A simple, hearty, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie made wth vegetables and lentils. The perfect comfort meal, even if you aren’t vegan! I recently fed it to my two little boys and they devoured it…mom win!
Now that we’re edging into some warmer weather, thoughts of cable knit sweaters, warm cups of tea and cozy dishes like Shepherd’s Pie are soon to become a distant memory. But before you pack up your fluffy slippers for the year (I can’t be the only one who owns a pair of these amazingly comfy and oh-so-unattractive footwear), pull out your best baking dish and your vegetable peeler for what may be your last casserole dish of the season.
How to Make Vegan Shepherds Pie
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is often made with a veggie meat substitute, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I wanted to create one using lentils instead. I originally thought that it would be nice to have a sweet potato topping instead of the traditional potato-only topping, but missed the flavour of the regular mashed potatoes. Not one to typically compromise, I settled on a version that layers both types of potatoes for the ultimate flavour, nutrition impact and eye-appeal. I made it both ways, with just the russet potato topping and with the sweet potato layered in, both versions were delicious…it’s up to you (at the risk of sounding shallow, I like the look of the one without the sweet potato better, but prefer the taste of it with the sweet potato)! Simply skip the step for the sweet potatoes below if you choose to leave them out, and reduce the vegan ‘butter’ and dairy-free milk by half.
I used unsweetened oat milk with a bit of vegan ‘butter’ to make the potatoes creamy and smooth (you can alternately use homemade cashew cream), and they turned out SO yummy!
Make Shepherd’s Pie Ahead of Time
This is a hearty dish that can be assembled the night before. A couple of notes: if you don’t want to use wine, just use extra stock, and if you don’t like garlicky potatoes (what’s your problem…kidding), skip the crushed garlic in the russet mash. Also, if you need to avoid gluten for medical reasons, make sure all of your ingredients are certified gluten-free (like ketchup).
While this isn’t the fastest dish to prepare, it’s well worth it. Packed with hearty healthy veggies in every bite, your body will thank you for this one!
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
A simple, hearty, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie made wth vegetables and lentils. The perfect comfort meal, even if you aren't vegan! I recently fed it to my two little boys and they devoured it...mom win!
Potato Topping Ingredients:
- 2 pounds peeled russet potatoes cut into 1” chunks around 5 large potatoes
- 2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes cut into 1” chunks (around 2 medium potatoes)
- ½ cup vegan "butter" divided
- ½ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 cup 2-3 stalks celery, diced
- 10 ounces sliced white mushrooms
- 2 portabello mushrooms gills removed and diced
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 3/4 cup red wine*
- 1 Litre vegetable stock
- 1 cup green lentils rinsed
- 7 sprigs thyme tied together with twine plus extra for garnish if desired
- ¼ cup tomato ketchup
- 2 teaspoons tamari**
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Bring two large pots of salted water to a boil (start preparing the filling in step 4 while you wait). Add the sweet potatoes to one, and the russet potatoes to the other. Cook over medium high heat (low rolling boil) until they are both fully cooked: you will be able to easily pierce them with a fork. Drain each pot and place the potatoes back in their respective pots (keep separate).
Place the vegan "butter" and the dairy-free milk in a small saucepan over low heat until the "butter" is melted (alternately you can microwave it in a glass dish until melted). Using a potato masher, mash each the russet potatoes and the sweet potatoes in their pots. Slowly add ½ of the warm milk/"butter" mixture to each of the pots, add the crushed garlic clove to the russet potatoes, and mash each pot until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan with high sides or a large dutch oven on medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring until transparent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is transparent and fragrant, an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the celery, both mushrooms, and the carrots and cook until the vegetables are softened, approximately 8 minutes.
Add the red wine, stir well, and cook until the mixture has reduced by ¾ of the original volume (you will have very little liquid left). Add the lentils, vegetable stock and the thyme, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cook (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft, around 30 minutes.
Stir in the ketchup, tamari, peas and corn, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the lentil mixture in a 13x9” oven-proof baking dish and even it with the back of a large metal spoon to make a flat layer. Layer the sweet potatoes on top of the lentils followed by the potato layer, carefully spreading each to the edges with the back of a large spoon before adding the next layer on.
Bake until the lentil mixture starts to bubble at the top, approximately 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil to lightly brown the top if it isn't already browned (watch it so it doesn’t burn), remove it from the oven and serve!
*not all wine is vegan: here is a reference list
** you can substitute gluten-free soy sauce or gluten-free worcestershire sauce