I can't believe it's not shepherd's pie - Wholesome Ireland
Dinner,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Shepherd’s Pie

This week I’ve been scrimping a little more than usual on my food budget. So that means I’m making the most of the dried beans in the store cupboard. The recipe today is made using beans, but it could just as easily be made using leftover meat if you have it. To bulk up the protein element I’ve sprinkled a bit of grated cheese on top of my pie. It’s not an essential ingredient but it tastes nice.

So why cut back on my food budget even more than I already do? Well it’s pretty simple, it’s Mother’s Day this weekend so we like to have something small for our mothers to mark the day and also there was an item on special in the supermarket that I’d wanted for a long while so I cut back on the groceries so I could afford it. I can cut back on the food every now and again because I always have my store cupboard ingredients to hand. It’s especially helpful to do that at the end of the month!

Potatoes and brassicas are good value at the moment. We got a 10kg bag of spuds and 2 MASSIVE turnips from a local farmer for a fiver. There’s enough there to do us for meals for the week and then some. Allowing for the energy used to cook this meal (and there are 4 other baking dishes in the oven not pictured) it works out at about 50c per portion which is frugal in anybody’s book.Shepherd's Pie - Wholesome Ireland - Irish Food & Parenting Blog

“Shepherd’s Pie”

(serves 5 hungry people)


  • 1kg of potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal sizes
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped into the same size as the potatoes
  • 20g of butter and 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 300ml of hot vegetable stock
  • 300g of cooked beans of your choice (or the contents of a drained 454g tin of beans)
  • 100g grated cheese (optional)


Boil the potatoes and turnip together until cooked. Drain, mash well and put to one side. The turnip will be lumpy when mashed as it is more fibrous than the potato but it will be cooked as soon as the potatoes are tender.

Take a large saucepan and heat the butter and oil together on a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender before adding the carrots and cooking for a further 4 minutes until they soften a little.

Sprinkle the flour on top of the carrots and onions and stir until it absorbs the oil. Add 1/3 of the stock and stir well, making sure you get rid of the lumps. Once you have a thick paste, add the next 1/3 of the hot stock and stir again. Repeat with the remainder of the hot stock until you have a thick sauce.

Add the cooked beans to your sauce and stir until they are coated well.

Preheat a (fan) oven to 160 degrees Celsius. I use individual portion sized baking dishes so fill 5 with equal amounts of the bean mixture before topping with equal amounts of the mash. However there is no problem with lashing the lot into a large dish either!

Bake in the oven for 90 minutes before serving. If serving with grated cheese, sprinkle it on top for the last 10 minutes of the cooking process.

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.

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