Healthy Heart Recipe: Lentil Shepherd’s Pie




We all have to look after our ticker and doing so isn’t always easy when we love our nosh. This recipe is from a woman who specialises in tasty dishes which are beneficial for our hearts.  Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos has collected 80 delicious Mediterranean recipes to help prevent heart disease and promote weight loss – while being absolutely deeelish! The Mediterranean diet is the most researched, effective and accessible regime for dealing with a range of lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVC). Dr Catherine’s super new book, The Heart Health Guide (Macmillan), has everything you need to help boost your health, heart and repertoire of great recipes!

This hearty dish combines vegetarian moussaka ingredients to create a vegan version of a classic Irish dish.


3 large eggplants, 1 roughly diced, 2 sliced lengthways (5 mm thick)

3 large zucchini, sliced lengthways (5 mm thick)

1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1 red onion, finely chopped

1–2 garlic cloves, finely chopped Optional: 1 small green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped

1/3 cup (45 g) crushed macadamia nuts

300 g Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered 2 x 400 g tins brown lentils, drained and rinsed

1⁄2 cup (125 ml) red wine

500 g tomatoes, grated or 300 ml purèed tomato

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 cup (250 ml) boiling water, plus extra if needed

1⁄2 bunch basil, leaves picked Salad, to serve

Potato Bechamel

600 g potatoes (low-carbohydrate potatoes such as carisma if possible), peeled and roughly diced

50 g dairy-free margarine

200 ml soy, oat, almond or rice milk, heated

2–3 tablespoons macadamia cream (see tip)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Pinch ground nutmeg


To make the potato bechamel, cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for 20 minutes or until soft, then mash. Beat the margarine, soy milk and macadamia cream into the potatoes until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste and nutmeg, then set aside.

Heat a hotplate or chargrill pan over a medium heat. Brush the eggplant and zucchini slices with olive oil, chargrill until soft and set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and sauté the onion until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli (if using) and sauté for a few minutes, taking care
not to burn the garlic.

Meanwhile, place the mushroom and diced eggplant in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the onion mixture and sauté for 10–15 minutes.

Add the lentils and red wine to the dish, and cook until the alcohol evaporates. Next, add the grated or puréed tomato, tomato paste, paprika and boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes until thickened, ensuring the bolognese does not dry out too much. Add extra boiling water if needed. Tear in half the basil leaves in the last 5 minutes of cooking, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Assemble the moussaka in a large baking dish. Start by spreading a layer of lentil bolognese on the base of the dish, then cover with a layer of eggplant slices. Add another 1 cm thick layer of lentil bolognese and some basil. Follow with a layer of zucchini slices. Repeat the layering, alternating between the zucchini and eggplant layers until all the ingredients are used. Set aside.

Spread the potato bechamel on top of the moussaka, then bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing into eight even portions. Serve with a Greek or green salad.


Adding 1/3 cup (45 g) crushed macadamia nuts, walnuts or pine nuts to the lentil mushroom bolognese adds crunch to the dish and makes the sauce richer in flavour. And adding 2–3 tablespoons of macadamia cream to the bechamel when beating the milk in adds richness to the flavour and creaminess to the sauce.



One thought on “Healthy Heart Recipe: Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Nothing like a plate of veggie Shepherd’s Pie to toughen up the ticker!

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