Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie: The Perfect Meal for Meatless Monday or 7 Days A Week

Erin Swenson, Food Blogger

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, hachis parmentier, are all names for the same dish. Shepherd’s pie is essentially a casserole of meat and vegetables all topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. Vegetarian shepherd’s pie is a meat free version of the traditional dish. This version is full of vegetables and is just as flavorful as traditional shepherd’s pie. You won’t even miss the meat and this is sure to become a new family favorite.  Whether you are already a vegetarian, looking to save some money, or looking for options for meatless Mondays, this dish will delight your taste buds and your stomach. 

This shepherd’s pie replaces traditional lamb or beef with lentils. Lentils come in many different colors. The most common and easiest lentils to find are brown lentils. You can also find green, yellow and red lentils. Lentils are full of folate, iron, and protein and are a good option for vegetarians who are looking to get some of the nutrients that their diet might be low in or lacking. Of all legumes, lentils cook up the fastest. They are very easy to sprout as well. They are easy to add to soups, salads, and other meals to add texture, flavor and nutrients. 

Potatoes are another main component of this dish. Potatoes are often given a bad rap because they are high in starch and carbohydrates, and are often served with lots of added fat and salt to enhance their flavor. Potatoes are full of nutrients and are easy to cook and store. The mashed potatoes in this recipe can either be homemade or store bought. If you are making the potatoes from scratch, leaving some of the skins on them adds extra potassium and fiber. For this recipe you can either make the mashed potatoes from scratch, or use potato flakes. There are many different brands of instant potatoes, so find one you like and go with it.   

Mushrooms, carrots, celery, and peas are the other components of this dish. You can also add any other frozen vegetables that you like. Green beans, and corn are some other great options that can either replace or be added to the above vegetables. 

  • Rinse the lentils to remove any dirt or debris. Then add them to a pot with 4 cups vegetable broth. (Beef broth can also be used for those who want a meat free meal without being vegetarian.) Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes until tender. 
  • While the lentils are cooking, chop onions, celery, and carrots. In a large skillet saute veggies with garlic in a tablespoon of oil. When the onions are almost translucent add and saute the mushrooms.    
  • Once all of the vegetables are tender add frozen peas and lentils with the broth, and cook for a few minutes. Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and stir until well combined.
  • Add flour and cook a few more minutes
  • Transfer to a 9×13 inch pan and top with mashed potatoes and cheese if desired.
  • Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 
Shepherd's Pie

This meal makes delicious leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 60 Minutes Total Time: 70 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 Tablespoon oil or butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups prepared mashed potatoes 
  • 1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the lentils to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Add the lentils to a pot with vegetable broth. (Beef broth can also be used for those who want a meat free meal without being vegetarian.)
  3. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes until tender. 
  4. While the lentils are cooking, chop onions, celery, and carrots.
  5. In a large skillet sauté veggies with garlic in a tablespoon of oil.
  6. When the onions are almost translucent add and sauté the mushrooms.
  7. Once all of the vegetables are tender add frozen peas and lentils with the broth, and cook for a few minutes.
  8. Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and stir until well combined.
  9. Add flour and cook for a few more minutes.
  10. Transfer to a 9×13 inch pan and top with mashed potatoes and cheese if desired.
  11. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 

Note: This shepherd’s pie recipe was adapted from one I tried by Spend with Pennies. It is fairly similar with a few simple changes. If you are following the DASH diet this recipe can be easily adapted. Make sure you are using low sodium broth or stock and leave off the cheese. These two things can help reduce the sodium content.

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