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Plant-Based Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Cast-iron pan filled with a layer of sauteed veggies in a rich gravy and topped with mashed potatoes and dairy-free cheese

A Shepherd’s pie is a warm and cozy comfort food traditionally made with lamb or beef.  My version of a shepherd’s pie is plant-based, made with a can of lentils and veggie ground (plant-based version of ground beef).  And although there are a few steps, it’s pretty straight forward.  You can make it ahead of time as it will store well in the fridge or freezer. The best way to enjoy this main dish is with a side of steamed greens or a simple green salad.

Recipe Notes

I like to start by making the mashed potatoes first so that they’re ready to go when I put the recipe together.  While the potatoes simmer away, you can get started on the filling.  To tell if the potatoes are cooked, stick a fork in them, if the potato slides off the fork with no help, they are done.  Drain the potatoes, then put them back in the hot pan and allow to steam dry for a few minutes.  This dries the potatoes and allows any water to evaporate into thin air!  To avoid gummy potatoes, I mash the potatoes with fat first, in this case the vegan butter, then stir in the dairy-free milk, then season and try not to taste test too much, or you’ll have nothing left for the shepherd’s pie.

For the filling, try to cut all the veggies the same small size – this will ensure everything cooks together at the same speed and you’ll have a bit of everything in every bite.  Veggie ground can usually be found in the tofu fridge at your grocery store, if you can’t find it, just ask someone. Once you add the tomato paste and flour, you’ll notice a thin crust starting to form and brown on the bottom of the pan – this is FLAVOUR!  Allow it to brown, but not burn, then deglaze the pan with red wine and water, stirring up anything that’s collected on the bottom.  From here on out, it’s easy! Add the lentils and seasoning – then taste and adjust.  Then cover the top with mashed potatoes and dairy-free cheese (if you’re using) and bake.

Plant-Based Shepherd's Pie

All the flavour of your favourite comfort dish without the meat!
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 4


  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Medium Pot
  • 12" Ovenproof Skillet or Baking Dish
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fork


Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 large russet potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • cup dairy-free unsweetened milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dairy-free butter


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion finely diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk finely chopped
  • 340 grams veggie ground round
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 can brown lentils drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼-½ cup vegan shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a large pot, bring potatoes and enough water to cover by 1-inch to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes in a colander and transfer back to the large pot and allow them to steam dry for 5 minutes. Mash with vegan butter, then stir in the plant-based milk until smooth. Cover and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add oil, onions, carrots, celery, and thyme. Cook, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add veggie ground round, break up until crumbly, cook and stir until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste, cook and stir for 1 minutes, then sprinkle in the flour, cook and stir for 1 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with red wine, lifting up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, cook until the wine has mostly evaporated.  Stir in lentils, water, soy sauce, worcestershire, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Remove from heat.
  • Cover the filling with scoops of mashed potato and spread until smooth and sprinkle with vegan cheese if using.  Bake for 30 minutes. If you want to brown the top, turn on your broiler and broil until golden, about 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Keyword comfort, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, winter

Helpful Hints:

  • I like cooking this shepherd’s pie in a oven-proof pan, my favorite is a cast-iron pan, but you can use any oven-proof pan, or if you don’t have one, just use a baking dish.
  • You can substitute wine and water for 1 cup of vegetable or mushroom stock.