Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
A richly flavored, healthier version of a classic winter casserole. Rustic mashed potatoes top a savory base of black lentils and aromatic vegetables. Hearty, healthy, and comforting. Also vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
Servings Prep Time
8servings 1hour
Passive Time
Servings Prep Time
8servings 1hour
Passive Time
Rugged Mashed Potatoes
  • 2pounds potatoes900 grams. Yukon Gold or Russet
  • 1/4cup olive oil
  • 3/4teaspoon saltplus more salt for the cooking water
Aromatic Vegetables
Black Lentils
  1. Scrub potatoes, cut away any bad spots or sprouts, and put in a medium pot. For the richest potato flavor, do not peel or cut into pieces. Cover potatoes with water, add about a teaspoon of salt, top with a lid, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low so that the water just bubbles. Cook until you can easily slide a fork through the centers, about 35 minutes.
  2. While potatoes simmer, cook aromatic vegetables. Put olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Chop red onion and celery, adding them to the skillet as you go. Slice mushrooms and cut crosswise once or twice, then add to the skillet. Cook for about 8 minutes, until onions and mushrooms are soft.
  3. Set out an 13x9x2-inch baking dish or another oven-safe dish that holds 15 cups. Mince garlic and stir into the vegetable mixture with smoked paprika, then dump vegetables into the baking dish.
  4. Cook the lentils in the same skillet used for the vegetables: no rinsing needed. Pick through and rinse lentils and add to skillet with 3 1/2 cups water, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low so that the water just bubbles. Chop carrot and add to lentils. Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the center position.
  5. When potatoes are tender, save a half-cup or so of cooking water and drain the rest. Mash potatoes using a potato masher, pastry cutter, or large fork. Add olive oil and salt, then mash a bit more until potatoes are well blended. If potatoes are too dry, add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water.
  6. When lentils are tender, removed bay leaf. Stir corn starch into 1/4 cup water until smooth, then stir mixture into lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and boil gently for one minute.
  7. To assemble the Shepard’s Pie, pour lentils over aromatic vegetables. Stir and smooth so the mixture covers the baking dish evenly. Spoon mashed potatoes over lentil mixture and spread to cover. Try to get potatoes to the edges so lentils don’t bubble out when cooking. Use a fork to make fun swirly patterns in the potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes until potato edges brown. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • My Taster likes that this Shepard’s Pie has more base than topping. That’s where most of the umami flavor is. If you want a thicker potato topping, use up to three pounds of potatoes and increase the olive oil and salt for balance.
  • Shepherds are flexible and this recipe is too. Use brown or green lentils instead of black ones, switch out the celery for frozen peas, or use half cauliflower for the mash on top.

Nutritional Information for Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

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