The best vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie has a savory and herby lentil filling with soft and cheesy mashed potatoes on top. Enjoy this hearty dish as a family-friendly dinner!

casserole dish with lentil shepherd's pie and a spoon serving it

Grab the biggest spoon you can find and dig into this comforting Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. Made with a savory lentil filling and cheesy mashed potatoes on top, it’s no wonder why many of us consider this to be the ultimate comfort food.

Other comfort food favorites that are always a hit include The Best Vegan Lasagna, “Chicken” Broccoli Rice Casserole and Vegan Pot Pie.

The mix of hearty lentils, cooked veggies, tons of herbs and spices, and of course some help from a few sauces make each bite taste vibrant, balanced, and savory. The mashed potato topping is soft and fluffy, while the melted vegan cheese on top makes the pie extra delicious. Shepherd’s pie has never been so tasty.

You’re going to fall hard for this dinner because it’s:

  • Kid-friendly
  • Budget-friendly
  • Hearty and comforting
  • Healthy and full of protein!

This recipe is so good on its own but slices of fresh bread with vegan butter and a green salad on the side make the meal complete. Or make some vegan dinner rolls to go along with the pie!

white plate with a fork taking a bite of a casserole

What kind of lentils should I use?

Green and brown lentils are best used in lentil shepherd’s pie because they hold their shape and texture, won’t turn to mush, and have a meaty flavor. Red lentils just won’t do.

I used canned lentils to speed up the cooking process but you’re more than welcome to use dried. I’ve included directions on using both.

You also don’t need to use lentils at all if you don’t want to! Just swap them out for vegan ground beef instead. Impossible or Beyond Meat brands are my favorite.

How to make vegan lentil shepherd’s pie

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Begin by boiling the potatoes in some water until they’re tender. Drain and mash with the plant milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in some of the cheese for extra creamy flavors.

Next, prepare the lentil filling by sautéing the onion and garlic in a skillet. Add the cooked lentils, herbs and spices, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste to the skillet and stir. After a minute, stir in the flour. 

Finish the filling by pouring in the broth, peas, carrots, and corn. Bring it up to a boil before reducing the heat and letting it simmer and thicken for a few minutes.

Transfer the lentil mixture to a baking dish (or bake it right in your cast iron pan) before spooning on dollops of potatoes. Spread everything into an even layer, add the rest of the cheese on top, then bake. The finished pie is best served hot and fresh!

collage of how to make lentil shepherd's pie step by step

If using dried lentils

Dried green or brown lentils can be used in this recipe if you don’t have canned lentils. Cook them before doing anything else, as this can take some time. To cook dried lentils:

  1. Combine 1 ½ cups of dry lentils and 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  3. Let the lentils simmer for about 20 minutes until they’re tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside until you’re ready to put the filling together.

Helpful tips and substitutions

  • For crispy bits of mashed potatoes and cheese, drag a fork through the potatoes on top of the pie before it goes in the oven. These will create small edges that will crisp up as it bakes.
  • If you don’t have any vegan cheese, you’re welcome to leave it out of the recipe. Alternatively, go all out and make my shreddable vegan mozzarella to use in the pie!
  • Do you have leftover mashed potatoes already in the fridge? Go ahead and use them as the topping instead of making a fresh batch.
  • Feel free to add more vegetables into the filling, like mushrooms, sweet potato chunks, or zucchini.
  • Gluten free? Use cornstarch or gluten free flour instead of the all purpose flour.

How to store and freeze shepherd’s pie

Keep the leftover vegan shepherd’s pie in an airtight container or covered in the baking dish and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen before or after being cooked. Just cover it well and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat, place the pie in an oven-safe dish and warm it in a 400ºF oven for about 30 minutes. If the top is looking a little too crispy, feel free to cover it with foil.

square of mashed potato lentil mixture on plate

More hearty vegan dinner recipes

square image of a casserole with cheddar mashed potatoes on top
4.95 stars (17 ratings)

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

The best vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie has a savory and herby lentil filling with soft and cheesy mashed potatoes on top. Kid friendly!
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 
 

Potato topping

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, unflavored cashew milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • few shakes black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan cheese shreds, cheddar preferred

Lentil filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cooked lentils, drained and rinsed I used 2-15oz cans, see Notes for dried
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • few shakes black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen pea and carrot mix
  • 1 cup frozen corn

Instructions 

For the potatoes

  • Peel your potatoes and chop them into large chunks. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander, then return to the pot. Add the vegan butter, milk, salt and pepper to taste and mash until smooth and creamy. Stir in ¾ cup of the vegan cheese, saving the rest for sprinkling on top.
  • Cover and set aside while you make the lentil filling.

For the lentil filling

  • Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  • In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • To the skillet, add the lentils, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.
  • Now add the flour and stir well until incorporated and no clumps of flour or tomato paste remain.
  • Stir in the broth, peas and carrot mix and corn. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the lentil mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish (or use your cast iron pan.) Spread it into an even layer, then spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the lentils. Spread them carefully and evenly.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the vegan cheddar on top, then bake for 25-30 minutes until hot. Serve immediately and enjoy!
  • Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen once completely cooled.

Notes

  1. How to cook lentils from dry if you don’t have canned: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups dry lentils and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain excess water.
  2. May leave out the vegan cheese if desired. Or make my shreddable vegan mozzarella.
  3. May substitute ground vegan beef, such as impossible or beyond brand instead of lentils, if desired. I would use about 3 cups of beef substitute, and cook it in the pan with the onions and garlic, then continue adding the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Gluten free? Use cornstarch or gluten free flour instead of all purpose to thicken the lentil mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 8 servings | Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 800mg | Potassium: 1238mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3732IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. I also never bother peeling potatoes for mash for added fibre& speed-most of the nutrients are in the skin as my Mum would say!

  2. I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was a huge hit! I left out the vegan cheese and made your Easy Vegan Gravy instead for each person to pour on top if they chose. SOOOOO good! I was blown away by Miyoko’s vegan butter! Along with a salad and your Vegan Blue Cheese dressing it was the perfect easy holiday meal. I typically just cook for myself unless my adult kids come over, which isn’t often – lol, so I’ll definitely be making a batch of this, cooking and freezing in my Souper Cubes (couldn’t live without them and Nora Cooks) for a quick delicious meal anytime. Thank you once again, Nora! Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and successful 2022!

    1. Hi Trudy. Your heartfelt wishes and kind words bring joy to my heart! Thank you for using my recipes, and I am glad you are enjoying them! I love the Super Cubes idea! Best wishes to you, Trudy, for peace and health this upcoming year!

  3. Dear Nora,
    I just wanted to thank you so much for how you have made my cooking life so enjoyable and easy!!! You are such a gift! Every time I try your recipes we are so pleased. Blessings to you.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Your words are a gift to me! I am so glad my recipes are helpful to you, and that they have made cooking enjoyable to you! I thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments! Happy cooking to you!

      1. Hi Nora,
        This recipe was absolutely DELISH! I just wanted to thank you for constantly providing easy, tasty recipes time and time again. I’m a holistic nutritionist and am CONSTANTLY referring friends to your recipes. You make being plant based accessible for all, which I think is the best way to attract more people. I have never made a recipe of yours that hasn’t been loved by all. I am truly grateful for and can absolutely feel all of the hard work and love you put into each recipe. 
        Cheers*

        1. Hi Kelly. Your wonderful and encouraging words mean a lot to me! Thank you for them, and for sharing my site with your friends! I truly love creating easy and delicious recipes! I appreciate you using my recipes, and taking time to share your wonderful comments!

  4. I’ve made this recipe multiple times now and it is flawless! Would be great for holidays too. Highly recommended along with all of Nora’s wonderful recipes!

    1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and your kind words! I’m so glad that you love the shepherd’s pie! I agree, it’s a great dish for the holidays! Happy cooking!

    1. Yes, you can. You could prep it before baking (maybe even keep the mashed potato topping separate, or not), store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, then bake when you’re ready. Hope that helps!

  5. This looks delicious! Will definitely be making it this week. I 100% trust every recipe you have because time and time again, they’re all delicious! I’d like to make this and freeze it for my best friend who is newly postpartum. What would you suggest the reheat instructions be to reheat from frozen? 

    1. Thanks, Sheila, I’m glad you are enjoying my recipes! This is perfect postpartum food. 🙂 I would just pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until warm throughout, probably covering it with foil so the top doesn’t get too dry.

  6. This is so tasty!  The flavor of the rosemary is the perfect accompaniment.  I recently used the filling to stuff puff pastry for a savory appetizer and it was a big hit!

    1. I love the appetizer idea! Thank you for sharing your review and comments! I’m glad you love the shepherd’s pie!

  7. Really tasty, enjoyed by all the family. I used a cheese sauce instead of the cheese in the potatoes to make it healthier (cashews, milk, nutritional yeast), but apart from that the same, and it was really good! Def will be making it again.

    1. I appreciate you taking your time to share your review and comments! I’m glad you guys enjoyed the recipe!

  8. My omnivore partner and I love the flavor of this dish – however, he said that the texture is too “gooey.” Next time I’ll make it in pre-cooked pie crusts and sub Gardein beef for the lentils to see if that helps the texture. Thanks, Nora!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the flavor anyhow! If you don’t much care for the texture of lentils, some sort of vegan beef sub is a great idea. 🙂

    1. I like Daiya cutting board shreds, as well as Violife cheddar type shreds. Or Follow Your Heart brand. 🙂

  9. This turned out great! Much more flavorful than expected. I added extra powdered garlic and onion to box the lentil mixture and mashed potatoes.  And I reduced the amount of worcestshire sauce. I used 1 cup canned corn, 1 whole can of sliced carrots, and 1 cup frozen chopped spinach. I also baked the dish in 2 store bought Pie crusts (pre-cooked crusts)

  10. Our family of four loved this Lentil Shepherd’s Pie recipe last night, and the unanimity made me print it to keep! I’ve been eating plant-based for about 9 years because of a health reason, and I love how you post so many recipes that would be delicious regardless of eating style. They’re always seasoned so nicely without being over-complicated. Thank you so much!

  11. Wow. This was incredible and easy, followed yours to a T and cooked lentils. Used Violife cheddar from the package.
    I love the flavors with the rosemary and thyme . thanks for another winner Nora!

    1. I’m so glad you found the recipe easy and good! Those are the kind of meals I like! Thanks so much for taking your time to share your review!

  12. This recipe is incredible. I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge, so the timing could not have been more perfect 🙂 

    I love how versatile this is! I’m not a huge fan of lentils, so I used black eyed peas in the filling instead, plus corn, bell pepper, peas, and spinach since that’s what I had in my freezer. I’ve never had shepherd’s pie before so I didn’t really know what to expect, but this was so, so delicious. It may have to be a go-to dinner from now on!

    1. Thank you, Carlie, for your great review! I’m glad you loved the shepherd’s pie! I think it is such a delicious, cozy meal. I’m thrilled this may be one of your new go-to dinners! Thank you!

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