Looking for great comfort food that is both satisfying and delicious? Don’t miss this delicious, hearty, and flavorful Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie that is packed with wholesome ingredients and bursting with flavor! Filled with tender lentils and nutritious veggies in a tasty gravy and topped with yummy toasty mashed potatoes makes for comfort food at its finest.
Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine *
- 2 cups vegetable broth *
- 2 cups water (or broth)
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, sorted and washed *
- 2 lbs. frozen mixed veggies (frozen corn, peas, green beans, carrots)
- ½ cup garlic mashed potatoes (see recipe notes)
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
- 1 teaspoon dried ground mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon dried ground rosemary
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (+/-) *
- ½ teaspoon black pepper (+/-) *
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (or thickener of choice)
- 2 Tablespoons water
Garlic Mashed Potatoes Ingredients:
- 5 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
- 1 ¾ cup unsweetened plain plant milk (+/- see notes)
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/-) *
Shepherds Pie Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 400F, place oven rack to center position.
- Peel and cut the potatoes and bring to a boil – see separate instructions below for when the potatoes are tender and done cooking.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot or similarly large stockpot, add the tomato paste into a dry pot, heat/sauté over medium-high heat for 1 minute stirring constantly, then add the red wine, cook for several minutes, stirring constantly. The alcohol from the wine will sizzle and cook the alcohol out of the wine, and you will only be left with this beautiful wine nuance minus the alcohol which really enhances the flavor.
- Then add the water, vegetable broth, dried lentils, and all the dry spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dried minced onion flakes, ground mustard, thyme, sage, rosemary, sea salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. Stir well to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, add the frozen veggies, place the lid back on, turn up the heat to get the mixture hot again, about 3 to 5 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer until the lentils are tender.
- In the meantime, check the tenderness of the potatoes (or mashed potatoes), once tender, mash the potatoes according to the separate instructions listed below.
- Check the tenderness of the lentils (approx. 35 – 45 minutes total cooking time – largely dependent on the lentil selected), once the lentils are tender, add ½ cup of the garlic mashed potatoes to the lentil mixture and stir. This will slightly thicken the mixture. Taste the lentil/veggie mixture. Adjust seasoning accordingly. Additionally, largely dependent upon the lentils selected, you may need extra water/veggie broth as some lentil varieties take longer to cook than others and will soak up all the broth. Adjust seasoning accordingly. Remove the bay leaves and discard.
- Then make the slurry by add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch to 2 Tablespoons water, whisk to remove lumps, then add one teaspoon of this mixture at a time until the mixture becomes a “gravy” consistency.
- Assemble the Shepherds Pie by placing the lentil/veggie mixture into a deep 10 x1 3x 2.5 inch lasagna or casserole type dish. Next gently place separate ¼ cup spoonfuls of mashed potatoes in separate sections (evenly distributing them) on top of the mixture. See recipe notes for successful tips.
- Gently spread out the mashed potatoes completely covering the entire top of the dish. Next take additional mashed potatoes and gently fill in any holes to create a very smooth layer. Optional: Take a fork and create a design by running the fork from one end of the casserole pan to the other lengthwise, then go the other direction – width wise, but skipping rows so it creates a basket weave type pattern – see the photos for the concept.
- Bake in a 400 F oven for 20 minutes, (place a baking sheet on a lower rack to catch any spill-overs) then switch the oven to high broil and broil until the top of the Shepherds pie is lightly golden, approx. 10 to 15 mins.
- Remove from the oven and allow to set for 15 to 25 minutes to set.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes Instructions
- Peel and cut the potatoes and bring to a boil, then lower to a low boil. Continue boiling until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the water and place the drained potatoes back in the boiling pot and set on the stove (burner is off) for 30 seconds to slightly dry out the potatoes.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, add the plant milk, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper and mash the potatoes (or use a beater) until smooth and creamy.
- Taste test the potatoes, add more plant milk, sea salt and black pepper until the desired flavor is reached. The consistency should be semi-thick, but smooth and can be easily spread. Do a test for spreadability (if unsure) by trying to smooth some across a small plate. It should flow easily. If it is too thick, it will tear up your Shepherds Pie. If too runny, it will melt into your lentil/veggie mixture.
*Small Brown Lentils (Pardina/Spanish Brown): You can substitute any type of lentil for the brown lentils (other than red); however, you will need to adjust the cooking time and you may need to add a small amount of water/veggie broth. Small brown lentils typically cook faster than green lentils. We have found that the Small Brown Lentils works beautifully with this recipe as they hold their texture and shape really well.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Dried Thyme Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. It has amazing flavor. If you can’t find dried thyme leaves, you can use ground thyme, but use half the amount.
*Vegetable Mixture: You can use any ratio of vegetables (canned or frozen) in this recipe, the only thing is to make sure you use 2 lbs. total. If you use less, then your Shepherds pie will be too liquid/loose. If you use too much veggies, then your Shepherds pie will be dry. If using canned veggies, don’t forget to subtract the water weight as most canned veggies are packed in water. If using canned veggies, you also may consider adding canned veggie later in the cooking process so they do not turn to mush.
*Vegan Red Wine: The red wine flavor makes a difference. It totally makes this recipe by adding dimension. The alcohol burns off and you are left with this beautiful nuance of flavor. You do not have to add the red wine. We tried it with and without the wine and the flavor is very good without it, but the red wine just takes this dish to the next level of deliciousness. If you don’t use the wine, replace the amount with extra broth.
*Tips: When placing the lentil/veggie mixture into the casserole dish, you want the lentil/veggie mixture to hold its own. In other words, you want a nice gravy, but you do not want them to be “swimming” in too much gravy. If there is too much gravy the mashed potatoes will be swallowed up by the gravy, and you will have a mushy topping. If unsure, use a slotted spoon and place your lentils/veggies into the casserole first, then spoon the gravy over top the lentil/veggie mixture until the gravy reaches the top of the lentil/veggies, and barely covers them. This will ensure the mashed potatoes have a great foundation to build upon. This recipe should not have any left-over gravy if using brown lentils; however, if you use a different lentil, we just want to make sure to provide you with some tips for success.
*Additional Tips: The trick it to dollop mashed potatoes lightly all over the top of the lentil/veggie mixture, then gently smoothing the potatoes out to create a thick even layer without disturbing the mixture below or dragging the mixture up to the top. You want mashed potatoes that flow nicely, the potato consistency should not be too thick, nor too thin. First you want to create this rough layer of dolloped mashed potatoes where you are trying to evenly distribute them. Then you want to go back and lightly fill in any holes with additional dollops of mashed potatoes. They key here is patience. Then you want to add a few more potatoes to create an even level layer, smooth everything out with the back of a soup spoon/spatula to create a clean smooth layer. Then finally, you can lightly drag fork tines across the top to create some dimension. Wipe off the fork with every drag/line. Clean up the edges. This looks especially pretty when golden brown. Note: Baking the mashed potatoes on top will make them more dense which is typical of a Shepherds Pie as the baking process takes the some moisture out of the mashed potatoes.
*Garlic Mashed Potatoes: You may have left over mashed potatoes. We like a nice thick layer of mashed potatoes. You may wish a thinner layer. The leftover mashed potatoes are great on their own.
*Make Ahead: This recipe holds up well making it the day before. We suggest not doing the basket weave design until right before baking. The baking time will take longer as it has been refrigerated. It could take up to 45 minutes to an hour in the oven if refrigerated. When making the basket weave design, run the fork tines under hot water (because the potatoes are cold), wipe the fork tines between each run. Note: The lentil/veggie mixture will be a little drier since the lentils will have time to soak up most of the gravy overnight, still delicious though, but we wanted you to know the difference between making it immediately and making it the day before.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Servings: About 10 servings.
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days.