Make the chili a day ahead and the flavors will have time to infuse and become more delicious in this highly shareable dish. This is a really mild chili (I doused my serving in hot sauce) so add some more chili powder, chili flakes or cayenne for more heat.

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie [Vegan]





For the chili:
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped (or omit, I just had some extra)
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup sweetcorn kernels, tinned or frozen
  • 1 chili pepper, de-seeded if you want less heat
  • 1 cup of brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • oil, for frying
Spice blend:
  • 2 stock cubes, crumbled (gluten-free if needed)
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
For the Sweet Potato Mash:
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, chopped into chunks
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a large pot, heat a splash of oil over a medium heat and add in the onion. Cook til translucent, then add the garlic and chopped chili and cook for another minute.
  2. Add in the rest bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and spices and cook for a further few minutes ’til fragrant.
  3. Add in the tinned tomatoes and stir the pot well, deglazing the bottom. Then add the water, lentils and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every so often.
  4. Add in the sweetcorn and kidney beans and simmer uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. If it looks like there’s a little too much liquid, don’t worry. It should be fine when left to cool and the lentils absorb a bit more of it.
  5. Place the sweet potato in a pot of salted boiling water and cover. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash with the juice and zest of a lime, salt and pepper. You can add some chili flakes for heat if you like.
  6. In a large casserole dish (or two smaller ones), pour in a layer of the chili about 1½-2 inches thick. Top with mashed sweet potato and cover with foil. Place in the oven at 375ºF for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes.