Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty, nutritious, plant-based version of the classic comfort food. Vegan shepherd’s pie is a delicious option when you’re craving a traditional English meal or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and want something Irish. Note: This post was originally published on December 16, 2012 and was updated on March 10, 2018.
Last week I received an email from Erin (hi Erin!) my bloggers’ connection contact over at Cooking Light Magazine, about partnering with The Chew and Cooking Light to makeover one of the recipes from the show. As I have had a cold this weekend I was craving something comforting and packed with vitamins.
What is Shepherd’s Pie?
According to Wikipedia, “Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie is a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato. The defining ingredients are minced meat, typically cooked in a gravy with onions and sometimes other vegetables, such as peas, celery or carrots.” Versions of shepherd’s pie are common in many countries, but it seems to have originated in the UK. According to Jamie Oliver, shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are similar, but different. While Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, cottage pie is made with beef. This makes sense, as shepherds raise sheep. Vegetarian and vegan shepherd’s pies are often called shepherdless pie. It comes as no surprise that I always opt for a “shepherdless pie” made with plants, rather than animals.
How To Make Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.
Making a vegetarian or vegan version of the classic shepherd’s pie is quite easy. I love using lentils in place of ground meat. They worked beautifully in my Vegan Lentil Loaf and my Lentil Bolognese. Lentils are hearty and a good source of plant based protein and fiber. They have a mild flavor that works well in many recipes. You may be wondering what type of lentils to use here. You’ll want to avoid the red variety, that get very soft and mushy and look for French green lentils or black lentils. I take a shortcut with this recipe and buy the steamed vacuum packed lentils from Trader Joe’s or canned lentils. I always cook lentils myself when making them for salads, but here the shortcut works just fine.
Shepherd’s Pie from The Chew sounded delicious and I knew my girls would love it. I gave their recipe a major makeover by cutting out the ground beef and replacing it with black lentils and loads of seasonal veggies. You can use any veggies you have in your fridge after the base of onion, carrot, and celery. Some great options for fall and winter are: quartered Brussels Sprouts, sliced cabbage, chopped kale, green beans, and butternut squash.
When I first posted this recipe years ago, I made it in individual ramekins for my girls. They definitely prefer it this way, and I think I do too.
If you’d prefer to make your lentil shepherd’s pie in one dish, I hear you! I mean, I’m all for having fewer dishes to clean at the end of a long day. This recipe works well in an 8-inch square baking dish.
The lentils, mushrooms, and vegetables make this vegan dinner hearty enough for any meat eater, and the small cooked veggies make it easy for kids to eat. Did I mention it’s gluten-free, vegan too, and cheap to make? Vegetable Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is the perfect healthy dinner for cozy nights in. Oh, I almost forgot – you can assemble this whenever you get a chance and bake when you’re ready for dinner.
- 3 large russet or Yukon gold potatoes
- 8 tablespoons dairy-free butter such as Earth Balance or Miyoko's
- 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups seasonal vegetables (I used Brussels sprouts, quartered)
- Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz. Crimini mushrooms, sliced or quartered
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- sea salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black or green lentils
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Boil in salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add half of the butter and mash the potatoes. Add the milk to thin until you have a nice mashed potato consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the other half of the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onion, carrots, celery, any other hard vegetables, and herbs over medium heat until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and peas and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the Worcestershire sauce and vegetable broth, and cook uncovered over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the lentils.
- Transfer the vegetable lentil mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish, or smaller casserole dishes. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and the potatoes are golden brown on top.
* You can reduce the butter by sauteing the vegetables in vegetable broth if desired. * I do my best to calculate approximate nutrition information for my readers who like it. However, I can't guarantee accuracy as I'm not a nutritionist and I use a third party site. If your health depends on nutrition information, please use your favorite calculator to re-calculate.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323 Saturated Fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 39g Protein: 9g