Shepherd’s pie with parsnip and pumpkin topping

Shepherd’s pie with parsnip and pumpkin topping

Something for Everyone
Ben Dearnley

The parsnip and pumpkin topping on this pie offers more vegetable variety than conventional potato topping, plus it helps your children become accustomed to seeing a variety of colours on their plate. You can serve this pie in a large dish or in smaller individual dishes. I often divide the mixture between two smaller dishes so we have one for dinner and one to freeze for another night.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g minced lamb
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
or 500g fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 zucchini, finely diced
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
400g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced
400g parsnip, peeled and diced
30g butter
50g cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until softened. Add the lamb and cook for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, until the lamb has browned all over.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes and 190 ml water. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the zucchini and parsley.
  4. Meanwhile, steam or boil the pumpkin and parsnip for 10–15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Mash (or blend using a stick blender) until smooth, then stir through the butter.
  5. Spoon the beef mixture into a 2 litre ovenproof dish (or use two dishes or six smaller ramekins). Top with the pumpkin and parsnip mixture. Sprinkle over the cheese and drizzle over a little oil. Bake the pie in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Baby’s serve

  • For a younger baby, blend together the shepherd’s pie filling and topping, adding as much liquid (water or your baby’s milk) as needed to achieve the desired consistency. For an older baby, chop up to a consistency that can be easily eaten with a spoon.

Toddler’s serve

  • Prepare as for an older baby or simply serve as is.
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