Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

5 from 1 vote
This shepherd's pie is cozy, vegan, gluten-free and healthy. Made with a brothy lentil base and fluffy mashed potato topping. It's a recipe that all types of eaters can enjoy.
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
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Dec 19, 2021 by Hannah Sunderani

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Hi Friends! I am so excited to be sharing this Vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipe with you. This recipe is made with a brothy lentil and vegetable base and a fluffy mashed potato topping. Baked in the oven until bubbling. It’s comforting, protein-packed, healthy, vegan and gluten-free.

This is a great recipe to serve for the holidays, for Thanksgiving or Christmas as a meatless main dish. I served it to my non-vegan family and they loved it.

I’ve been sharing a few meatless mains for the holidays including my nut roast and this Shepherd’s Pie recipe is certainly one of my favourites.

Of course, it’s also a perfect recipe for the winter months.

In short, this vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipe is:

  • vegan (of course)
  • gluten-free
  • healthy
  • protein and veggie packed
  • comforting
  • brothy lentil base
  • fluffy potato topping
  • popular with vegans and non-vegans
  • perfect recipe for the holidays!

So let me tell you exactly how to make this recipe. So that you can enjoy it pronto!

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Table of Contents

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is a casserole dish consisting of cooked minced meat in a gravy sauce topped with mashed potato. It’s baked in the oven until bubbling.

Of course, we’ve made this recipe vegan using a brothy lentil base instead of meat, yet kept the traditional fluffy and buttery mashed potato topping.

Let me tell you, I grew up eating a lot of shepherd’s pie! That’s because my parents are from England. It was served in our household at least once a week.

So, I really took this recipe to the taste test by serving it to my parents. And they absolutely loved it! This recipe has all the comforts of traditional shepherds pie but it’s totally vegan.

As for why it’s called “Shepherd’s Pie?” I couldn’t find a definitive answer, but according to my British mum any pie dish made with meat and potatoes is traditionally called a “cottage pie.” This version got the name “shepherd’s pie” because it was traditionally made with lamb…

(I know, not my cup of English breakfast tea either).

So, maybe we should call this recipe a “lentil pie” instead of shepherd’s pie? It doesn’t quite have the same right, but if you can think of something better let me know in the comment below!

And, if you’re interested, here’s some quick history on shepherd’s pie.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

How to make a shepherd’s pie vegan

This shepherd’s pie is made vegan by substituting lentils for ground beef or lamb.

The result is a shepherd’s pie that’s just as cozy and comforting, yet totally vegan and healthy too.

I did consider using a plant-based ground for this recipe, but chose to go with lentils because I wanted to keep the dish healthy and made with wholefoods.

I served this to my British parents and they absolutely loved it! I’m sure it will be a hit in your home too with vegans and non-vegans alike.

How to make this vegan shepherd’s pie

It is so easy to make shepherd’s pie. Honestly anyone can do it! Which is why I have given this recipe my newbie cook stamp of approval.

Back in the day, this recipe was considered “peasant food” because it was fast and cheap to make (swapping pie crust for potatoes).

Essentially there are two parts to this recipe:

  1. Making the fluffy mashed potatoes
  2. Making the brothy lentil base

Then, we will combine the two and bake in the oven until bubbling.

Mashed Potato Topping

To make the mashed potato topping, boil the potatoes in a pot until fork tender. Then strain and add back to the pot with some butter, almond milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Mash with a potato masher, or fork, or immersion blender until fluffy and combined.

Brothy Lentil Base

To make the brothy lentil base, cook the vegetables in a skillet until softened. Then add the flour and stir to combine.

Next add the broth, spices, and lentils and give that a good stir.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (I used an 8.5 x 11 inch dish) and spoon the mashed potatoes on top. Bake for 20 minutes until the shepherd’s pie is bubbling and the mashed potatoes turn lightly golden brown.

Can you prepare vegan shepherd’s pie in advance?

This vegan shepherd’s pie recipe is a great dish to prepare in advance. It can be made 1 to 2 days in advance. Keep it stored in the fridge, covered with reusable wrap, or store in freezer for up to 3 months.

Freezing and storage tips:

If storing this vegan shepherd’s pie in the fridge: Cover the top with reusable wrap. When ready to eat, place in the oven at 350F/180C for 20 minutes. (Cover the top with tin foil to stop it from drying out).

If cooking from frozen, place in the oven at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes. (Cover the top with tin foil to stop it from drying out).

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

This shepherd's pie is cozy, vegan, gluten-free and healthy. Made with a brothy lentil base and fluffy mashed potato topping. It's a recipe that all types of eaters can enjoy.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Serves 6 people

Ingredients

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2 lbs white potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Lentil Filling

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery finely chopped
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme more for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Instructions

  • Make the mashed potatoes: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the cubed potatoes and simmer on medium-high heat, until fork tender, 15 minutes. Strain the potatoes and add back to the pot. Add the vegan butter, almond milk, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.Mash everything together with a potato masher (or a fork) until smooth and combined. Cover the pot with a tea towel and secure with the pot lid. Place the mashed potatoes to the side until ready to use.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C. In a large deep skillet, add the olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until softened, 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until the mushrooms are softened and browned, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle in the flour, stir to combine.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a low simmer. Add the balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme, tomato paste, smoked paprika, fennel seeds and salt. Stir together. Toss in the cooked lentils and peas, cook until the peas are vivid green, 1 minute.
  • Pour the filling into a medium casserole dish (8 ½ x 11) and spoon the mashed potatoes on top. Smooth with the back of a spoon to make an even layer. Optional to lightly graze the mashed potatoes with a fork to make fork lines through the top, season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake the shepherd’s pie for 20 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes turn lightly golden and the lentil filling bubbles around the edges. Increase heat to broil for 3 to 5 minutes to lightly crisp the mashed potato topping.
  • Remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Optional to sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Notes

This vegan shepherd’s pie can be made 1 to 2 days in advance. Keep it stored in the fridge, covered with reusable wrap, or freeze it for later
If storing this vegan shepherd’s pie in the fridge: Cover the top with reusable wrap. When ready to eat, place in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes. (Cover the top with tin foil to stop it from drying out).
If storing in the freezer: let thaw to room temperature. When ready to eat, place in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes. (Cover the top with tin foil to stop it from drying out).

Approvals

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 841mg | Potassium: 1221mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4435IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 4mg
DID YOU

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  1. My husband and I loved this recipe! Very comforting on a cold winter night. I wouldn’t change a thing, it was so good!! The fennel seeds added a nice little burst of flavour.