Sweet Potato & Lentil Sheppard’s Pie

I have never really cooked much with potatoes, as a matter of fact, I used to to avoid them. This is because potatoes are not a very good food for diabetics. Potatoes have a high glycemic index, which means that the carbohydrates in these foods is quickly digested. So, as a type 1 diabetic, it is wise to avoid foods with a high glycemic index such as potatoes. However, surprisingly enough, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index and thus are more easily manageable for diabetics. 

Upon learning this I was excited to begin cooking with them. For dinner a while back we made mashed sweet potatoes that were tastefully spiced with cinnamon. This inspired me to take that flavour profile and make a shepherds pie with it, replacing the ground meat with lentils. This recipe is fairly simple to make but does take a bit of time. It can easily be made in advance and reheated in the oven. 

One note, I use the instant pot to speed up the sweet potatoes, however just boiling them will attain the same result. I hope you enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ lbs carrots, diced
  • ½ head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp  allspice
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped green onion, to top

Directions:

  1. Peel your sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes about 1 inch in width. If using an Instant Pot*, place them in the Instant Pot bowl and cover with cold water. Pressure cook on high pressure for 6 minutes and quick pressure release upon completion. Carefully remove the bowl from the instant pot and strain to remove all water. Return to the bowl in which they cooked and set aside. 
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, we will make the vegetables and the lentils. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven on medium heat (make sure to use a pan with a lid). Add the olive oil to the pan. Once hot sauté the onion, carrot and cauliflower with a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper until the onion begins to become translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute stirring until fragrant. 
  3. To the vegetables add the water, the red lentils and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 8-9 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are cooked. At the same time, preheat your oven to 400 F.
  4. While the lentils are simmering, we will mash the potatoes. With the back of a fork or a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes until smooth. Add in the butter, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne pepper and ¾ tsp salt. 
  5. Once the lentils are completed, get out an 8×8 baking dish and add the lentil mix to the bottom. Then, spread the sweet potatoes over the top. If your dish is very full, when you place it in the oven add an empty baking sheet underneath to catch any liquid that may spill over. Bake for 20 minutes, once the 20 minutes is up put it on broil for another few minutes to get some color on the potatoes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving with chopped green onion. Enjoy!

* If not using an instant pot, cover the potatoes in cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 9-12 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork.

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