Curried Lentil and Whipped Potato Casserole–a healthy take on Shepherd’s Pie.

Curried Lentil and Whipped Potato Casserole


My world for a lentil!

Gad! What a week. A book launch + 24 hours in planes & airports + contracting purple diabunghi (some ghastly airborne virus) before arriving in Detroit delivered a woman ready to be scraped from the runway.

Shakily recovered, healthy comfort food that MUST INCORPORATE BEANS is what my body screams for. This Curried Lentil and Whipped Potato casserole fits the bill.

This take on a Shephard’s Pie (Shephard’s Pies traditionally incorporate meat) was a winter staple for the twenty years I owned the Back Alley Gourmet. The following recipe is what memory recalls.

I did make a few changes, one of which was using a ghee made with buffalo milk butter that I found at Trader Joe’s. Lightly seasoned with black mustard seed, turmeric, fennel seed, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, I found it to be a great, short-cut flavor enhancer. I’m sure it will be my latest pantry staple for making quickie Indian dishes. (Ghee is clarified butter and a staple in Indian cooking. Indian recipes are not known for their brevity so any short-cuts are appreciated!)

Hungry for lentils? This link will direct you to a slide-show of  favorite lentil recipes I’ve made through the years. (Below the recipe you’ll find a few pics I took on my trip to Portugal.)

Hungry for lentils? This link will direct you to a slide-show of my favorite lentil recipes I’ve made through the years. (Below the recipe, you’ll find a few pics I took on my trip to Portugal.)

Recipe: Curried Lentil and Whipped Potato  Pie


  • 1 tablespoon seasoned ghee* or canola oil
  • 1 ½-2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups carrots cut into large dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Chaat Masala or curry powder
  • 16 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups brown or green lentils, rinsed; small stones removed, if necessary
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Cayenne, as desired
  • Chopped cilantro, as desired
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potaoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1-3**tablespoons unsalted butter or seasoned ghee, plus additional fat for dotting over casserole prior to baking.
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric (if not using seasoned ghee)
  • 1/2-3/4’s cup half-and-half, whole milk or skim milk**


  1. Heat ghee or oil in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan or Dutch oven.
  2. Add onion, carrots and a pinch of salt and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and masala or curry powder and cook an additional minute.
  4. Stir in lentils, tomato sauce and stock and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until lentils are just tender, about 40 minutes. If liquid is absorbed before the lentils are cooked, add additional stock.
  5. While lentils are cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook potatoes in boiling water until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash with a potato masher. Stir in seasoned ghee or butter and half-and –half, whole or skim milk. (If not using the seasoned ghee, stir in turmeric at this time.) Season to taste with kosher salt and cayenne. If desired, further whip potatoes with an electric beater.
  6. Season lentil mixture to taste with kosher salt, cilantro (I used a small fistful) and cayenne.Spoon mixture into a 9X12-inch large-lipped casserole. Spoon and smooth mashed potatoes over top .
  7. Top casserole with dots of ghee or butter and brown on middle rack in hot oven for 9-12 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm. (Leftovers are a bonus!)

* I used a turmeric-seasoned ghee, purchased at Trader Joe’s. **Of course using several tablespoons of butter and half-and-half will add yummy richness to your mashed potatoes. But reducing the butter and using skimmed milk still makes for a savory casserole.

Active time: 50 minutes

Time to simmer lentils: About 40 minutes

Time to brown casserole: 10-12 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 8 servings (leftovers have been appreciated throughout the week!)

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Portugal is a riotous tapestry of color–a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate. I’ve hundreds of photographs, but the following captures the Bohemian artistry of the country for me. And that snaky dish I’m eating at the bottom of this post? Fried eels, which are  staple of Aviero, and required eating when visiting this colorful town. 



Tagged: , ,
More Recipes Filed Under "All Hot Sides"

3 Responses to Curried Lentil and Whipped Potato Casserole–a healthy take on Shepherd’s Pie.

I welcome your comments!(This site was recently transferred but, unfortunately, I did not have privileges to include past comments. I would love to see a conversation started!)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *