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
4.99 from 224 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
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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.
4.99 from 224 votes

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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lentil shepherds pie on a plate with parsley and a title
Lentil shepherd's pie and ingredients with writing

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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. excellent dish that we have made many times. add you can make a huge one and feed a tired hungry crowd. great for throwing in some veggies you want to use up5 stars

  2. Love this recipe. I’ve passed it on to others. Made it many times, freezes well too. Great meat alternative.5 stars

  3. Literally one of the best recipies ever. From a meat loving family. Any time this is cooked my kids love it. Have cooked for others and all left with the recipe!5 stars

  4. You’ll find yourself just continuously saying, “Mmmmmm!!!” while you eat this.

    I’ve made this recipe many times, it’s such an amazingly delicious bowl of comfort. Recipe is incredible as is, but for an even bigger boost of flavour I add 1tsp dried thyme to the cooking veggies, double the red wine, and add a packet of Onion Soup Mix to the lentils while they’re cooking.

    Writing this review with a “chef’s tasting bowl” of the filling in front of me. It’s for dinner later, but it’s hard to keep from eating it up right away.5 stars

  5. You’ll find yourself just continuously saying, “Mmmmmm!!!” while you eat this.

    I’ve made this recipe many times, it’s such an amazingly delicious bowl of comfort. Recipe is incredible as is, but for an even bigger boost of flavour I add 1tsp dried thyme to the cooking veggies, double the red wine, and add a packet of Onion Soup Mix to the lentils while they’re cooking.

    Writing this review with a “chef’s tasting bowl” of the filling in front of me. It’s for dinner later, but it’s hard to keep from eating it up right away.

  6. I have a vegetarian guest coming to stay with me. Can this be frozen ahead of time? Will it dry out when reheated?

    1. It should work well in the freezer, Amy. Just bring it out to defrost overnight and reheat in the oven. Make sure it’s covered with foil in the oven to prevent it from going dry :)

  7. This looks great however I have some red lentils and I prefer something other than celery. Would the red lentils be okay and would you recommend another vegetable substitute for the celery that would work? Thank you so much. I also made the marinated pork tenderloin recipe last night for dinner and it turned out amazing!! Stephanie:)5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried red lentils 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! As for the celery, you can replace it with additional carrots or another crunchy veggie you prefer and it should still taste great.

  8. Okay, I haven’t tried this yet. But looking at the ingredients I can tell it’s going to be delicious! I love that you are adding red wine and Worcestershire sauce to add flavor. I have been looking for a recipe using lentils since I received a package of them recently donated from a Second Harvest food pantry donation (as well as potatoes). When you are trying to eat healthy but also on a budget, it’s great to have recipes that show you don’t have to sacrifice on flavor. Foods can still be simple AND delicious and flavorful! Too many people think that healthy food is iceberg lettuce with chunks of carrots and celery (boring). But that’s so not true. There are so many ways to add flavor to basic foods, and this recipe proves that. Can’t wait to try it!5 stars

    1. I cooked the lentils with fresh Thyme,1-star anise and mushroom broth. Wow did they turn out good

      Pretty much followed the recipe from there