive oil and nutritional yeast (if using). Mash until smooth with a potato masher or use a hand-held blender.

- Preheat the oven to 180°C.

- To finish the filling, stir in the frozen peas and miso paste. Taste it at this stage to ensure you’re happy with the flavor and season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

- Pour the filling into a baking dish. Top with the mash and add a drizzle of olive oil.

- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. For the last 3 minutes, put it under the grill to crisp up the mash topping. It will be piping hot, so allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving on warmed plates.

TIP- The walnuts are optional, but they add an almost chewy texture.

TIP- If you happen to have a bottle of red wine open, adding a splash to the filling would make it even tastier.

TIP- You can make this pie in advance or freeze it – just allow it to defrost completely before cooking in the oven for 30 minutes.

Read more: Chocolate Milkshake Day is complete with this Guinness and Jameson Ice Cream Float recipe

* Vegan-ish: A Gentle Introduction to a Plant-Based Diet by Holly White is published by Gill Books, priced €22.99,

This article was originally published on our sister website FOOD&WINE.ie.

Shepherdless Pie with LentilsLeo Byrne Photography