Red Lentil Pies


This is a really useful family recipe, as it can be prepped ahead, you can then just cook through in the oven until bubbling and hot. As a parent of two small children I try and set aside afternoons for meal prep, so that on busy days I can get home-cooked food on the table easily. I don’t have time to cook from scratch every day, but I don’t want to compromise on healthy meals either.

In this recipe I am using my lentil sauce as a base for this comforting veggie pie, with a sweet potato topping.  However, you can also batch cook the lentil sauce and freeze it, as it is great served with spaghetti, or even rice (you’ll find it elsewhere on this website).

N.B. I don’t add salt, so we can all eat the same meal. I am a big believer in eating the same menu as my kids to save time. Who has the energy to prep a whole load of separate meals? For adults and bigger kids, this is delicious with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, it just adds an extra depth of flavour.



For the lentil sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced

  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • 250g red lentils, rinsed in running water

  • 350g tomato passata, or chopped tinned tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree

  • ½ teaspoon, fresh thyme leaves, pick from stems

  • 750ml vegetable stock (no added salt stock for small children), or water


For the sweet potato mash:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice

  • 25g unsalted butter

  • 30g grated cheese, this final topping is optional 


For the lentil sauce:

Take a big cooking pot and heat the olive oil, then add the prepped onions, carrots and celery. Cook until soft and translucent, this will take 15-20 mins. Next add the garlic, and cook for a further 1-2 mins stirring so the garlic doesn’t catch as it will turn bitter. Add the lentils, passata (or tinned tomatoes), tomato purée, thyme leaves and stock (or water). Bring everything to a simmer and cook for 45 mins to 1 hour: reducing until you have a lovely thick sauce. You can add a little more liquid (stock or water) if needed

Once cooked, remove your sauce from the heat and finish with a grind of black pepper. The red lentils and vegetables should be completely soft and cooked through. Set aside to cool, this will help you when you assemble the pies

For the sweet potato mash:

Meanwhile bring a pot of boiling water to the boil, add the prepped sweet potato and cook until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove the sweet potato from the heat and drain. Tip the cooked sweet potato into a bowl and lightly mash adding butter.  

To assemble the pies:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan oven). You can use mini oven dishes, for single portions, or one large family-style dish. Add a generous base of the cooled lentil sauce and top with a layer sweet potato mash. Dot with a little extra butter. Cook in the oven for 25 mins (approx.) until golden and bubbling. You can add a little grated cheese (this is completely optional) for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from the oven and cool a little before serving.

lentilsMiriam Cooper