Vegan Shepherd’s Pie With Sun-dried Tomatoes

Vegan Shepherd's Pie © Chrisél van der Merwe

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie © Chrisél van der Merwe

Cost-effective and easy to cook, this vegan shepherd pie is a great meal to have before or after a race, or even just during training weeks. It contains lentils, which are low in calories and high in nutrition: the perfect legume for every cyclist’s dinner plate. It also features baby potatoes, another complex carbohydrate essential for peak performance.

Mashed potatoes
1.4kg baby potatoes, halved
1 t salt
1/3 C soy milk
1t dried thyme

Filling
1 ½ C lentils, rinsed and drained
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4C vegetable stock
500g mixed frozen veggies
2t mixed dried herbs
1tbsp tomato paste
1t paprika
100g sundried tomatoes in olive oil vinaigrette

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200℃ and lightly grease an oven proof dish.
2. Place halved potatoes in a large pot, fill with water and add salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 20minutes or until soft.
3. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the soy milk and thyme to the potatoes. Use a masher or fork to mash until smooth. If you have a food processor you can also use the plastic s-blade to blend the potatoes until smooth.
4. Sauté onions and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat (about 5minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the stock, lentils and mixed herbs. Stir while bringing to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40minutes or until lentils are tender. Add the frozen veggies in the last 10minutes of cooking along with the tomato paste and paprika.
6. Transfer the filling into your baking dish and layer with sundried tomatoes. Top with mashed potatoes and smooth out with a fork. Season with some more salt and dried herbs (optional).
7. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Take the foil off carefully after 10 minutes and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the mash turns lightly brown on top.
8. Let it cool for around 10 minutes, this also allows the mixture to thicken. Serve and enjoy!
Let cool completely before covering and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.

Benefits of Lentils
Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are the perfect legume for every cyclist’s dinner plate. Lentils are high in fibre and complex carbohydrates. Due to this combination, lentils increases steady and slow burning energy.

High fibre foods have been proven to reduce your risk of heart disease and to help lower cholesterol. The insoluble dietary fibre found in lentils is great for healthy digestion and helps prevent irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Another benefit of the soluble fibre is that it traps carbohydrates. This results in your digestion being slowed down which also stabilises blood sugar levels.

Lentils are also a great source of vitamins, minerals and of course protein. Protein makes up 26% of the calories in lentils, giving it the third highest protein content of all legumes and nuts. Lentils are also a good source of folate, magnesium and iron. Iron transports oxygen throughout your body and plays a key role to energy production and a healthy metabolism.

Weight loss is just another reason why lentils should be included into every cyclist’s diet. Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat.