December 10, 2015

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie! A rich and hearty vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes.

Oh vegan shepherd’s pie, how I love you so. The perfect main dish for the holiday table, while cozy and easy enough to make for weeknight dinner. It’s one recipe that I come back to over and over again this time of year and it’s always a crowdpleaser. 

If you’ve never mad shepherd’s pie before, you are essentially making a lentil stew and mashed potatoes, then combining the two. Easy, right? I’ve even made a video for this recipe below that shows you exactly how to make it step-by-step. 


Lentil Shepherd's Pie! A rich, vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes. |
Now that my morning commute consists of rolling from my bed to the downstairs office, I’m missing one of my favorite things about the morning drive in, podcasts. I subscribe to about a zillion of them and they’re the number one reason that no, I cannot take a photo of my dinner because I don’t have any more room.

The other day, as I was running errands around town, I caught up on one of my favorite foodie podcasts from Bon Appetit. I must have binge-listened to at least 10 episodes confirming my fears that not only could I spend my entire day talking about food, but listening to it as well. I think that’s the hallmark of really great food writing: if I’m driving to the store after hearing or reading about your dish then job well done.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie! A rich, vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes. |

How to Make Mashed Potatoes with a Ricer

So, as I tuned into BA’s Thanksgiving podcast two weeks after the actual holiday, I was smitten with the idea of homemade mashed potatoes. They talked about simmering the potatoes, placing them through a ricer and then gently stirring in hot cream and butter. Yes, yes, yes. Suddenly, I couldn’t imagine the idea of not eating mashed potatoes for dinner that night. Thankfully, I had also binge watched enough Food Network over the weekend to know that a vegan shepherd’s pie was also in my forecast.

The key to these incredibly light and fluffy mashed potatoes is a ricer or food mill. I own a ricer for my gnocchi-making afternoons, but I think it’s one of the easiest gadgets out there to produce the best mashed potatoes. Never again will you suffer from glue-like, lumpy mashers. After a quick run through the ricer, I literally just stir in milk and melted butter. This method is foolproof.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie! A rich, vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes. | www.delishknowledge.comYou know how I feel about casserole-y things topped with carbs. In that I love them. Since soup is one of my food groups, it’s only natural that topping a thick, stew-like base with carbs is my idea of the best meal ever. (Um, see also Tamale Pie, Vegetable Stew with Scallion Biscuits).


After reading this report on the myth of easy cooking, I know not to the the E word around lightly. But, for such a fancy looking dinner, this definitely borders on uncomplicated. If you can make soup and mashed potatoes, you can make this.

It’s such a show-stopping recipe and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas or anytime you need a delicious, vegan main dish. 

Lentil Shepherd's Pie! A rich, vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes. |

Watch my tutorial video to see how easy it is to make this vegan shepherd’s pie:

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

vegan shepherd's pie

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: shepherd pie, dinner, main, healthy, entree, vegan, glutenfree
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: vegan


Lentil Shepherd’s Pie! A rich, vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes.

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: shepherd pie, dinner, main, healthy, entree, vegan, glutenfree
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: shepherd pie, dinner, main, healthy, entree, vegan, glutenfree
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: vegan


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (can substitute white onion)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup green (or brown) lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I love Pacific Foods low-sodium broth)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/23/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other unsweetened milk)
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large wide pan (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and tender.
  2. Add in the garlic, lentils, vegetable broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes until lentils are tender. Stir every 5 minutes or so, making sure vegetables aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. You may need to add more vegetable broth/water- I like to start with 3 cups broth and go from there, you may use up to 4 cups. Once lentils are cooked, whisk in the tomato paste.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, make the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover by 1-inch with water. Stir in the salt and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer potatoes until they are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Drain the water from the potatoes and pass them while they are still hot through a food mill or ricer.
  5. Place the potatoes back in the medium saucepan and stir in the milk and melted butter. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, thyme bundle, rosemary and discard from the lentil mixture and stir in the peas.
  7. Preheat the broiler. Transfer the lentil mixture to a 9×13 baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the lentils in an even layer. Place the baking dish under the preheated broiler and broil until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, garnish with parsley and serve.

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

Lentil Shepherd's Pie! A rich, vegan lentil stew topped with homemade mashed potatoes. |

The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course

(Includes 40+ recipes!)


Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.


leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I have had this saved on Pinterest for a while now and just added it to my Christmas list as my vegetarian main, I can’t wait to make it, looks delicious!!

  2. Today I made it for the second time. We loved it. It is a great variation from the original pie. Really delish !! Trying to eat more good protein, like legumes and veggies.

  3. This is one of my favorite vegan recipes. It makes several servings so we have leftovers to take for lunch through the week.

  4. I’m new to cooking with lentils and a poor vegetarian uni student in need of some winter warming food and this was absolutely exactly what I needed – and even better enough to keep some in my fridge and keep me going on the nights where coursework takes up all my cooking time. When I had finished cooking the lentils and veg I almost ate it right there and then it smelt so good. It also made me rediscover my love of leeks, almost forgot how perfect they are in everything. Thanks so much!!

  5. This vegan recipe looks tasty! Perfect for weeknight. I just pinned it to my ”Killer Vegan Recipes” Pinterest board. Can’t wait to try this deliciousness 🙂 Thank you for sharing

  6. Lovely recipe! Nice and hearty, but not too heavy because of the lentils and the fact that there’s no cream or dairy 🙂 I made it twice already! The second time I made some adjustments, because I felt like the lentil stew could use a little more depth of flavour. So I swapped some of the broth for a bottle of dark ale (Kasteel Donker, a Belgian quadrupel) and I made the potato mash with half potatoes and half root celery. That made it even more awesome! The beer gives a ton of extra flavour to the lentils.

    Greetings from Belgium!

  7. I’ve never commented on a recipe before but I made this last night and it was FANTASTIC. Thank you! One of the most flavorful and satisfying vegan dishes I’ve ever had.

  8. Thanks for replying and advising me to just leave out the garlic. I struggle b/c so many great recipes call for garlic and I have not ever known how to replace it successfully so you get a stronger taste to the meal. My husband says he can always tell that I now leave garlic out of my cooking. My daughter and I both found out we are allergic to eggs, garlic, and gluten so we are adjusting and trying to figure out how to not lead a flavorless, vegan life. My poor husband! haha

    • Hi Evie,

      Have you heard about this Indian spice called Asafoetida/Hing? I think they use it in the Indian kitchen to replace the taste of onions and garlic, and it helps digestion. The uncooked spice smells really strong, but a little bit cooked in your dish does give that extra flavour. Maybe that’s worth a try?

    • Hi Evie- I WISH I had a better response. As an Italian, garlic is literally in my bloodstream so I know how sad this must be for you 🙂 Are you allergic to everything in the garlic family? What about shallots? Or onions? I know they aren’t quite the same, but they might give some nice flavor when you leave out the garlic in recipes.

  9. Great recipe! I would recommend reducing the broth added by about a cup. I added a tablespoon of Worcester sauce (vegan), a cup of chopped baby Bella mushrooms, and mixed roasted garlic into the mashed potatoes. Topped with vegan gravy!

  10. This looks so yummy, Alexis!! I think I remember featuring this exact recipe of yours on Sharon Palmer’s blog when I interned for her during grad school! I think it’s time I finally make it for myself!! 🙂

  11. This recipe has become a staple in our house! It’s so easy to make and a great healthy comfort food. I also love how much the recipe makes- I actually really enjoy it cold as a leftover too.

  12. We have one vegan, one vegetarian, and one meat eater and everyone loved it. Easy to make. It was so full off flavor and you don’t miss the meat. The only bummer was that it’s not as good left over. The potatoes don’t re -heat well. Next time I will just make half the recipe 🙂 my vegan is already asking me to make it again.

  13. Such a great recipe!!! My family and I are new to the meatless dishes, this dish was so tasty. I didn’t have fresh herbs, so I used all dry. I did omit the rosemary, not a big fan of the dry version of it. Such a great recipe that you can use pretty much anything, thank you so very much.

  14. Made this last night. I took the advice of others and reduced the amount of liquid, it calls for 4 cups , I used 3 cups. I didn’t put salt in the potatoes and wished I did. That being said it was very good, everyone like it. The longest part of the process is the chopping and dicing, but being new to eating vegan, we are finding this to be the case with a lot of meals. Will definitely make again.

    • Hi Rick- glad you liked it! And yes, that’s the downside sometimes of adding in more vegetables though I find that the more you do it, the faster chopping/prep tends to be. I use my food processor a lot in helping to chop things- especially onions. Just a thought! Thanks for the comment- glad you are here. Alex

  15. Made this tonight. Forgot the peas, but it still turned out hearty and delicious. Perfect for a chilly evening!

  16. My third time making this dish. My family and I are hooked. Make sure you cook your lentils long enough. yummy!

    • I love this recipe! I’ve made it several times now but I’ve never made it as a freezer meal. Do you think this would freeze and recook well? If so, what would your recommendations be for that process. I’m wanting to make this as a postpartum freezer meal.

      • I think it would be great as a freezer meal, but I haven’t done it so can’t say exactly how it will turn out. However, I’ve frozen other casseroles before with success.

  17. Hi there! Just making sure, the pie will cook/broil in the oven for a total of 5 minutes, correct? Other similar recipes that I’ve found call for 15 minutes or so of baking, and this is my first time making this so just wanna be sure. 🙂

    • Hi Aamina, yes! You’ll be broiling it, so keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven. The lentil mixture and potatoes are already cooked, you just want to brown the top. When it gets to be golden brown- it’s ready! Enjoy!

  18. Made this tonight & it tasted fantastic! Even my 5 & 7 year olds loved it. Thank-you! ❤️

  19. This looks amazing! I’ve tried several vegan shepherd’s pie recipes and have yet to find the one that hits the spot, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one 🙂

  20. Looks yummy, but there are peas and tomato paste in the ingredients list that aren’t included in the directions. Are they mixed in with the lentil mixture in step 7?

  21. Vegan Shepherds Pie? I was so excited to click on this until I stumbled upon the requirement of “milk and melted butter” for the mash. Buzz killed immediately. This recipe, no doubt deserving of its high ranking and is probably tasty, BUT iT is not vegan and should not be labeled as such. I appreciate that someone mentioned cauliflower mash above as this will be an adequate substitute and will not require milk or butter. Sorry for the less than positive review.

    • Is this recipe calling for cooked or dried lentils? I think I have made it before and loved it but I cant remember what I did. Now I am serving it to other people so I want to make sure it is right 😉

    • II thought so at first too but gen when I read the ingredients I see it calls for dairy free butter and soy milk… it IS vegan… cheers.

    • The ingredients list clearly says non-dairy butter, and non-dairy milk. Just wondering why such a fuss.

        • I made this recipe and it was delicious! The tomato paste really added that flavor I associate with beef in shepherd’s pie. Even my omnivore boyfriend loved it and went back for seconds!

    • Hi Laird, not sure why it’s not an easily vegan recipe. I used both soy milk and melted earth balance butter in this recipe and turned out great- and vegan! Try it!

  22. I actually made this last night for a new recipe- but I’m not a mashed potato fan so I subbed cauliflower mash- just realized I forgot to add my frozen peas- oops! But great minds think alike 🙂

  23. Totally drooling over this!!!! Also – I never knew Bon Appetite had a podcast! I have to check that out. 🙂 Lately, I’ve been enjoying the new podcast by A Couple Cooks (all about food!).