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Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This vegan shepherd’s pie has a base of assorted veggies and mushrooms in gravy, a mid-layer of lentils and fresh herbs, and a canopy of creamy mashed potatoes. It’s 100% heartwarming nourishment, perfect for a family dinner or potluck in cooler weather.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4
Author: Thomas

Ingredients

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds potatoes (900 grams) scrubbed preferably Yukon gold
  • 1 cup plant milk unsweetened and unflavored
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons plant-based butter optional
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast optional
  • 1 pinch paprika smoked or sweet

Lentils

  • 1 cup dry lentils rinsed and drained, I used Beluga but any kind will work (see note)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage optional

Vegetable and Mushroom Saute

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil optional
  • 1 cup onion diced coarsely
  • 1 cup carrot diced coarsely
  • 1 cup celery diced coarsely
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried “Italian” seasoning
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups mushrooms diced coarsely
  • 1 cup plant milk unsweetened and unflavored
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar white wine or apple cider
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats ground to a fine powder in a coffee grinder
  • 1 cup frozen corn and/or green peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)

Cook the potatoes and lentils

    If using an Instant Pot and Steaming Stand

    • Combine the lentils with two cups of water and a pinch of salt in the Instant Pot pot. Place the steaming stand into the pot above the lentils and stack the potatoes on top of the sand so that they are not touching the lentils or the water. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes then use the natural release method. Remove the pot from the heating element.

    If not using an Instant Pot

    • Place the potatoes in the basket of a stovetop steamer pot and add an inch (2.5 centimeters) of water). Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and steam for 20 minutes. Add water if the pot runs dry at any point. Remove from heat.
    • In a separate pot, combine the lentils with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when the lentils are to your preferred tenderness.

    Mash the potatoes

    • Combine the potatoes, plant-based butter, nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup of the plant milk, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Use a potato masher, fork, or other appropriate device to mash the potatoes to your desired thickness. Mix in more plant milk gradually to make the potatoes more runny. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.

    Cook the vegetables and gravy

    • Heat the oil (if using) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If not using oil, heat 1/4 cup water in the same way. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, “Italian” seasoning, and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, continuing to stir and cook for another 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. If the ingredients start to smoke at any point, reduce to medium or medium-low heat.
    • Add the plant milk, vinegar, and ground oats and stir well. Once the mixture has thickened, 2-3 minutes later, add the frozen corn and/or peas. Stir again and let cook for 1 minute so the corn and peas thaw. Remove from heat.
    • Taste the mixture and season with salt as needed.

    Assemble and bake the pie

    • Spread the vegetable-gravy mixture in an even layer across the bottom of a large baking pan (at least 3 quarts/liters). Spread the lentils in an even layer on top of that. Sprinkle the parsley and sage over the lentils (if using). Spread the potatoes in an even layer on top of the lentils.
    • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned and the mixture below is bubbling. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately.

    Notes

    There are 2 cups of plant milk needed, one for the potatoes and one for the gravy.
    You can peel the potatoes after steaming if you like, but it’s not required.
    You can use canned lentils instead of dried. One 15-ounce (425-gram) can contains slightly less than this recipe produces (it makes about 20 ounces / 565 grams) but the amount in the can should still be enough to create the lentil layer.
    Any kind of lentils will work, though some varieties will become softer than others, given a single cook time.
    If you’d like to prepare this ahead of time and serve it later, you can assemble the pie but not bake it. Cover it and keep it in the fridge in the meantime. Bake it at 425 F (220 C) for 30-40 minutes, until heated through, right before serving.