This lentil shepherd’s pie is lightened up from traditional versions, using wholesome ingredients, yet still incredibly mouthwatering! Lentils and veggies topped with a fluffy mashed potato layer for a healthy dish that tastes like comfort food.
This recipe was originally published in September 2018. It has been updated for content and photos.
Guilt free comfort food is where it’s at! Just like my Thai curry or pasta e fagioli, this dish is so satisfying and comforting, without the excessive calories and fat.
Better yet, I promise you won’t even miss the meat. This lentil shepherd’s pie is not only vegan and vegetarian approved but it’s omnivore approved too!
For even more incredible vegan dinner recipes, that even meat eaters will love, be sure to check out this collection of healthy vegan dinner ideas!
Why you’re going to love this “skinny” shepherd’s pie
- Free from oil and butter, but you won’t miss it at all.
- It may taste like comfort food, but it’s nutrient dense and wonderfully wholesome.
- This lentil shepherd’s pie is easy to prepare in advance! You can prepare components and assemble when ready to bake. Or go ahead and fully assemble and just pop it in the oven when it’s dinner time. PS. It freezes great too!
- It’s allergen friendly! No dairy, no nuts, no gluten, and if you need it corn or soy free, I’ve got easy swaps for that too.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather all your ingredients for both the mashed potato layer and veggie and lentil layer.
If you don’t already have cooked lentils, start there. Add them to a small pot and get those going, while you prepare the rest.
NOTE: To save time, you may use canned lentils, approx 3 cups worth.
Now start preparing your potatoes. Peel and quarter them, and add to a pot with enough water to just cover them and start cooking. (photos 1-2)
NOTE: If you have an Instant Pot, you may also prepare your potatoes using this method for a faster, hands off option.
While your potatoes are cooking, prepare your lentil veggie mixture (the bottom layer of your shepherd’s pie). Combine all the ingredients into a 9×13 (or similar sized) baking dish. Mix well. (photos 3-4)
By this point, your potatoes should be cooked. Drain them and return to the same pot. Then add the milk, salt and garlic powder (if using) and mash using a potato masher, until smooth. (photos 5-7)
NOTE: Do NOT over mash your potatoes, just until smooth.
Now spread your mashed potatoes on top of the lentil veggie mixture in an even layer. (photo 8)
Optional: Then use a fork to create a crisscross pattern on top. This will add a slight crunchiness to your potato layer and get them nicely browned. (photo 9)
Bake your lentil shepherd’s pie for 20 minutes covered with parchment paper and aluminum foil. Then remove both paper and foil and bake an additional 10 minutes and remove from the oven.
See how beautifully golden those crisscrossed potatoes get?
Can I make it in advance?
You may fully prepare your tray of lentil shepherd’s pie a day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake.
OR you may freeze the entire tray for up to 3 months, until ready to bake. Just add about 20 minutes of covered cooking time, if cooking from frozen.
Otherwise, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and cook as directed.
How long does it keep?
You may refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container or wrapped in plastic wrap for 3-4 days.
To reheat your lentil shepherd’s pie, add a little milk or broth to a pan and heat up a portion as a deconstructed version. Or you may reheat in the oven. Make sure to add a little more milk on top of your potatoes to prevent them from drying out.
- For corn free, choose a variety of mixed veggies without corn. (Like a peas and carrot mix.)
- For soy free, sub the soy milk for another plant based milk of your choice. Also sub the Tamari or soy sauce for coconut aminos, or vegetable broth.
- If you don’t have or cannot find Yukon Gold potatoes, another variety of yellow potatoes also works well. Russet potatoes are fine too, just a little less creamy, so you may need a splash more milk when mashing your potatoes.
- Weigh your potatoes for best results. Since potatoes vary greatly in size, weighing them will be the most accurate.
- If you don’t have a kitchen scale and you have to eye ball it, use approx 10 average sized Yukon Gold potatoes.
- Don’t overly mash your potatoes, just until smooth and then spread them over top your lentil and veggie mixture. Overly mashing potatoes can bring them from a smooth and fluffy texture into gummy territory.
- Once your lentil and veggie mixture is prepared, taste and add more Tamari, salt, pepper or other seasoning, if needed.
More healthy vegan comfort food
- Vegan Sloppy Joes (Soup or Sandwich!)
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Soup
- Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Baked Beans
- Vegan Chicken Burgers
- Instant Pot Unstuffed Peppers
If you tried this recipe, please let me know about it in the comments below. I always love hearing from you! Don’t forget to Subscribe to This Healthy Kitchen to be among the first to get my new recipes! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to see more delicious food and get all the latest updates.
- 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes peeled and quartered
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ½ cup soy milk or milk of choice
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder optional
- 3 cups cooked or canned green or brown lentils approx 1 cup raw
- 3 cups mixed frozen veggies
- 2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce if not avoiding gluten
- ⅓ cup tomato sauce or tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or sweet
- salt + pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place potatoes in a large pot of water (just covering potatoes) and bring to a boil, cooking until fork tender, approx. 10 minutes. Drain and return to the pot, add the milk, salt and garlic powder if using, and mash with a potato masher. Add more milk if needed and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add your cooked or canned lentils and all remaining filling ingredients to the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish (or similar). Mix well.
- Top with the mashed potatoes and spread them out evenly across the top. Then, use a fork to make crisscross pattern across the top. Cover the tray with parchment paper and then aluminum foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and paper and bake another 10 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
I am new to this amazing site. Thank you for providing such a great recipe. I added a ton of vegetables and a bit more seasoning and it came out just perfect for my tasting. I will definitely be making this again soon.😉 My mom loved it too!
(I can’t wait to start perusing the entire site for more deliciousness)
Thanks very much for taking the time to leave a review. Thrilled you enjoyed our lentil shepherd’s pie. 🙂
I’ve made this several times and my family loves it! I like to add mushrooms to the lentil mixture.
So glad to hear that Doreen. Thanks very much for the review. 🙂
I’m making this for the second time for my family tonight. It is easy to make, and very hearty. The kids love it!
That’s fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing Jason.
Any ideas on a sub for tomato paste t that is GERD friendly? Would love to try this recipe out for my partner!
Hi Kait, how about gravy? You can try this miso gravy here and skip the onion/garlic powder.