This vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie has all of the flavor you’d expect in the traditional version but with all of the hearty goodness of lentils!

Tender lentils are simmered in a rich savory broth, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked to golden perfection! Serve this easy meal as a meatless favorite any time of year.

lentil shepherds pie on a plate with parsley on top

Ingredients in Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

A true shepherd’s pie recipe is made with lamb.

If you use ground beef it actually becomes a cottage pie… and in this case, we’re using lentils to replace the meat.

LENTILS Lentils are a yummy, healthy, and inexpensive substitution for meat in almost any ground beef dish! 1 cup of dried lentils can replace 1 pound of ground beef in most recipes.

VEGETABLES If I have them on hand, I use fresh veggies in this recipe. If you don’t have fresh veggies available, use frozen mixed vegetables and add them in along with the peas.

SAUCE The sauce for this recipe starts with a bit of flour and the remaining broth from the lentils. Depending on the type of lentils, you may need to add more or less broth. Start with 3 cups and once you add in the veggies and lentils as it begins to simmer, the sauce will thicken. Add more broth as needed (I add about 4 cups).

If you add too much broth, just let it simmer until thickened. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken further as the dish bakes and as it cools.

MASHED POTATOES Creamy homemade mashed potatoes are the perfect topping for this recipe, simply spread them on or pipe them for a pretty topping. I don’t add cheese to this recipe but you certainly can.

If you’d prefer, use mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes.

lentil shepherds pie ingredients in a pan not mixed

Short on Time?

  • Swap lentils for canned lentils (drained and rinsed) and skip the boiling step (adding broth for the sauce where needed).
  • Skip the homemade sauce and opt for a can of tomato soup, it makes a surprisingly delicious sauce. Simply omit the sauce ingredients in the recipe and add a can of condensed tomato soup directly into the mixture.
  • Trade fresh veggies for frozen veggies to skip the washing and chopping.
  • Trade homemade mashed potatoes for leftover mashed potatoes or store-bought (or garlic mashed for a flavor boost)!

lentil shepherds pie ingredients in a pan

How to Make Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

This dish is easy to make (although it does take some time). A quick overview of the steps…

  1. Simmer lentils in broth.
  2. While lentils are simmering, chop and soften veggies (or skip this step and use frozen veggies).
  3. Combine lentils with veggies and sauce ingredients. Simmer until thickened.
  4. Place in a deep dish pie plate and top with mashed potatoes.

Bake until golden and bubbly! So easy and so yummy!

lentil shepherds pie in a white pie plate with a scoop taken out

Is Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Vegetarian?

It can be!

To make this a vegetarian dish, be sure to use vegetable broth and substitute regular Worcestershire sauce for a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.

More Meatless Mains

lentil shepherds pie on a plate with parsley on top
5 from 122 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie (vegetarian)

Lentil shepherd's pie has tender lentils in a rich brothy gravy, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked until bubbly.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup brown lentils or green lentils
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth or beef broth if not making vegetarian
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms about 4 oz
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 rib celery chopped
  • ½ cup frozen peas defrosted
  • ½ tablespoon flour
  • 3 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (use vegetarian Worcestershire sauce if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 ½ cups prepared mashed potatoes

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine lentils and 3 cups broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 20-25 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook onion, mushrooms, carrot, and celery in olive oil over medium heat until onion and carrot are softened. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more.
  • Add lentils (and their broth), red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Stir in peas and simmer uncovered 10 minutes adding more broth as needed to create a sauce. Stir in parsley and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Spoon lentil mixture into a deep-dish pie plate. Top with mashed potatoes and bake 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are browned.

Notes

Fresh vegetables can be substituted with 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables.
Keep in mind the sauce will thicken while baking and while cooling. I usually end up adding the full 4 cups of broth to this recipe. Simmer to thicken slightly.
5 from 122 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 270 | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 599mg | Potassium: 907mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2318IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine American, Irish

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I made this to take to a potluck. Everyone raves about how delicious it was even the meat eaters. Definitely making this on a regular basis for my family.5 stars

  2. Delicious! We had to start eating low cholesterol due to a health issue in my family. I cooked what I wanted, when I wanted. So, I dreaded the “Lentil” thing. I was so wrong. My family loved this and we are making it again today. It is so good, filling, warming and welcome on a fall or winters day. I didn’t add the mushrooms but it was still really good. Thank you for another great recipe.5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. Typically brown and green lentils hold their shape better whereas red lentils tend to break down a little more, so it may make the Shepherd’s Pie a little more mushy. It will still taste delicious though! If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  3. This is so delicious and filling. I was looking to try a vegetarian dinner. was very tasty. Will definitely make again.5 stars

  4. Love this recipe! I made it for a pot luck camping trip where several people were vegetarian. Everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. That was a few months ago and several people have made it since…that doesn’t ever happen. So delicious!5 stars

  5. I made this dish for a vegetarian family, that I was making a meal for. They loved it!! And I tasted the filling before I covered it with mashed potatoes, it was delicious. The flavors are layered and balanced so well. I didn’t use the shortcuts, but did everything from scratch. I will definitely make this for us on a meatless Monday! 5 stars, so Yummy!5 stars

  6. I made this tonight. Followed recipe but added dried rosemary, dried thyme and chopped garlic to the final mix but that was it. Was absolutely phenomenal! When I make again I will add a bit more mashed potatoes only because of the size pan I use. Try this. Trust me. It was delicious!!!5 stars

  7. I substituted pre-made mashed potatoes from the store to save time, and I cooked lentils with kombu and a bay leaf, otherwise followed the recipe. I divided the pie ingredients into 2 smaller disposable pans and froze the extra one for later. Your recipe was delicious!5 stars

  8. Tasted great. I used pre-cooked and frozen lentils, pre-cooked and frozen mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables, soy sauce, and leftover cream of chicken soup.5 stars

  9. If I’m using canned lentils do I still need to cook it in the broth? Can I omit some of the veggies and add in a pound of beef? I made this before exactly as the recipe says and it was delicious! But my husband asked me to add meat this time 5 stars

    1. If using canned lentils (drained and rinsed) and skip the boiling step but add broth for the sauce where needed. If you’d like to add meat in addition to the lentils, you might like to make extra sauce so it isn’t dry.

  10. I’d like to make the lentil shepherd’s pie, but I’m unsure what exactly to leave out when I use tomato soup. Do I mix the soup with the lentil cooking water/broth?5 stars

    1. Hi Kate, you would omit the lentil broth, red wine, Worcestershire, and tomato paste if using a can of soup. I would reserve some of the lentil broth though in case you need to thin it out as it cooks down and thickens though.

  11. Thank you!! Making this Saturday for our ward missionaries
    Will use red grape juice instead of red wine.5 stars

  12. So fabulously tasty…
    Definately had seconds…

    Tastes better than original from 1960s childhood.5 stars

  13. Hi Holly,
    Looking at making this for our meat free Monday’s. Do you think this would work with cauliflower mash instead of potato???

    1. Hi Kim, I haven’t tried this recipe with mashed cauliflower but I think that would be delicious! Let us know how it turns out.

    1. Hi Cheryl, that should work fine in this recipe. Cornstarch should be mixed with a cold liquid before adding to the recipe though to prevent it from getting clumpy. You could use a little bit of broth or even cold water to do this.