Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie is a vegetarian take on classic Irish specialty; made with hearty lentils and walnuts and topped with creamy mashed potatoes are comforting, delicious, and easy enough for weeknights. Gluten-free & vegan friendly recipe!
I have been trying to share this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie since last year but casserole type dishes are not the prettiest or easiest to photograph so it never made it to the blog. The dish in itself is so delicious, hearty, and easy to make so this year, I am just going to share it with you and request you to not judge it by how it looks. Yesterday I played around with styling and reshot these AGAIN and I am happy with it. Shepherd's pie has been around since the 1800's possibly originating in Scotland and northern England. Sometimes people refer it as cottage pie but the difference is in the meat. Shepherd's pie is made with lamb (hence the name) and is an Irish specialty and cottage pie is made with beef and is a English dish.
We are breaking the rules here because this is actually a "shepherdless pie" made with lentil and walnut mixture as the "meat component". Besides the meat component, I tried to stick true to classic Shepherd's pies ingredients; everything is cooked in rich gravy and generously covered with the creamy mashed potatoes. I made garlic thyme butter infused mashed potatoes but I will let you guys use your fav mashed potato recipe here.
This Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie is gluten-free & almost vegan. One of the ingredients in Shepherd's pie filling - "Worcestershire sauce" has anchovy along with tamarind, vinegar, molasses etc so give that umami flavor. However, the amount used is just a splash so you can most definitely skip it if you are 100% vegetarian/vegan. Also, the mashed potatoes can easily be made using vegan butter and non-dairy milk to keep it 100% vegan.
Even though Shepherd's Pie is eaten around St. Patrick's Day, I think it should be a staple especially in the winter months. You can make this dish ahead of time and reheated throughout the week (and possibly frozen for later use too). I used brown lentil here but I am sure green or French lentils (Le Puy) will work great. I came across recipes that used mushrooms and other veggies in the filling so feel free to play around with those ideas well.
I used my cast iron skillet to make the vegetarian shepherd's pie as it's good for both stovetop and oven (and also one less dish to wash). If you have a oven-friendly pan or a cast iron skillet, I suggest you use that. Otherwise, you can cook the filling in a pan and transfer it into a oven-safe dish and top it with mashed potatoes right before baking.
The recipe below for Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie is a small batch made in 6.5 inch cast iron skillet to serve 2-3 people but feel free to increase the quantity as per your need. Make sure to have lentils and mashed potatoes cooked ahead of time!
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 tablespoon chopped onion
- 1 garlic, minced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- ½ cup cooked brown lentils
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon flour (can use all-purpose or gluten-free flour)
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup frozen corn
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- splash of Worcestershire sauce (skip if 100% vegetarian/vegan)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 sprig rosemary leaf, chopped
- 1 sprig thyme leaf, chopped
- salt, pepper to season
- 2 cups mashed potatoes (can be made ahead of time)
- In a 6.5" cast iron skillet (or an oven safe pan), heat oil and saute onion and carrot for 2-3 minutes.
- Add garlic to the pan and let it cook for 1-2 minutes then add lentil and walnuts. Cook for few minutes then sprinkle flour over the mix.
- Add frozen corn and peas to the pan, followed by tomato paste.
- Cook for additional 1-2 minutes then add Worcestershire sauce, vegetable broth, and both herbs.
- Let the mixture come to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and remove from the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Top the mixture with mashed potatoes, creating a seal around the edges to prevent mixture from bubbling. Smoothen the top and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes turn slightly brown.
- For more golden color, broil on high for 1-2 minutes and rotating the pan as needed to get the color even on potatoes.
- Serve it warm.
I am excited for you guys to give this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie a try soon. If you end up making it, please don't forget to share and tag @foodpleasurehealth on instagram. You can also pin this recipe for later!