Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Make a dish for St. Patrick’s Day that everyone can love! Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is the perfect dish for a festive potluck or party.


2 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 whole garlic clove
1 cup (½ pound) dry brown lentils
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup of corn
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, divided
2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire or tamari sauce
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
1 pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup milk or milk substitute (soy, almond, or rice milk)
3 tablespoons butter or vegan butter substitute (ex. Earth Balance)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place the peeled potatoes in a pot along with one whole peeled garlic clove. Cover the potatoes with plenty of water. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce heat to medium to the potatoes continue to simmer. Let the potatoes cook for 25 to 30 minutes till fork tender.

Meanwhile, rinse and sort the lentils. Pour the lentils into a pot along with a bay leaf. Cover with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and let the lentils cook for 15 to 20 minutes till just tender. Keep a close watch on them and don’t overcook, or they’ll become soft/mushy. Remove from heat as soon as they’re cooked. If there is any excess water, drain it.

As potatoes and lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion to the skillet and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes till softened.

Add the diced carrots and celery. Continue to sauté for 5 to 6 more minutes till the vegetables are tender-crisp.

Add crushed garlic, peas, corn, 3 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, vegan Worchestershire or tamari sauce, oregano, and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Stir and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes more till the vegetables are tender and fragrant.

Stir the skillet vegetable mixture into the cooked, drained lentils. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the cooked potatoes; reserve the whole garlic clove that cooked with them. Mash the potatoes and softened garlic clove with milk and butter (or vegan milk and butter substitutes) till smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the lentil and vegetable mixture in an even layer across the bottom of the dish.

Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the vegetable mixture, using a spoon or fork to add texture to the top of the potatoes for browning. Top with cheddar cheese (or vegan cheddar shreds), if desired.

Place the dish in the oven and let it bake for about 30 minutes till the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown. Increase heat at the end of cooking for more browning, if desired. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley on top of the pie to garnish. Serve hot.

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