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Next Steps Shepherd’s Pie

In season now


Minced meat or veggie alternative (about 200-300g for 4 people)

1 tin cooked lentils, drained and rinsed

Worcestershire sauce and/or 1 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)

1-2 tins chopped tomatoes or 1 jar/pack of passata (or use about 500g homemade tomato sauce)

Mashed potatoes (use about 4 large white potatoes, peeled and chopped then boiled until soft, drained and mashed - options to add other veg to the mash in recipe)

Frozen peas and/or frozen sliced carrots (other ideas for great veg additions in recipe - aim for 1-2 handfuls of veg per person)


We suggest you do this in stages, slowly, and go as far as works for your family, here’s how your final recipe might come together…


  1. Preheat your oven to 200C/gas 6.

  2. Cook the mince in a little oil in a frying pan until browned. Stir through the Worcestershire sauce and/or dried herbs if using, and the chopped tomatoes/passata/sauce. Let it simmer for a few mins to heat through. Add lentils if using, along with any frozen veg, and simmer until cooked (the packet will tell you how long this should take). Great frozen additions include: peas, sweetcorn, sliced carrots, mixed veg, Mediterranean veg mix, sliced peppers or mushrooms. If using fresh veg, add it to the pan with the mince and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until softened (usually about 5-10 mins for most diced fresh veggies. Great fresh additions include: diced carrot, celery and/or onion, sliced mushrooms and diced peppers. You could also use fresh washed leafy greens like spinach or kale leaves – just add with the lentils and/or frozen veg and simmer until wilted.

  3. Meanwhile, make the mash by boiling peeled and chopped potatoes until soft, then drain and mash with a little salt & pepper and oil, butter or milk if you feel it needs it. You could add more veg here by replacing half the potatoes (which don’t count towards your 5-a-day) with a couple of handfuls of frozen or fresh cauliflower florets or peeled and diced root veg like: sweet potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, etc. Boil with the potatoes until soft. Alternatively, you could add a tin of creamy butter beans to the cooked drained potatoes with a little milk or butter before mashing.

  4. In a casserole dish, pour the meat sauce, then top with the mashed potatoes. Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins, until golden and bubbling

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating. Find out more here.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Get younger kids mashing up the potatoes (and any veg or beans added to it) and spooning it over the meat sauce in the dish.

Older kids might be ready to learn how to chop some fresh veg to add at the start of the meal, stir everything together in the pan, and layer it all in the dish!

Master these skills:

Tasting,  Mixing,  Bridge chopping,  Claw chopping


Use arts & crafts as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. While you make your shepherd’s pie, why not set a child up with:

Carrot Face Mask

Carrot Veg Crown

Cut Out ‘n’ Colour Carrot

Carrot Launcher game

Get Over It puzzle

Find more arts & crafts and puzzles & games on our website.



Why not start with a carrot and/or a corn cob that you place in a clean sock or two and ask your child to see if they can describe the veg just through touch. Does it feel bumpy or smooth, pointy or round? What do they think it might be? Does it remind them of something? See if they want to chuck some into the shepherd’s pie after having engaged with them.

Head to our Sensory page for more games, videos, tips and ideas.



Why not let your child design a beautiful menu? Set them up with some paper and pens and see if they want to write and draw it out in layers like the pie, and perhaps even come up with a silly name for it? Make sure to praise them for their involvement as you serve it up and use the name they use on the menu, it may encourage them to try some!

Get more ideas over on our Roles for Kids page.

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