Guest Recipe: Sheperdless Pie

A few weeks ago, my beautiful friend Alexandra published her equally beautiful book, Land & Sea. You might know of Alexandra already for many reasons but for me it is her creativity, writing and passion for food that really shines through. Land & Sea is a testament to all three of these things with beautiful recipes created with love. While her book is not dairy or gluten-free, nor does she avoid refined sugar or animal products either, most recipes have options to adapt to suit your own dietary requirements. For example, butter can usually be swapped for coconut oil or brown sugar for coconut sugar, milk for a dairy-free alternative.

Many of the sweeter things include eggs and I am yet to experiment with them to create egg-free versions (although I am desperate to give the Dutch Baby recipe a go after drooling at the picture!). So I thought I would share a delicious vegetarian dish with you from the book that seems perfect for these premature autumnal days. This book really is beautiful and if you are looking for some fresh ideas that step away from the whole 'clean eating' movement and lend more to sustainably sourced, home-made, restaurant creative ideas then I would definitely pick up a copy. And if you give this one a go, make sure you tag @alexandradudly and #mindbodybowl in your creations!

Over to Alexandra!

“A firm British favourite, shepherd’s pie is comfort food at its best and this meat-free version is just as satisfying and full of flavour as the classic. Feel free to use whatever vegetables are in season and to swap in other herbs. This recipe uses classic Mediterranean flavours celebrating basil and thyme, but for a more spice rich one, try my Moroccan pie over the page. I use a creamy cauliflower topping for my pies as I prefer the lighter taste but you can use good old-fashioned mashed potato if you prefer.”

shepherdless_pie small.jpg

what you’ll need

Serves 4–6 | You will need an ovenproof dish roughly 20 x 30cm, or 24cm diameter if using a round dish

  • 3 leeks, chopped on the diagonal roughly 1cm in width

  • olive oil, butter or coconut oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped

  • 2 courgettes, thinly sliced

  • 400g tin organic chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

  • handful of cavalo nero, chopped into 1cm ribbons, or 2 handfuls spinach or kale

  • 4 large plum vine tomatoes, quartered

  • large bunch of basil

For the topping:

  • 2 cauliflower heads, chopped

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • sea salt and black pepper

  • handful of thyme, leaves picked

  • 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan (optional)

what to do

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

First, make the topping. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the cauliflower until soft, 5–8 minutes. Drain and return to the pan before mashing the cauliflower until it is as smooth as you can get it. I use a stick blender for this but a simple potato masher is fine. Add the tahini, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Stir everything together and check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary. 

Place the leeks and one knob of butter or oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and toss, allowing them to brown a little. Add a few tablespoons of water to help them soften and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the courgettes and a little more oil or butter, tossing everything to make sure the courgettes are coated. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes are just beginning to soften. Next, add the tomatoes and thyme leaves. Stir everything together and allow it to bubble away for about 8 minutes and thicken slightly.

When the vegetables are bubbling nicely, add the cavalo nero or spinach or kale, plus the tomato quarters and cook for another 2 minutes or so to wilt the cavalo nero slightly. Taste and season to your liking before stirring through the basil leaves.

Transfer the vegetables to the ovenproof dish. Roughly flatten the surface before spreading over the cauliflower mash. Sprinkle over a few more thyme leaves and/or Parmesan, if you wish.

Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the tomato has slightly started to bubble up the sides and the whole thing is warm right through.

Serve warm.


Recipe is from LAND & SEA: Secrets to simple, sustainable, sensational food by Alexandra Dudley, which is published by Orion (Hardback: £25, eBook: £12.99). 

Photography by Andrew Burton. 


MainsAnnie Clarke