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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Fall. The mornings get a little cooler, pumpkins start to appear on porches, you get excited to wear a sweater instead of the summer t-shirts you’re tired of, and warm, cozy recipes start to appear all over the internet– replacing summer salads and popsicles.

This is one of those warm, hearty recipes you’ve been waiting for. The kind that fills your kitchen with the smell of herbs and potatoes, makes GREAT leftovers all week long, and the kind all your family members will thank you for making.


  • well-liked by most picky eaters
  • cheap
  • no unusual ingredients
  • can be made ahead
  • makes great leftovers
  • naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and of course plant-based
  • can be easily customized to your family’s preferences
  • an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and B-6.

You can make it a day or two in advance, keep it in the fridge, and just bake it when you’re ready. I haven’t tried freezing it, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work.

Purposefully, this recipe makes a lot so you can have leftovers! Or make two smaller pans and take one to a neighbor or friend!

Feel free to customize this to your personal liking. If you don’t like mushrooms, use your favorite vegetable instead of just leave them out. If your family is on the fence about eating plant-based, make it with cheese or butter in the mashed potatoes to make it appear less “healthy.” You do what you need! Although, I’ve tested this recipe as-is to two different omnivore groups and it got rave reviews, so there’s no need to tweak it.

Enjoy this nutritious, delicious warm and cozy dinner!

5 from 5 votes
Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
20 mins

A whole-food, plant-based version of Shepherd's Pie that is flavorful, comforting and gives you all the cozy feelings of fall!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: comfort food, fall, potatoes, shepherds pie, vegan, vegetarian, whole food plant based
Servings: 8 people
Author: Faithful Plateful
Mashed Potatoes
  • 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (about 15 small potatoes)
  • 1 cup soy milk or other unsweetened plant milk (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced (gives the tanginess of sour cream)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, uncooked
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 4 large carrots
  • 8 oz mushrooms (or green beans, or other vegetable of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp each of rosemary, thyme, basil
  • 2 TBSP ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups frozen peas
Cook lentils and make mashed potatoes
  1. Start by cooking the lentils. Add 2.5 cups water and 1 cup lentils to a small pot with a lid. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for about 25 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Drain any excess water.

  2. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and either cook in an instant pot or on the stove. For the instant pot, cover with water and use the steam setting for 13 minutes. On the stove, add potatoes to a pot of boiling water, and cook until tender, at least 20 minutes. Drain. Reserve 1 cup of potato water if you don't plan to use milk as the liquid for the mashed potatoes.

  3. Finish mashed potatoes by adding 1 cup of soy milk or reserved potato water, salt and lemon juice. Mash with a potato masher or an electric beater. Adjust seasonings and salt accoring to taste. Add whatever you love to make your mashed potatoes swoon-worthy.

Make the filling
  1. Chop onion, mince garlic, dice celery, slice the carrots and mushrooms.

  2. In a large pot, saute onions. Add small amounts of water if necessary to avoid sticking to the pan. Once fragrant, add garlic, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and herbs. Cook over medium heat until soft.

  3. Make the gravy by stirring the vegetable broth and ketchup together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Add about 1 cup of the mashed potatoes to thicken it. Stir into the vegetable mixture. Add the cooked lentils, peas, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

  4. Pour lentil vegetable mixture into the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Dollop spoonfulls of mashed potatoes on top, then gently smooth them together to cover the filling. Sprinkle with parsely if desired, then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until filling is hot and bubbly and potatoes are golden brown on top. I like to use the broil setting the last few minutes to create a crispy golden top.

Adapted from Pinch of Yum’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.

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  1. Oh my goodness, we LOVE shepherd’s pie! I usually just use veggies, but adding lentils is such a great idea! Also, I love the idea of using the potatoes as a thickener for the gravy. I hate making gravy, and this sounds so much easier. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1. Yep, a lot of gravies use flour as a thickener but because you, I’m trying to make things more naturally gluten-free. It’s delicious this way, anyway!

  2. I made this tonight! It was delicious! My five year old even said she liked it while she was eating it. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers. I added some smoked paprika to my bowl when I ate it which was a nice addition.

  3. I have made this many times for carnivore guests, and the pan is always scraped clean. We love it, even without our usual butter in the mashed potatoes.

  4. Newer to eating more plant based, healthier meals as I struggle with allergies and wanting to just be healthier over-all. Came across your recipe and asked my husband to make while I was at work. LOVED IT! Perfect for the cool, rainy summer weekend we’re having in Wisconsin right now. Even my very picky 11yr old daughter loved it! We substituted red lentils as that is what we had on hand and used lactose-free milk (allergic to soy). Very good, will definitely make again! Thank you so much!!!

  5. Hi, Faith. I’ve assembled the shepherd’s pie and will refrigerate it until I bake it for dinner tomorrow. Do you know about how long I should bake it from the refrigerator? Thanks for the help, and thank you for so many great recipes,

    1. Hi Priscilla! It should only take an additional 10-20 minutes from the fridge, just whenever it seems warmed through and golden on top. 🙂

  6. This is just a suggestion, but, to make it more like a whole-food, plant-based recipe, try this one without peeling the potatoes. Chop the potatoes into smaller pieces, before cooking, and the peel is not very noticeable, in the mix. In fact, we like the addition, once we quit peeling vegetables. Several other vegetables are great with peels attached, too – carrots (they don’t even have peels!), potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, etc. Just scrub and prepare!

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