Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie! This vegan shepherd’s pie recipe is easy to make in your Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on the stove top. Simply top with mashed potatoes for a healthy gluten-free vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, Cottage Pie, or whatever else you want to call it! 

lentil shepherd's pie in a white casserole dish

Friends, we’re here today to talk about making a vegan shepherd’s pie, and I want to get one thing out of the way right off the bat: no shepherds were harmed in the making of this pie.

Can you even imagine how tough and sinewy a shepherd would be? They’d make terrible pie filling! Although, perhaps in the Instant Pot

I kid, I kid… you’d never fit a shepherd in an Instant Pot.

Ok. I’m done now.

In all seriousness, we’re here to make an easy and delicious Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, and I’m going to walk you through THREE different ways you could make it! Want to make your vegan shepherd’s pie in the Instant Pot? You bet you do!

Or, wait, would you prefer to make slow cooker lentil shepherd’s pie? We can do that! Want to keep this situation classic and make your vegetarian shepherd’s pie filling on the stove top? You’re in luck!

But first things first: what is the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?

According to Jamie Oliver, the difference is in the type of meat. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, whereas cottage pie is made with beef. We’re keeping things vegetarian and are using lentils to replace the meat, so you can call it lentil cottage pie or lentil shepherd’s pie as you wish.

lentils, celery, carrots, onions, peas, and tomatoes on a grey background

What goes into Lentil Shepherd’s Pie?

Alrighty then, get your ingredients ready! We’re going to be using:

  • Lentils –> I’ll discuss lentil choices below.
  • Onions –> A big ol’ yellow guy will do.
  • Celery –> Fiber and whatnot.
  • Carrots –> Getting those veggies in!
  • Peas –> We’re using frozen this time.
  • Tomatoes –> A couple of cans will do the trick.
  • Mashed potatoes –> I’m using these Greek Yoghurt Mashed Potatoes.
  • Garlic and spices –> Taking a trip to flavour town!

collage of making lentil shepherds pie in an instant pot

How do you make vegan shepherd’s pie?

When I first posted this recipe back in 2015 I made it in my slow cooker. I’ve since acquired an Instant Pot, and I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m kind of in love with the thing. Since I’m not interested in having extra clutter in my small apartment, I bought the vented glass lid that allows me to use my Instant Pot as a slow cooker, and I gave my slow cooker away.

I love that I’ve got the option to use it as a slow cooker OR a pressure cooker, though to be fair I use it as a pressure cooker like 99% of the time.

How do you make Instant Pot shepherd’s pie?

It really couldn’t be easier, my friends.

Add all of your ingredients EXCEPT the frozen peas and mashed potatoes into your Instant Pot. Seal the lid, and set it on manual pressure cooking for 10 minutes. It’ll take about 15-20 minutes to come up to pressure before the 10 minute cooking time will start.

Once finished, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then flip the valve to vent and quick-release the rest of the steam. Stir in your frozen peas, spoon into a casserole dish, and top with mashed potatoes.

photo collage of making lentil shepherds pie in an instant pot

How do you make slow cooker shepherd’s pie?

It’s basically the same as the Instant Pot, just way slower (duh).

Add all of your ingredients EXCEPT the frozen peas and mashed potatoes into your slow cooker. Allow it to cook for 6 hours on low, or 3 hours on high. Stir in your frozen peas, spoon into a casserole dish, and top with mashed potatoes.

How do you make lentil shepherd’s pie filling on the stove top?

I like to do this in a large heavy-bottomed pot (this one is my favourite).

Heat over medium-high heat on the stove top, and cook the onions until they’ve softened slightly. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a few minutes more. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté 5 minutes more, until the vegetables are slightly tender.

Add the lentils, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender. Stir in your frozen peas, spoon into a casserole dish, and top with mashed potatoes.

a plate of lentil shepherd's pie with a white casserole dish in the background

What kind of lentils are best for making vegan shepherd’s pie?

I recommend you use a small, firm lentil such as Puy or beluga lentils. Larger brown lentils would work as well, but I prefer the texture of the smaller ones.

While red lentils are awesome in other recipes, I do not recommend them in this shepherd’s pie recipe.

Is lentil shepherd’s pie vegan?

The filling is vegan AF, so as long as you use vegan mashed potatoes, then you bet it is! I use Greek yogurt in my mashed potatoes, but I love this recipe for vegan mashed potatoes if you need one.

Can I make lentil shepherd’s pie in advance?

You bet you can! You can cook the filling, make the mashed potatoes, and get everything ready in a casserole dish to just toss into the oven when you’re ready to eat.

How long will leftovers last?

Leftover Lentil Shepherd’s Pie will last about three days in the fridge. You can also wrap leftover portions in foil and throw them in the freezer and they’ll last about three months.

Related: Vegetarian Freezer Meals for New Moms.

overhead photo of lentil shepherd's pie in a white casserole dish

Hey Nutrition Lady, are lentils healthy?

You bet they are! These lovely little legumes are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. The soluble fiber in lentils helps to keep blood sugar stable, while providing a steady source of energy.

But the energy benefits don’t stop there, lentils are a rich source of iron, as well as being a good source of plant-based protein, which is good news for us veg heads.

Lentils are also a great source of heart-healthy folate and magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, potassium, and B6.

a white casserole dish of lentil shepherd's pie with a piece missing

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Vegan Lentil Soup
Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash Noodles
Baked Pumpkin Risotto
Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos
Mung Bean and Coconut Curry

lentil shepherd's pie on a blue plate topped with chives
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4.92 from 12 votes

Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Lentil Shepherd's Pie! This vegan shepherd's pie recipe is easy to make in your Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on the stove top. Simply top with mashed potatoes for a healthy gluten-free vegetarian dinner! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Keyword vegan shepherd's pie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 385kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils puy or beluga lentils
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes

Instructions

INSTANT POT

  • Layer the diced onion, olive oil, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, thyme, pepper, lentils, tomatoes, and vegetable broth into your Instant Pot.
  • Set to manual pressure for 10 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure. Once the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow to vent naturally for 5 minutes, then flip the valve to venting for quick release.
  • When the cooking time is complete, stir in the frozen peas.

SLOW COOKER

  • Layer the diced onion, olive oil, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, thyme, pepper, lentils, tomatoes, and vegetable broth into your slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours*
  • When the cooking time is complete, stir in the frozen peas.

STOVE TOP

  • Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat on the stove top.
  • Add the onions and sauté until they've softened slightly. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a few minutes more. 
  • Then add the carrots and celery and sauté 5 minutes more, until the vegetables are slightly tender.
  • Add the lentils, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender. 
  • When the cooking time is complete, stir in the frozen peas.

TO FINISH

  • Spoon the lentil filling into a casserole dish. Top with mashed potato, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C / 400°F for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and the filling is bubbling around the edges.

Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 858mg | Potassium: 1179mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3855IU | Vitamin C: 53.2mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 5.3mg

This recipe was originally published February 23, 2015. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated March 15, 2019.

 
 

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Comments

  1. Claire says

    This was my first attempt at Shepherd’s Pie, though I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while. I used the slow cooker method and added rosemary, parsley, and sage in addition to the thyme because that’s how the song goes (and also I love rosemary especially). I also subbed 1 cup of red wine for 1 cup of the veggie broth and I thought I was GENIUS, but honestly I don’t think it made that much difference so I’d probably just use veggie broth for a remake.

    Like another comment said, my filling came out pretty soupy in the slow cooker. I left the lid off and cooked it on high for a few minutes to try to reduce the liquid, then just said to heck with it and threw it in the dish. My pans were quite stuffed, so I put a pan down to catch inevitable drips.

    When it was done cooking I took it out and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. I think this helped it firm up because it was a decent texture when I served it after the rest. I doubled the recipe and froze an 8×8 pan of it. I think the freezing will dry it out a bit too; I expect the second one to be just as good if not better. I think if I were to make it again I’d use the instant pot method and freshly made potatoes. My potatoes were cold from the fridge, which made them hard to spread (totally my fault). All in all very tasty and fun to try!

    • Kim says

      Can you please post an update when you wind up eating the frozen batch you made? I’m very interested in making this as a freezer meal, but want to make sure it works beforehand. Also, can you let us know how you heat it from frozen? Thanks!

      • Katie Trant says

        Hey Kim, I made and freeze this all the time. Usually I make a full portion, then chill the leftovers in the fridge overnight. Then, I slice it up, wrap individual slices in foil, and toss those into the freezer. To re-heat I unwrap and usually microwave it, though you can also re-heat in the oven.

      • Claire says

        Kim, I haven’t reheated this from frozen yet, but what I plan to do is thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours then bake in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes. Since it will be cold into the oven I think it will need some more time. I’m thinking I may need to cover it with foil to ensure the potatoes don’t burn before the pie is heated through, but I’m going to play that by ear. It is currently in an 8×8 pan, so it will take longer than individual pieces. I will report back when I actually cook it, but that’s my plan. I’ve done this method with frozen lasagna and enchiladas and it always seems to work well. Plus it seems to be more delicious and more solid (less watery) out of the freezer; I think the freezer dries it out in a good way.

  2. Catherine says

    I know this is an old recipe, but just wanted to comment and say I made this and it was delicious. I used green lentils though and wanted to mention that I needed to double the cooking time – so 20 minutes in the Instant Pot instead of 10. Everything else exactly the same timing wise – I did add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce for extra umami flavour. Great dish for a meal with guests when you’re not sure when they’re going to arrive – you can make the filling early and leave it at room temp until they arrive, then 20-30 minutes in the oven while you’re having drinks, nibbles, etc. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Emily says

    This recipe is making me seriously consider investing in an Instant Pot. I love a veggie cottage pie but I’m so tired of all the stirring and waiting.

  4. Mrsfox says

    I guess I’ll be joining the instant pot movement now! I love a good Sheppard’s pie! Can’t wait to try this one out!

  5. Lindsay Madge says

    GIRL, I made this for my husband and I. He has predominately been a meat-eater his whole life but loves shep’s pie. I dabbled and added a few other ingredients like corn, subbed green lentils, a little veggie bouillon, pickled jalepenos & a DASH of cholula (sounds strange, i know, but so good for spice) and it was amazing!! We also made of gravy of rice milk, veggie stock, the bouillon and some spices which was also amazing!! So stoked, this will be a keeper!

  6. Andi says

    Sooooo good!! cheap too. I put this in the crock pot before I went to class (I used green instead of puy lentils) and when I came back I added a little more veggie broth and let it warm for a couple more hours. Put it on a sweet potato and ate that sh** up!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  7. Melissa says

    sorry I’m not much of a cook so my question may seem stupid, but do you already cook the lentils or do you just rinse and pick through them and put them in “raw?” Thanks!

    • Katie Trant says

      Just rinse, pick through them to make sure there aren’t any stones, and toss ’em in! They cook up in the liquid (veggie broth, canned tomatoes, etc) in this recipe. Enjoy!

  8. Sam @ PancakeWarriors says

    Oh I don’t have a slow cooker but this shepards pie looks amazing. Love that it’s lentils and therefore I can enjoy it!! I can totally see me enjoying this over a baked sweet potato as you have pictured. Oh I’m drooling!

    • Katie Trant says

      Yes, that part of the world seems to be getting hit hard! Friends of ours in eastern Canada are also getting slammed. I hope it warms up soon, but in the meantime, enjoy a warm bowl of vegan shepherd’s pie. I hope you did make it after all!

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