Friends, I present Thanksgiving in a baking dish. Let’s do this!
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).
Our plant-based version is inspired by the concept of a “meaty” filling (in this case, mushrooms) topped with potatoes and baked to perfection.
How to Make Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
This easy recipe requires just 10 ingredients (2 more if adding these dreamy balsamic mushrooms!) and simple methods to make.
The base is a simple mixture of vegetables and lentils simmered with fresh thyme in vegetable broth until tender and flavorful. Next up? If you dare, these balsamic-glazed portobello mushrooms, which add another layer of hearty goodness to this pie.
For topping, in place of traditional white potatoes (like in my 1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie), I went for sweet potatoes (the best potatoes, in my opinion).
Simply boil then mash with a little salt and coconut oil. Then it’s time to layer up all of this goodness.
First, lay down the lentils and vegetables. Then add the balsamic portobellos (optional but dreamy!). And then top with fluffy mashed sweet potatoes. Swoon! Just 20 minutes in the oven and you’re good to go!
I hope you all LOVE this shepherd’s pie! It’s:
This would make the perfect entrée for holiday gatherings or hosting a crowd of mixed eaters – plant-based folks and meat-eaters alike will love this one! It’s also ideal for making in advance and reheating throughout the week for quick meals on the go (hello, best leftover lunch ever).
While delicious on its own, it would also pair well with my Creamy Kale Salad with Shallot and Chickpeas, Fluffy Spelt Rolls, Vegan Gluten-Free Biscuits, and pretty much everything in this Vegan Thanksgiving Round-Up!
If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see your holiday spread. Cheers, friends!
Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
- 3 large organic sweet potatoes* (thoroughly washed + peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegan butter // if avoiding oil, omit or sub vegetable broth)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional // depending on sweetness of potatoes)
- 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil (if avoiding oil, sub water or vegetable broth)
- 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
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans, and corn
- 2 whole portobello mushrooms (stems removed and sliced in 1/4-inch slices)
- 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil or avocado oil (sub water if avoiding oil)
- Pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
- Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a masher or fork to mash until smooth (see photo). Add coconut oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the sweetness of sweet potatoes, add a bit of maple syrup to taste (optional). Loosely cover and set aside.
- While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C) and lightly grease a 9×13-inch (or similar size) baking dish (or more baking dishes, as needed, if altering batch size).
- If adding (optional), add portobello mushrooms to a shallow dish or large Ziploc bag. Top with balsamic vinegar, oil (optional), salt, pepper, and garlic. Toss to combine and let marinate for 5 minutes.
- Next heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onions, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and caramelized – about 4-5 minutes.
- Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, vegetable broth, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (20-30 minutes).
- (If adding mushrooms) while lentils cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a dash of oil and the mushrooms with their marinade. Spread into an even layer and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes. Then carefully flip and cook on other side for 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking the lentils, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together. Drain off any extra vegetable stock (there shouldn’t be much). Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt and pepper for overall flavor.
- Transfer the lentil mixture to your oven-safe baking dish and top with portobello mushrooms (optional) then mashed sweet potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt (and more thyme if desired).
- Set on a baking sheet to catch any overflow and bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and the edges are bubbling.
- 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 up to 4-5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheats well in the microwave or in the oven.
*You can sub 1 tsp dried thyme per 2 tsp fresh thyme.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 3 Tbsp of oil total, and without the baked mushrooms or optional maple syrup.
*Recipe adapted from my 1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.