Dark Chocolate, Gluten Free, Recipes

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie & A Chocolate Twist

Tasked with making a vegetarian shepherds pie, for my daughter coming for dinner, I didn’t want to do my usual quorn based recipe, so felt it time to get the lentils out. I’d made a similar version previously, (some years back) using brown lentils, so knew it was a tasty meal. This time, I bought red split lentils in error, and I couldn’t face going back to the shops, so I had no choice but to use what I had. Thankfully they worked a treat and didn’t need any soaking, so made the recipe quicker to make. You don’t need to add the chocolate if you don’t want to, but it does add something to the final taste, so you probably should try it at least once. Anyway, dinner was a resounding success, and we all enjoyed our vegetarian shepherds pie, with it serving a healthy 6 portions.

Pie Filling

  • 8 oz red split lentils (no soaking needed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large carrots – chopped
  • 1 large stick celery – chopped
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 1 courgette – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic ( I use lazy garlic, simply for ease)
  • 1 punnet / 250g of chestnut mushrooms
  •  Fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 30 g 60% Choc Affair dark chocolate buttons

For the mashed potato topping

  • King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes ( I use a full 2.5k bag, as I love lashings of mashtopping.)
  • Milk to taste
  • 50g butter (again, very generous amount, you can reduce this)
  • 150 g cheddar cheese – grated
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Put the lentils in a large pan, just covering them with water, add the bay leaves and bring to the boil.
  • Add the carrots and celery and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
  • In a separate pan, fry the onions in the oil for a few minutes. Add the chopped garlic, fry for a further 2 minutes, before adding the courgette and the mushrooms. Fry for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the fried vegetables to the lentils, along with the sprigs of thyme, tinned beans and soy sauce. Season to taste.
  • Simmer for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and thyme (no one wants to find a bay leaf, or whole sprig of thyme in their meal), and add the chocolate buttons to the pan. Stir the chocolate in, season again to taste if needed, and pour into a casserole dish.
  • Boil the potatoes in slightly salted water, until soft. Drain the potatoes, add the milk, butter and mash. Add 100g of the cheese and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.Spread the mash over the lentils. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake at 180℃ (160℃ fan, 350℉, Gas 4) for about 25 minutes, until golden brown and piping hot.

Serve and enjoy.


About Linda

Linda is the founder of Choc Affair, with a passion for creating wonderfully delicious chocolates, that are ethically made.