Dishing Up the Dirt

Lentil Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

I can already tell you that it’s going to be a comfort food kind of week. The rain is here to stay and I’m not sure when we’ll see the sunshine again. Luckily, this gloomy weather is a great excuse to stand at the stove for a few minutes longer, sip a glass of red wine and just enjoy the simple act of chopping, mixing and sautéing a pot of veggies. It’s quite amazing how therapeutic your kitchen can be when you need a little comfort or distraction from the world.

This vegan version of the classic Shepherd’s Pie is pretty darn wonderful and perfect for a stormy autumn night. We had some leftover lentils that I’d cooked up a few days back which is what inspired this meat free recipe. Shepherd’s pie holds a special place in both my and Taylor’s hearts because it was a dish often served at the ranch we met on while working in Montana many years ago. I love how simple and forgiving this dish is and while I appreciate the traditional version made with lamb, I think this lentil version is top notch. It’s warm, comforting and full of deep and rich flavors even without the meat. I love the texture of the lentils and creaminess from the mashed rutabaga/potato topping (which get their creaminess from olive oil and garlic rather than cream). Honestly, the topping makes the creamiest mashed potatoes and I adore the addition of rutabaga for more depth of flavor. This dish definitely deserves a spot at your dinner table this fall or winter and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Pour a glass of red wine and dig in!

Lentil Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

Prep Time: 25 minutes    Cook Time: 1 hour    Serves: 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 1 cup mixed mushrooms, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon flour (GF if necessary)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
Mashed Rutabaga/Potato Topping
  • 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the carrots and parsnips and continue to cook for about 5 minutes longer. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme and paprika and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and flour and stir until the vegetables are coated in the mixture and it begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the vegetable broth and stir to dissolve the flour and tomato past mixture. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes or until the mixture thickens up a bit. Stir in the cooked lentils and remove from the heat. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Prepare the topping by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes, rutabaga, garlic, and 2 teaspoons of salt and cook at a brisk simmer until the veggies are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, rutabaga and garlic, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes and rutabaga with the garlic and beat in the olive oil. Thin to desired consistency with reserved cooking liquid (I used about 1/3 cup).
  4. Pour the lentil vegetable mixture into a casserole dish (or use your skillet if it’s oven proof). Spoon the mashed potato mixture evenly over the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes longer or until potatoes are golden brown.


*Use this recipe as a guide *Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Taste test as you go *Cooking times will vary

Leave a Reply

5 thoughts on “Lentil Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Jennifer says:

    Do you think this could be frozen?

  2. jenn says:

    Do you think this could be frozen?

    1. Andrea says:

      I haven’t frozen this before but I don’t think this dish will freeze well. I think the mashed potatoes will turn a weird consistency if it’s frozen. Sorry!

  3. Adam says:

    Tip: grate the parsnip and carrot. At some red wine to deglaze and boil off before the stock. This is a good recipe, Andrea

  4. Nicola says:

    This was wonderful! Love the slight crunch of the veggies, and it’s bursting with flavor. This was my first time making a Shepherd’s Pie, impressed!

Sign up

Fresh recipies delivered to your inbox!