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 59 votes
Review Recipe

Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

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

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

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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.

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.)

Keyword lentil shepherd's pie, meatless, Shepherd's Pie, vegetarian
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

Holly

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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!

More Posts by Holly

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Comments

  1. This is a weekly staple that even my husband loves , so easy to cook , i do add some butter to the mash and grate over Parmesan cheese . It’s ethical , delicious and healthy , i have a few allergies including dairy and mammalian meat , salicylate intolerance so this is a good recipe , i exclude the onion and use leek , exclude tomato paste and use Passata . Just a few changes that help keep the levels down for me and its awesome .5 stars

  2. Great dish for meatless Monday. I was surprised that my husband and kids really liked it and didn’t miss the meat. I did amp up the flavors a bit by adding a diced shallot, 1/2 of a trimmed leek, 3 cloves or garlic, and increased the wine to 1/4 cup and tomato paste to just about 1/4 cup and added 1/2 tsp thyme.5 stars

  3. Very good and also easy! I added some Kosher salt, a little Crushed Rosemary and a few good cracks of fresh pepper, and it is just wonderful!5 stars

  4. So savory and delicious. Great for a weeknight meal or a starter stuffed in small tri-color sweet peppers.
    Thank you!5 stars

  5. When using canned lentils, how much broth do you recommend for the sauce? Thanks so much. I can’t wait to try this.

  6. It was amazing!!! I puréed the veggies and sautéed them like that just to hide the mushrooms! Sooooo good!5 stars

  7. Eas!y and tasty! I substituted sweet potato for the mashed on top, great flavor and higher nutritional value.

  8. Made this tonight and my 4 year old was asking for seconds! That’s an automatic win. Made it without the red wine because we didn’t have any, and used homemade beef broth (gave it such good flavour!). I haven’t made many things with lentils and was pleasantly surprised.

  9. Just made this wonderful recipe, but without the mushrooms and it was very good. Definitely a do again recipe. Made the mashed potatoes in my instant pot. Next time I have left over mashed potatoes this will be my go to recipe. We are newbies for vegetarian meals as we reduce animal products. Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  10. This was absolutely delicious. I usually make this with ground beef but decided to try your recipe. It was a big hit with my family. This is now my go to recipe for Shepherds pie. Thanks.

    1. For this recipe we used dried lentils. If you would like to use canned lentil you can skip step 1 when the lentils are boiled.

  11. Wow! Absolutely delicious! Made this for my stepdaughter who is a vegetarian and the whole family enjoyed it as much as she did! Unable to find vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce in the market so made my own and added 1 big clove of garlic too…. other than that followed recipe and it’s a keeper! Thank you for sharing! New to your site and will definitely be making more of your recipes!5 stars

      1. We haven’t tried but I am sure you could Melissa! Let us know how it turns out.

  12. 2.5 cups of mashed potatoes isn’t nearly enough to cover it all… I have maybe 1/4” thick layer of potatoes on like 80% of my dish

  13. Love this dish! It has become a regular dinner for us. I add garlic and get a little splashy with the wine sometimes .

  14. This was so good, I was sceptical, coming from the UK I was weaned on Shepherds Pie! I’m definitely now a convert, absolutely no need for meat. My husband and I have been vegetarian for a year or so and I missed the comfort of a good pie, particularly in this uncertain time! A winner for sure….5 stars

  15. I’d love to make this recipe because I always do lentils the same way. I was wondering, is it possible to skip the red wine or substitute it? Or would that affect the dish in a bad way?
    Thanks! Love your blog!

    1. Thanks Mercè! Glad you are enjoying it. You can replace the red wine with additional broth. While it does change the flavor, its only slightly and still delicious.

  16. I never know what to do with lentils! This recipe was the perfect thing to make and it was soooo delicious.5 stars

    1. Could you make this ahead of time and store in refrigerator before baking and putting on mash potatoes?

      1. We haven’t tried but I am sure you could Judy! Let us know how it turns out.