This vegetarian shepherd’s pie is one of my family’s favorite recipes! Made with hearty lentils and meaty mushrooms, it’s unbelievably savory and perfectly seasoned. A true one-pan meal, it’s filling and satisfying. You don’t have to tell anyone that it’s quite healthy!
This vegetarian shepherd’s pie is truly the best! Made with hearty ingredients, this recipe is filling and even committed carnivore-approved. (Both my husband and four-year-old love it!) Tender lentils, meaty mushrooms, and sauteed veggies seasoned with tart red wine, soy sauce, and variety of seasonings make this shepherd’s pie unbelievably savory and rich. This is real comfort food, vegetarian style.
Made primarily with pantry staples, this recipe is full of complex flavors and tastes like it took hours to make, but is surprisingly not that hard to throw together. Use a cast-iron skillet to go from the stove to the oven to the dinner table and make things even easier (with fewer dishes to clean, too)!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
Red or Russet potatoes – See the top tips for how to prep Russet potatoes
Mushroom – Cremini, oyster, or baby bella
Lentils – You can either use canned or cooked ones
Dry red wine
Baby spinach or arugula leaves – Optional. I’ve used them in the past when making this recipe, but not every time if I don’t have them.
How To Make The Best Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
The full recipe & ingredients list are below, but here you’ll find a quick overview for making this recipe perfectly, along with useful tips and info!
Make the mashed potatoes. (Be sure to read the top tips for what to do if you use Russet potatoes!)
Melt some butter or vegan butter in a large skillet over and sauté the veggies. Add the lentils to the skillet and simmer, then stir in the rest of the ingredients except the breadcrumbs.
If you’re using a casserole dish or pie pans, scatter the breadcrumbs over the bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture. If you’re cooking in your skillet, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the lentils. Spread the mashed potatoes on top.
Bake the pie until the top becomes slightly crusty and golden.
Top Tips For Making
- If you’re using Russet potatoes, peel and cut them into 1″ size squares before boiling them. You can then skip the entire ice bath step.
- For vegan or dairy free shepherd’s pie, make sure to use vegan butter and plant-based half and half instead of butter and milk.
More Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes
- Vegetarian Chickpea Tikka Masala
- Air Fryer Tofu
- Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
- BBQ Jackfruit Bowls
- Chickpea Gyros
- 2 pounds red or Russet potatoes whole or cut into uniform pieces if potatoes are unevenly sized. See Note if using Russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup butter or vegan butter
- 1/2 cup milk or plant-based half and half
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces cremini, oyster, or baby bella mushrooms chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 2 (15-ounce) cans lentils lightly drained but not rinsed (or about 3 1/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)
- 2 tablespoons dry red wine
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 1 long sprig fresh rosemary cut in half
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- pepper freshly ground, to taste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 8 baby spinach or arugula leaves optional
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400º F. Start cooking the potatoes: Wash and add to medium saucepan filled with cold water. (See Notes for Russet potatoes.) Bring to boil over high heat on stove. Let boil until potatoes are soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork, about 12-20 minutes. Continue with next steps while potatoes cook.
- Cook vegetables: Melt 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, mushrooms are soft, and onion is golden.
- Add lentils and their liquid to skillet. Turn down heat so liquid gently simmers. Stir in wine, soy sauce, rosemary, and dried spices. Cook 5 minutes. Add cornstarch or arrowroot to small bowl and mix with just enough water to dissolve. Pour into skillet and stir. If using spinach, add a little at a time and cook until just wilted. Remove skillet from heat and remove rosemary sprig and discard.
- Make mashed potatoes: When done boiling, remove from hot water with slotted spoon and place in ice water bath. Remove skins after minute or so. Cut the potatoes into quarters.
- Microwave 1/4 cup butter or vegan butter and milk or plant-based half and half in microwave-safe bowl or glass until butter melts and milk is hot. Pour into potatoes and use masher or back of spoon to mash to desired consistency. Add more milk or half in half if potatoes are lumpy. Season with salt to taste.
- Prepare pie: Lightly oil or grease 2-quart casserole dish (preferably round), two deep-dish pie pans, or cast iron skillet. Casserole dish or pie pans: Scatter breadcrumbs over greased bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture. Cast iron skillet: Pour in lentil mixture, then sprinkle breadcrumbs over the lentils. After lentils and breadcrumbs have been added, spread mashed potatoes evenly on top.
- Baked 35 minutes or until top becomes slightly crusty and golden. If desired, brush melted butter or vegan butter on top of potatoes 20 minutes into baking time. When done, remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
- Russet potatoes: Peel and cut potatoes into 1″ size squares before boiling. Skip entire ice water bath step.
- Vegan or dairy free: Use vegan butter and plant-based half and half instead of butter and milk.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.