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.
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.
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!
This recipe is not only nutritious, tasty and filling, it’s also simple!
Just 9 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.
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.
1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 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
- 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled (thoroughly washed)
- 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 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 1 Tbsp olive oil (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
- Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes).
- 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.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.