This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is made with lentils and tons of vegetables! Give your traditional Shepherd’s Pie a major upgrade with this healthy recipe!
Heads up! This recipe for Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie was originally published in March 2015. Photos have been updated and the recipe slightly tweaked to reflect the small changes we’ve enjoyed over the years. Enjoy!
Question: How do I get my husband to eat less meat? He doesn’t like many vegetables at all (except potatoes). I’d like him to eat more plant-based meals, but don’t know where to start.
Answer: Top a whole bunch of vegetables with a crust of mashed potatoes. Works every time.
Introducing Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. Winning the hearts of meat lovers everywhere.
I’ve gotten the above question, in one form or another, several times over the years. I’m not trying to be sexist here saying that women tend to like vegetables or plant-based meals more than men, I just don’t get emails from men asking how to get their wives to eat more vegetables.
Whatever a person’s goal is in trying to get a family member to eat healthier, whether it be eat more vegetables, eat less meat, or eat less processed foods, I usually give the same advice: start with the familiar.
Start with familiar foods and flavors, and change them slightly to be healthier than the familiar favorite.
This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is that kind of recipe. For the potato-lover, anything topped with a cheesy crust of mashed potatoes is going to be fabulous.
The lentils that replace the meat are hearty and blend perfectly with the vegetables. This is a homey dish that is filling and doesn’t seem like it’s as healthy as it is. But it’s filled with a variety of vegetables and powerhouse lentils.
The best part is that even the biggest meat lover in your life is sure to enjoy this dish. When I first made this, it was a clean-out-the-pantry kind of meal. I had a lot of random vegetables I wanted to use up and a Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is what popped into my head.
I wasn’t trying to create a recipe for the blog, but when Tim said, “Write this one down. Don’t forget what you did; this is a great dish.”
I knew I had to share it with all of you. You can adapt it to whatever vegetables you have on hand; plenty of combinations will work here.This certainly isn’t an authentic or traditional version of Shepard’s Pie, but it’s a fun version to try for a meatless meal even the reluctant vegetable eater will enjoy.
The recipe, as written, is vegetarian and not vegan because of the dairy in the mashed potatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan on top. You can make simple substitutions if you prefer a Vegan Shepherd’s Pie instead of Vegetarian Shepherd’s pie. Use olive oil instead of butter and omit the cream cheese in the mashed potatoes and just leave off the cheese from the top. Easy!
How to Make This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie RecipePrint
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Shepherd’s Pie just got a makeover! This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is made with lentils and tons of healthy vegetables. This is healthy comfort food at its best.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
For the Mashed Potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, for topping, optional
For the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Filling
- 1 cup dry lentils (French, brown, or green will work), picked over and rinsed*
- 2-4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 2 tablespoons oil (olive, avocado, or your choice)
- 3 small carrots, sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1 small zucchini, sliced and then cut into fourths
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 3/4 cup frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil your potatoes until they are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain the water and mash with a potato masher. Add in the butter and cream cheese and stir until melted. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Meanwhile, cover the lentils with enough vegetable broth so they are covered by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 20-30 minutes. (Skip this step if you’re using canned lentils)
- While the potatoes and lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetable mixture. Heat the oil in a large pan. Sauté all the vegetables except the peas and corn until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, 1 1/2 cups broth, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly. If the sauce is too thick, add more vegetable broth.
- Add the cooked lentils, peas, and corn and transfer to a medium baking dish.
- Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the lentil and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with the desired amount of parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top is starting to get golden brown. Enjoy!
*To save time, you may also use 1 (15 ounce) can cooked lentils.
- Calories: 440
- Sugar: 10 grams
- Fat: 16 grams
- Carbohydrates: 59 grams
- Protein: 17 grams
I hope you all love this Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie as much as we do!
If you make this Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie recipe, or any Happy Healthy Mama recipe, I would LOVE to see it! Please take a pic and share it on Instagram or the Happy Healthy Mama Facebook page and tag me @happyhealthymama ?
Also, if you try it, would you mind rating the recipe with stars when you leave a comment? It’s VERY helpful for me and other readers if the recipes have ratings and reviews. I appreciate you!
If you’d like to save this recipe for later, here’s an image to save to your Pinterest recipe board!