Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie
Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie- a plant-based take on the comforting classic made with hearty lentils and parsnip mashed potatoes. So delicious that even meat eaters will love it!
Is there anything more cozy than Shepherds Pie?
This vegan version made with lentils is based off a recipe we had years ago from a vegetarian wine bar in Oakland called Encuentro. Sadly they decided to shut down their brick and mortar restaurant shortly after we moved back east. I guess the only positive is that it did make the move slightly less painful knowing we weren’t leaving that restaurant behind.
The reason why their shepherds pie left such a lasting impression on me is because it was made with a unique blend of vegetables that I would have otherwise never thought to use. The base featured hearty lentils, mushrooms, carrots and celeriac, also known as celery root. (hint: it’s the ugly looking vegetable on the right in the picture below)
The topping was made with classic creamy mashed potatoes but they were enhanced by the addition of mashed parsnips. It’s amazing how adding something as simple as parsnips can kick the flavor up about 10 notches.
If for some reason you can’t find celeriac or parsnips, no worries, the recipe can still be made without them. As much as I love them both in this dish, it’s still plenty tasty enough sans celeriac and parsnips.
How to Make Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie
While this isn’t exactly easy enough for a weeknight dinner, it’s simple enough for a novice chef to make! Here’s how it’s done:
- Prep the topping: the potatoes and parsnips are boiled in water for about 30 minutes, until soft. Then we drain them, mash them together with dairy-free butter, milk and salt.
- Make the filling: while the potatoes and parsnips are boiling, we start the filling by cooking the vegetables with seasonings until soft. Then we pour in the red wine, tomato paste, and worcestershire, lentils and broth and cook until the lentils are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Dish it up: once we have the filling and the topping prepared, we’ll layer them in a casserole dish and bake until the potato topping gets light golden brown on the edges.
- Serve warm and enjoy! Be prepared to savor every bite because it’s gonna be SUH GOOD.
Looking for more cozy Irish-inspired meals? Check these out:
- One-Pot Vegan Irish Lager Stew
- Vegan Wellington
- Sheet Pan Cabbage and Tempeh with Mustard Vinaigrette
Vegan Lentil Shepherds Pie
For the Filling
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced
- 2 cups peeled and diced celery root, about 1 medium size celeriac
- 3/4 cup uncooked brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, vegan
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as cabernet or merlot
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the Parsnip Mashed Potato Topping
- 4 cups peeled 1-inch russet potato cubes, about 2 large russet potatoes
- 2 cups peeled and chopped parsnips, about 4 parsnips
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter, I like Miyokos
- 1/4 cup unsweetened plain non-dairy milk, I like using plain coconut milk in a carton
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- chives for topping
- In a large pot over medium high heat, cover the potatoes and parsnips with water by a few inches. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 30-35 minutes, until they are tender enough to be mashed.
- Meanwhile, start the filling by warming the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and cook for a few minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, mushrooms, celeriac and seasonings (thyme and oregano) then cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms start to release their liquid.
- Pour in the red wine, tomato paste, and Worcestershire then bring to a low boil. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Next add the rinsed lentils along with the vegetable broth. Simmer on low, cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drain the water from the potatoes and parsnips. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the potatoes and parsnips together. Add the vegan butter, milk, garlic powder, and salt & pepper to taste. Add more milk or butter, if desired for a smoother texture.
- Lightly grease a pie dish or 8-inch square casserole dish then fill the bottom with the lentil mixture. Top with a layer of parsnip mashed potatoes, spreading them evenly so that they cover the lentils.
- Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are a light golden color. Allow to cool for five to ten minutes then sprinkle with chives and pepper. Serve warm and enjoy!