Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils is a hearty and healthy meal the whole family will love. Freezer-friendly and perfect for weeknight dinner or meal prep.
The Best Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe:
I could eat almost anything topped with mashed potatoes, but add red wine and mushrooms to the mix, and I’m on cloud 9. This cozy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is so jam-packed with hearty veggies, you won’t even miss the meat. Plus, the mushroom + lentil combo add plenty of meaty texture and savory depth.
Let me give you a little context as to how this Shepherd’s Pie was born. It’s currently 15°F Denver and our heat hasn’t been working for days. And of course, it’s a holiday weekend, which means no one can fix it until Monday. Meanwhile, I’m knee-deep in Thanksgiving leftovers thinking how I can re-purpose them in the coziest way possible. Enter: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie! (AKA the BEST way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.)
My goal with this recipe, however, is to give you as many shortcuts as possible. Shepherd’s Pie can be a pretty involved dish, but that shouldn’t deter you from making what may be the heartiest bowl of comfort. So to ease up the effort, we lean on frozen veggies and precooked lentils. And, if you’re REALLY lucky, leftover mashed potatoes?
What is in Shepherd’s Pie?
In this vegetarian version, mushrooms, lentils, and frozen veggies create a hearty base. And to infuse them with rich flavor, they simmer in a super savory red wine gravy with Worcestershire sauce. For a fresh lift, a double dose of herbs (rosemary and thyme) do the heavy lifting. (FYI: Classic Worcestershire sauce does contain anchovies. If you’re trying to keep this 100% vegetarian, seek out a vegan brand, like Annie’s.) Now let’s move on to some time-saving tips!
Pro tip #1: Look for pre-cooked lentils. I love the Trader Joe’s Steamed & Fully Cooked Lentils, which have become a staple in my house. However if you don’t have a TJ’s nearby, Target also sells microwavable bags of lentils. And of course, there is always canned lentils (I love the Simple Truth brand).
Pro tip #2: Use frozen mixed vegetables to cut down on prep time. I buy the 365 Everyday Value bags at Whole Foods, however Bird’s Eye also makes a great mix. Just be sure to fully thaw them before adding to the pan.
Pro tip #3: If you don’t already have mashed potatoes on hand, you can certainly make them in advance. Also, for the record, if you have a family favorite recipe, feel free to use it! The one I provide in this recipe is more 0f a framework, and the way I personally like to prepare them. Plus, the Greek yogurt adds an extra punch of protein!
But What About Side Dishes?
The beauty of Shepherd’s Pie is that it can be a stand-alone meal. Which means no need for additional sides, and therefore less dishes! However if you’re looking for one side suggestion, I suggest fresh sourdough bread to sop up the remains. You can also prepare a garden salad on the side if you’re craving some extra freshness.
Can I Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?
This recipe freezes incredibly well, however I do suggest following this protocol for best results:
- First, place the lentil and vegetable mixture in a 9-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Let cool to room temperature before adding mashed potatoes.
- Top with potatoes and cover mixture tightly with foil. Use a couple sheets to make sure the pan is completely covered.
- Place pan in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, place the Shepherd’s Pie (still covered with the foil) in a 350ºF oven for 1 hour. Or, place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, and it will only take about 30 minutes to reheat.
You can also freeze individual portions in Tupperware containers. Follow the same assembly protocol, and transfer to a microwave-safe bowl to reheat. If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your creations! Also, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipes.
More Vegetarian Dinner Recipes to Try:
- 1½ lbs yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled and quartered
- ½ cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
- ¾ tsp. cracked black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (16-oz.) bag frozen classic mixed vegetables, thawed
- 1 cup cooked brown or green lentils (I buy the Steamed & Fully Cooked Lentils from Trader Joe's)
- Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water until covered. Bring to a boil over medium high, cover, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain, place back in pot, and add yogurt and butter. Use a masher or pastry butter to mash until smooth. Season with ¾ tsp salt.
- While potatoes cook, preheat oven to 425°F. Combine broth and flour in a large bowl; whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium. Add onion; cook 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms; cook 5 to 6 more minutes, until golden. Season with remaining ¾ tsp. salt and pepper; stir in thyme and rosemary.
- Add wine and Worcestershire sauce; cook 2 to 3 minutes, until wine reduces. Add broth mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in mixed vegetables and lentils.
- Spread mashed potatoes over vegetable mixture. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn broiler to HIGH, and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, watching close to prevent burning. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, if desired.