Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (vegetarian)

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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 delcious sauce. Simply omit the sauce ingreidents 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 72 votes
Review Recipe

Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie (vegetarian)

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


  • 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

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  • 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.

Recipe 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.

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


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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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Recipe Rating


  1. This was delish!! I swapped the lentils for Trader Joe’s Beefless Crumbles and served it to the family as Meatless Monday!5 stars

  2. This is SO much better than the OG style of making shepherd’s pie. It’s amazing and I love it. It’s going in my recipe book!5 stars

  3. I had Lentils in my pantry and searched for a recipe to use them when I discovered this recipe. I was hesitant thinking that the ingredients seemed very basic, and wouldn’t be that special, but instead it was very flavorful. I did add 3 cloves of minced garlic, and substituted several very large handfuls of chopped fresh spinach in place of the peas. My husband and I both really enjoyed this and have added it to my list of favorites…plus I can make it for my Vegan family members! Next, I’m going to see if I can make it in my Insta-pot to cut down on cooking time. Thank you Molly.5 stars

  4. Hi holly, could this be made with cauliflower mash since potatoes have so much starch in them? My husband has been told to reduce his sodium, cholesterol and starch intake? I’ve noticed most of your meatless recipes are pasta which is just as bad as potatoes. I’m really get stuck for ideas hear in Australia.
    Please feel free to reach out personally with some ideas

  5. I look forward to cooking this tomorrow, but I just wanted to say that this is not an American or Irish dish. Shepherd’s pie originated in Scotland and the north of England.

  6. My daughter made this and oh my goodness it was the most delicious plant-based meal I ever had. Making it tonight. Even my 7 and 5-year-old granddaughters loved it and begged for seconds!!#win5 stars

  7. This is a fabulous recipe! The dish has rich, hearty flavor – it’s hard to believe that there is no meat in it. I will definitely make it again. I highly recommend trying it, you will NOT be disappointed. Thank you so much for sharing it!5 stars

    1. Hi Sarah, we use whatever red wine we have on hand like a Merlot or Pinot Noir. You can also omit the red wine for additional beef broth if you prefer.

    1. It should work well in the freezer, Callie. Just bring out to defrost overnight and reheat in the oven or reheat individual slices in the microwave.

  8. I made this recipe for the second time last night, and I liked it even more than I remembered. My family said that it is better than grandma’s meat recipe (which they loved!). Thank you much for sharing.5 stars

  9. This was so delicious!! A must try for sure!! There was something “sweet” in it but added a little pepper flakes and it was so delicious!!! This is a weekly thing now!!!