A vegetarian shepherds pie is every bit as filling and comforting as its meaty counterpart. Trust us! Our super simple recipe is easily adaptable for our vegan friends, too.
Soy sauce and tomato paste bring a delicious, savory quality to this hearty vegetarian main meal. And the lentils and mushrooms in the filling mimic the meaty texture of original shepherd’s pie.
Speaking of lentils, it’s important not to add salt to the lentils too soon in the process. If you add salt too early on, you’ll be left with chewy lentils that aren’t properly tenderized. That’s why we wait to add salt until they are completely cooked.
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie Recipe
- 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 large celery stalks, diced
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 tsp summer savory
- 2 bay leaves
- 7 cups water, or vegetable broth, no salt
- 1 lb green lentils, sorted, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, well beaten (for egg wash)
- Place peeled and diced potatoes into a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover the potatoes by at least an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes then place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the butter, sour cream, salt and onion powder, and then whip until light and fluffy, using a hand mixer. Cover the bowl and set the potatoes aside while you make the filling. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 2-qt casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat and melt butter. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 7–8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add thyme, savory, bay leaves, vegetable broth (or water) and lentils and stir to combine. Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid and test the lentils. Continue simmering, uncovered, until the lentils are tender. (Do not add any salt until the lentils have tenderized.) Once the lentils are tender and the mixture has thickened substantially, add the tomato paste and soy sauce and stir until the tomato paste is completely combined. Taste the lentils for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Remove and discard both bay leaves.
- Transfer the lentil mixture to the prepared casserole dish and top with the whipped potatoes. Brush the top of the potatoes with beaten egg and bake uncovered for 25–30 minutes or until the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
‘Summer savory’ is an herb known for its bright earthy flavor. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, you can substitute with parsley! For more robust flavor, replace a ½ cup of water with a ½ cup of dry red wine. Delicious!