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Recipes & Food Styling

Neeps & Tatties Shepherds Pie

Mar 1, 2024 | Casseroles, Food Styling, Recipes

A plant-forward take on a St. Patrick’s Day classic

Potatoes and turnips – or “neeps and tatties” as the customary side dish is called in Scotland, where it originated – is a delicious blend of flavor and nutrition. Potatoes are full of health benefits. They provide fiber, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, folate; and vitamins B6 and C. Turnips provide potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, calcium; and vitamins B6, C, and D. What’s more, with their soft and delicate yet vibrant hues of lavender, turnips add a delight to food shopping. Their brilliant natural colors are not on any man-made color wheel.

From brilliant red bell pepper to cheerful yellow kernels of corn, there is plenty of color in the filling of this Shepherd’s Pie. There are also traditional Shepherd’s Pie vegetables, including peas, beans, and carrots. If they are available, fresh pearl onions are perfect in the mix. Add other favorite vegetables like chopped fresh sweet potato, butternut squash, or fennel.

Neeps & Tatties Shepherd’s Pie

Makes 12 servings

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

1 cup pearl onions, peeled and left whole

5-oz tomato paste (1 tube)

½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground multi-color peppercorns 

1 cup corn, frozen or cut from a cob

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

1 cup carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup frozen French-cut green beans

2 large red bell peppers, trimmed and chopped

½ cup chopped fennel bulb

2 cups lentils

2 ½ cups vegetable broth

2 small turnips

3 medium russet potatoes

2 Tbsp vegan butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F

In a large (15-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil.

Add the onions and garlic and sauté them until they are just lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste. Add all of the vegetables except the turnips and potatoes. Stir the ingredients in the skillet until they are covered with the tomato paste. Add the salt and pepper.

Add the broth and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat a little and simmer until the lentils become tender, about 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally.    

While the base is simmering, make the neeps and tatties. In a large pot over high heat, boil the turnips and potatoes until they are tender when they are pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

When the turnips and potatoes are fork-tender, drain them and set them aside to cool. When they are cool enough to touch, peel and chop them into 1-inch pieces.

Add the vegan butter. Using a potato masher, mash the turnips and potatoes together with the butter until the mixture is well blended. 

Using a large star tip in a pastry bag, pipe the neeps and tatties onto the vegetable and lentil base in a pretty, inviting pattern of star-shaped dollops.

Place in the oven until the tops of the potatoes are browned, about 40-45 minutes.