Growing up, shepherd’s pie was a comfort classic in our house. As much as I love a hit of spice (I douse hot sauce on pretty much every meal I eat), there’s something so satisfying about good ol’ British grub.
Ready-made or restaurant shepherd’s pie is often thickened with flour, and for some reason it’s often wheat flour rather than cornflour – so they ain’t gluten-free! In some cases, I think adding flour to things is the cheats way of thickening things, because this recipe doesn’t have any flour in it at all.
This lentil shepherd’s pie really hits the spot if you’re craving some classic comfort food, plant-based style.
The Main Ingredients
This recipe is absolutely packed with plant-based protein making it an incredibly satisfying meal, perfect for winter weeknights or even Sunday dinner!
Green lentils are the stars of the show here. We buy dried green lentils in bulk so coming up with various ways to jazz them up has been fun. I love lentils in place of mince in dishes. Using vegan or vegetarian mince substitutes has been a bit iffy for us, since most bags of dried soya mince have traces of gluten. Quorn mince has gluten-free barley malt in it but my husband tends to react to it. Lentils are a straightforward swap that still have a decent bite to them and don’t leave you feeling groggy afterwards.
The base of this lentil shepherd’s pie includes leeks, carrots, and red onion which all lend subtle sweetness to the dish, as well as texture as lentils can be quite soft.
Adding sundried tomatoes to this recipe came to me after a bit of online scouting. Most recipes I saw called for tins of tomatoes, but I didn’t want the overwhelming tomato taste. It reminds me more of bolognese than the shepherd’s pie I grew up eating! The sundried tomatoes add a nice savoury zing.
No lentil shepherd’s pie is complete without a layer of creamy mash with a crispy baked top. I chuck spring onions into my mash which elevates the dish even further, adding extra texture and flavour.
You’ll need to set aside an hour or so to bring this dish to life – and it’s so worth the wait.
Peel and chop your potatoes and put them on to the boil while you prepare the rest.
Sautee onion and carrot until softened, and then add chopped leeks. Let everything cook down and pop in your chopped sundried tomatoes.
Then, add your cooked green lentils and herbs and mix everything until well combined.
Pour in your stock and season well and bring to the boil before reducing to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes.
When it has thickened to a rich sauce, pour into a casserole dish. Your potatoes should be ready to mash. Use plenty of butter and seasoning! Mix your spring onions through the mash and spread evenly on top of the lentil mixture.
Using a fork, flick up peaks on the mash – these will crisp up and turn golden brown in colour and are definitely the best part of a lentil shepherd’s pie!
Pop in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. You should see some sauce bubbling under the mash and the mash should have developed that lovely colour and crisp top. YUM.
How long does this lentil shepherd’s pie keep for?
This should keep well for 5 days in the fridge.
This dish freezes and re-heats well too. If you have babies, it’s perfect if you siphon some off into little ramekin dishes and blitz the lentil mixture to a puree. If you’re making for a baby, be sure to use low sodium stock and go easy on the seasoning!
I guarantee after making this dish, you’ll want to make it a regular feature on your meal plan!
Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie
- 1 kg white potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp dairy-free butter
- 2-5 tbsp unsweetened dairy-free milk (I use soy but would avoid coconut)
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp oil from sundried tomato jar (or vegetable oil if using no oil tomatoes)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1-2 leeks, chopped
- 8 sundried tomatoes from a jar (or no oil variation if preferred)
- 2x 400g tin lentils, drained
- 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
- 400 ml vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
- Place your peeled and chopped potatoes in a pot of water and bring to the boil.
- In the meantime, fry onion and carrot in oil on a medium heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes until softened.
- Add the leeks and sundried tomatoes to the pan and cook until softened.
- Toss in the herbs and drained lentils, mixing it all together.
- Add the stock, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and reduce to low until the liquid has mostly evaporated but the mixture is still moist, around 15 minutes.
- When your potatoes are soft enough, drain the water. Add the butter and mash, adding milk a tablespoon at a time, seasoning with salt and pepper. Get it to a creamy, spreadable consistency which will be easy to layer on top of your lentil mixture. Mix the spring onions through.
- Pour your lentil mixture into a casserole dish, spreading evenly. Top with the spring onion mash and flick up peaks in the potato so they will get crispy in the oven.
- Pop it in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until the mash is crispy. Serve with extra veg!