1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

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Glass baking dish and plate filled with simple gluten-free vegan Shepherds Pie

There is something very wintry, very comforting about Shepherd’s Pie.

Hearty vegetables in a brothy sauce topped with fluffy mashed potatoes, all baked to bubbly perfectly. It’s kind of what Thanksgiving dreams are made of, at least in my world.

Cooking potatoes for simple Vegan Shepherds Pie

Origin of Shepherd’s Pie

The exact origin of Shepherd’s pie is a bit of a mystery! But both the Irish and British claim the origination of this hearty, mashed potato crust dish. It’s thought that it may have developed in the mid-19th century from cottage pie, which is a similar dish made with a different type of meat in the filling (source). The following is our plant-based take on the concept.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

My family wasn’t big on casseroles growing up and John and I aren’t big on them now, but this recipe may be our one exception.

Traditional Shepherd’s pie contains ground beef, which I considered swapping for walnuts, a combination of mushrooms and walnuts, or lentils.

Rinsing lentils in a colander

Being that lentils seemed to pack the most nutritional punch and protein, I went that route! Plus, they cook up nicely while your potatoes are boiling, making the whole process rather seamless.

Lentils are a plant-based powerhouse. Not only are they affordable and easy to cook, they’re also high in essential nutrients like fiber, iron and protein (9 grams per 1/2 cup serving).

They also absorb flavors well and can be added in place of ground beef in just about any recipe. That’s great news if you ask me!

Cooking lentils in broth with fresh thyme sprigs
Using a wooden spoon to stir together lentils and vegetables for homemade Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This recipe is not only nutritious, tasty and filling, it’s also simple!

Baking pan of Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie

Just 10 ingredients required and about 1 hour from start to finish. I could see this not only being a vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving entree, but an easy weeknight meal for colder months ahead.

So, what does it taste like? I’m glad you asked. It’s:

Loaded with veggies
& Seriously satisfying

I cooked this up and John and I both gladly ate two servings for dinner. We’re not even really “casserole” people, but we both loved the flavor, consistency and simple nature of this dish.

This will definitely become a staple for us in the winter months ahead.

Plates and baking pan of our Lentil Shepherds Pie recipe

We hope you guys love this recipe! If you give it a try, be sure to let us know in the comments, or by tagging a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see.

Using a fork to slice into a serving of Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie

Cheers, friends!

1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

A hearty, 10-ingredient Vegan Shepherd's Pie that's loaded with veggies and savory lentils and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. So flavorful and satisfying that you won't miss the meat!
Author Minimalist Baker
Glass baking dish of Vegan Shepherds Pie with a couple servings removed
4.74 from 492 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Course Entrée
Cuisine British-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Irish-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled (thoroughly washed)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
  • Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (DIY or store-bought)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or sub 1 tsp dried thyme per 2 tsp fresh)
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans, and corn


  • Slice any large potatoes in half, place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat, then generously salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
  • Once cooked, drain, add back to the pot to evaporate any remaining water, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Use a masher, pastry cutter or large fork to mash until smooth. Add desired amount of vegan butter (3-4 Tbsp as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside.
  • While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (or comparable sized dish, such as 9×13 pan. An 8×8 won’t fit it all but close! // as original recipe is written // adjust number or size of dish if altering batch size).
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste (optional) and a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes). Once tender, remove the lid and continue simmering uncovered, stirring frequently, to evaporate any excess liquid.
  • In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
  • OPTIONAL: To thicken the mixture, add 2-3 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) mashed potatoes and stir. Alternatively, scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and whisk in 2 Tbsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk. Return to the pan and whisk to thicken.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer to your prepared oven-safe baking dish and carefully top with mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt.
  • Place on a baking sheet to catch overflow and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the mashers are lightly browned on top.
  • Let cool briefly before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken. Let cool completely before covering, and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.



*Inspiration from Martha Stewart
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 396 Carbohydrates: 72 g Protein: 17.7 g Fat: 5.3 g Saturated Fat: 1.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 109 mg Fiber: 19 g Sugar: 4 g

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My Rating:

  1. Mikhaila says

    An incredibly fool proof recipe that I have had in my repertoire for over 5+ years!

    This recipe is so forgiving, I often make it as instructed however today subbed out some lentils for mushrooms (reduced the total lentils to 1 cup and fried off with the onions and garlic), added fresh, diced carrot and celery before the lentils and stock, and finished with fresh green beans and frozen corn. I did the mashed potatoes with the skin on for extra fibre and used a combo of olive oil spread and fresh olive oil which made it super creamy and smooth, and baked for probably 30 mins or so at 220deg C until super crisp on top. An absolute winner, thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipe over the years! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, Mikhaila! xo

  2. Carol says

    The recipe is delicious! I use mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes. How much potassium does it have in serving?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Carol, We’re so glad you enjoy it! We don’t have that info available. We would suggest plugging in the ingredients into Cronometer for a nutrition estimate that reflects using mashed cauliflower.

  3. Claire says

    This was delicious and very easy to make! I did add 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce as others suggested, and I used 1.5 teaspoons of tomato paste, which was optional, but I would suggest using. My vegetarian daughter and my carnivore husband both loved it! When we went to bed that night, my husband mentioned how much he loved it again!! This is now in my recipe box and will be made regularly. Soooo good! Thank you!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad it was a hit with the whole family. Thank you for sharing, Claire! xo

  4. Carla says

    This was REALLY good! My husband cannot have potatoes or tomatoes so I used white sweet potatoes for the top and omitted the tomato paste. Instead, I used some vegan Worcestershire sauce. Super easy and yummy!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Carla. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  5. Jasmine says

    Made this for St. Patricks Day and this is a winning recipe! Huge hit and so flavorful! The whole family loved it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad everyone enjoyed it, Jasmine. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  6. Deidre says

    I love this recipe! My only critique is to move steps 1 & 2 AFTER step 5 since the lentils take so much longer than the potatoes! Thank you for a yummy recipe!

  7. Stephanie says

    I followed the recipe exactly and it came out wonderfully. I would definitely make it again. The recipe looks involved but was actually pretty easy.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing! xo

  8. Saoirse says

    Grew up on Shepards Pie but had never tried a vegan version. Prepared exactly as instructed and was honestly one of my favourite meals I have ever made/eaten! Will definitely become a regular – thank you so much!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoyed this version, Saoirse. Thank you for sharing! xo

  9. Jayne says

    I made this again for the umpteenth time. I omit the tomato paste. I cut it up once it is cool and freeze individual squares and reheat for lunch. Love this recipe, its a meal-prep staple for me!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Jayne. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your great meal prep method! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michelle, We would recommend preparing up to the point of putting the mashed potatoes on top. Then refrigerate and bake as instructed later on. Hope that helps!

      • Mat says

        So to be clear prepare the entire dish and put in fridge? Cook at same temp and time noted in recipe? I want to make this today and bake tomorrow.


        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Mat, yes! It may need ~5 minutes longer just because it’s starting at a colder temperature.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      You’ll need about three 15-oz cans of lentils and probably 1-2 cups broth. We suggest cooking it for less time and use less broth. Let us know how it goes!

  10. Gerri says

    Hi, I made this tonight, and it came out great! I followed the recipe as written, and it was perfect. Very yummy and makes a lot!

  11. Jessica says

    I’ve been using this recipe for years and my family loves it! I always add in a little bit of BBQ sauce into the lentil mix for some extra “meat” like flavor. When I don’t have tomato paste I substitute with 2 tablespons ketchup and it works amazingly. Make sure to cook the spices in with the onions for more flavor, and don’t skip out on fresh cracked pepper and salt! I always use instant potatoes rather than mashed potatoes from scratch in a pinch as well. All around amazing dish!

  12. Kathy says

    I made this exactly as written and it was delicious but definitely not a 1-Hour recipe! If I make this again I will plan to make the filling in my Instant Pot the day before.

  13. Jo says

    I made this for Christmas today. I honestly found it underwhelming. :( I don’t know what I did wrong. It didn’t taste savory to me. It was just ok. I appreciate MB and follow them on Instagram. Maybe I didn’t season it enough, Idk. I found the potatoes a bit bland, and I wish there were more vegetables or at least a better balance between veggies and lentils. I don’t know if I would make it again. Perhaps, vegan shepherds pie just isn’t for me, but again, I appreciate everything MB does.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Pamela, yes that should work well – just cook for less time and use less broth. You’ll need about three 15-oz cans of lentils and probably 1-2 cups broth. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, that should work! You may need to cook the carrots slightly longer and/or cut into very small pieces to get them to soften. Let us know how it goes!

  14. Michelle says

    So, I made this tonight. It was really good. Next time I’m going to try to remember to leave a little more liquid in the lentil mix otherwise it was a little too thick for our taste. Other than that, it was great and I’m going to add it to our repertoire of vegan dishes that we are starting to accumulate.

  15. Therese says

    I made this for the first time and it came out so good. I’ve been using vegan meatless crumbs but have been wanting to try lentil based ones, as it’s not processed. This will be my go to recipe for vegan lentil Shepard’s pie. Thank you for this!

  16. Lindsey says

    Loved this recipe. Just felt like something was missing with the mashed potatoes. I added about 3/4 cup of nondairy milk.

  17. Megan says

    Smelled so cozy and savory and easy to make – I was lazy with the potatoes and used up some instant mashed potatoes, but would try this again the proper way on a quiet weekend. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Roxane Rosalinda Marek says

    I improvised with what I had. I used canned organic green beans from Target and canned mushrooms in a gravy made from coffee and Dandy Organic Herbal coffee. The mashed potatoes are instant Edward and Sons Organic Roasted Garlic. I tried to send a photo but it didn’t work. But it’s delicious!

  19. Terra says

    I made this last night and it was truly fantastic! I did make a few modifications:
    – canned precooked lentils in place of the dry (roughly 1.5 cans) and reducing broth to account for this—I suspect this wound up being overall fewer lentils than if following the original recipe using dry
    – in place of those missing lentils, I used diced fresh mushrooms added with the tomato paste
    – deglazed the pan with a splash of red wine
    – finally, I did add a healthy amount of Worcestershire sauce (I’m not vegan) and I think this did a LOT for the flavour, so I do wonder how the pie would’ve fared without

    All in all another winner from MB and I can see this being on heavy rotation for the winter weather ahead!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Love your modifications, Terra! We’re so glad it turned out well. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  20. AshleyB says

    I made this recipe and it was delish! The only changes I made were using russet potatoes and I added a little milk when mashing to make them extra creamy. I cooked the whole tray for about 20 minutes and the broiled for a few minutes at the end to get a little extra color on the potatoes. This was amazing!! Even my meat preferring husband enjoyed this. Will 10/10 make again.

  21. Abby says

    Delicious. I added a block of impossible meat as well and it’s so good I’m eating it for breakfast after portioning it out for dinner meal prep for the week.

  22. Gaelan says

    It’s a great recipe. I used sweet potato and TVP in place of the potato and lentils, and it suprisely worked out pretty good. I look forward to trying the original recipe.