For a hearty yet healthy dinner idea, look no further than this creamy and comforting recipe from Amelia Freer’s new book

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We all need a hearty comfort meal up our sleeves, and this is it for me: creamy sweet potato mash with a rich and tender beef filling, bulked out with lentils for their added fibre, plant protein and minerals. This is usually a huge hit with the little ones too!

MAKES: 2 portions


1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 small stick of celery, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
240g lean beef mince
3 tablespoons tomato purée
100g cooked Puy lentils
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked (optional)
200ml water or chicken stock
2 handfuls of seasonal greens, finely sliced


200g sweet potato, peeled and diced into 2-3cm pieces
2-3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion, celery, pepper and garlic for 5 minutes, until soft but not brown. Push the veg to one side of the pan, then add the beef and brown for a few minutes, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

Add the tomato purée, then add the lentils, bay leaf, thyme and the water or stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, then uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Taste and season.

Meanwhile, steam your sweet potato and carrots until they are very tender, about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the chunks. Drain and mash, adding a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Leave in the pan and keep warm.

Just before serving, add the greens to the beef mixture and stir until wilted/cooked.

Swirl half the mash around the bottom of a shallow bowl, then fill the centre with half the beef and lentil mixture.

Place the remaining half of the mixture and the mash into a small ovenproof dish and leave to cool down. Refrigerate overnight. Tomorrow evening, just reheat it in the oven until piping hot before serving with a handful of steamed or blanched green vegetables (use whatever you have left over).

Like this recipe? Then check out  Amelia’s recipe for a super-fast yet filling herby green omelette here .

Nourish & Glow: The 10-day Plan by Amelia Freer published by Michael Joseph, £16.99.  Buy online .

Photography credit: Susan Bell, 2017.