Vegan It Real Shepherd’s Pie


Anyone else running to their favorite comfort foods lately? Like a delicious mound of vegan shepherd’s pie? 🤭

I have been cooking dishes these past few months that give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, pretty much ever since I heard the word coronavirus. Not forgetting that we should never solve our problems with food, I do think many of us associate good memories with good meals. I can remember eating a non-vegan version of this in my middle school cafeteria and at the time, it seemed like the most delicious school lunch on the menu, next to the flat square pizza of course. 😂

Let me assure you, this ain’t your cafeteria shepherd’s pie!


Because of the hearty potatoes and the meaty flavor of the lentils and beefy crumbles, it’s one of those dishes that people can’t believe is vegan. It could seriously fool even the most meat-eating of meat eaters so it’s perfect for a potluck (if and when we can safely have them!) or family dinners with your vegan naysayers.  Trust me, you will definitely pull one over on them. Tell them your secret when they hit the second serving.

Like any recipe I create and publish, I encourage you to switch it up and make it your own. Much of the time I do not measure my ingredients and I don’t worry if there is too much of this or not enough of that because I try to balance the flavors throughout the cooking cycle. That’s the secret to a good chef…taste, season, taste season.

Sometimes I omit the lentils and instead use double the plant-based crumbles and other times I’ll add a little vegan sausage too. I have found this particular 50/50 mix offers a great balance of flavor, texture, and nutrition.  I look forward to hearing what you think!


Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Jennifer Markell
Transforming a childhood classic into an animal-free, plant-based version of comforting Shepherd's Pie. Using a combination of lentils and plant-based crumbles along with vegan Worcestershire sauce really elevates the flavor in this recipe. I also add chopped kale or spinach to add to the nutrition level and I encourage you to include your favorite veg to make it your own.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Comfort
Servings 6


For the garlic mashed potatoes

  • 3-5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes The amount of mashed potatoes depends on your specific preference. Using 3 lbs will provide about a 50/50 ratio of the meat mixture to potatoes
  • 2-4 tbsp vegan butter This if for seasoning the mashed potatoes. The amount of butter depends on how many potatoes you wind up using. Totally in your control!
  • 1/4 cup nut milk
  • 1 cup french fried onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tsp garlic powder Take this to another level by roasting fresh garlic and adding that instead!
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the vegan meat mixture

  • 1 cup cooked green lentils Simmer the lentils in veg stock or water with salt and pepper until tender
  • 1 pkg Gardein Ultimate Beefless Ground One package is about 13 oz. You can also substitute your favorite brand beefless crumbles or just use all lentils
  • 2 cups chopped spinach or kale
  • 1 small onion
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup frozen sweet peas Sometimes I use organic shelled edamame instead
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce if you can't find this, substitute tamari/soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic-minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt add more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper add more to taste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or whatever healthy alternative oil you prefer; use veg broth or water if omitting oil


Garlic & Onion Mashed Potatoes

  • Peel and boil the potatoes until fork tender
  • Add the vegan butter, nut milk, 1/2 cup of french fried onions, 1/2 cup scallions and garlic powder and salt and pepper into the potatoes and mash until you reach your desired consistency. Add more milk and seasoning as needed. Cover and set aside.

Vegan Meat and Lentils

  • Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the carrots and Gardein beefless crumbles and about 2 - 3 tbsp of the veggie broth. Stir to combine. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add the lentils, chopped greens and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Let simmer for a few minutes to develop flavors. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a little bit more broth and let it reduce, stirring occassionally. The key is to take time after each ingredient is added to let the flavors soak in.
  • Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 350o F
  • Next add the paprika, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic. Stir to thoroughly combine. Add a few more tablespoons of broth and turn the heat to a low simmer. Stir in the peas and cover for 5 minutes to let the flavors develop. If you find the mixture is to thick, add a little more broth. If you added too much broth, let the mixture simmer a bit longer until it reduces down.

Assemble and Bake

  • Add the vegan meat mixture evenly to the bottom of a 9x11 or 9x9 casserole dish. Gently add the potato mixture to the top in scoops and spread it out over the meat mixture evenly. I use a spatula.
  • Sprinkle the remaining scallions and french fried onions over the top along with another pinch of salt and pepper. Bake @ 350o for 30 minutes.
    To complete the dish and balance the hearty richness, serve with a side salad or steamed broccoli.
Keyword comfort food, family style, hearty food, lentils, potatoes, Vegan

Here is another version. The mixture was not very thick so I served it upside down!

Upside down or right side up, this Shepherd’s Pie is good any way you serve it!


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Meet Jennifer

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I'm Chef Jennifer! A trained and certified personal vegan chef, offering delicious and nutritious animal-free food through personalized, weekly meal-prep services. I also love advocating for the plant-based lifestyle. Changing lives, saving animals and veganizing the planet with REAL food, one plate at a time.🍎🥦🥕

Learn about me, why I started VIR and why I believe food is medicine...for real!


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