Overhead view of vegan shepherd's pie in a cast iron skillet with a spoon scooping up a serving of lentil and gravy filling.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils

A classic comfort casserole gets a plant-based makeover with this full-flavor vegan version of cottage pie. A thick and creamy lentil and veggie filling gets topped with perfectly seasoned garlic-chive mashed potatoes and baked until warm and heavenly. 

Prep: 20 minsCook: 1 hour, 10 minsTotal: 1 hour, 30 mins
Servings: 8 servings 1x


For the Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz fresh cremini or button mushrooms, caps and stems diced
  • 1 cup uncooked green or brown lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or tapioca starch

For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes (about 5 small-medium), peeled and chopped
  • Water and salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ to 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh chives


  1. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or other 3-quart oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil. At the same time, fill a pot halfway with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  2. When the oil is shimmering in the skillet, add the onion and mushrooms; saute until the mushrooms have released their liquid, 7-10 minutes. 
  3. When the water in the pot comes to a boil, add the peeled and chopped potatoes (to make the mashed potatoes). 
  4. When the onions and mushrooms have cooked down in the skillet, add the lentils and broth to the skillet; set heat to medium and let simmer (uncovered) for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. 
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the top third of the oven. Once the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, drain the water from the pot and return the potatoes to the pot. Add the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using a hand mixer, whip the potatoes until they are well mashed and creamy, increasing the speed as you continue to whip for a full minute or two. Add ½ to 1 cup broth and continue to whip until the potatoes are very creamy. Add the chives and whip again until the chives are incorporated. Set the mashed potatoes aside. (Alternatively, you can whip the potatoes with a stand mixer or a hand potato masher.) 
  6. Back at the skillet, once the lentils have cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the frozen peas and carrots mix, coconut milk, garlic, coconut aminos, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir well and increase heat to bring to a simmer. 
  7. In a small bowl or dish, combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water; whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then, slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into the mixture in the skillet, stirring until well incorporated and the mixture thickens to a gravy, about 1-2 minutes. 
  8. Remove the skillet from the heat and place the skillet on a sheet pan (this helps prevent spillage in the oven). Gently add the mashed potatoes in a layer over the lentil-gravy mixture. Use the back of a spoon to spread the potatoes evenly in a wavy pattern. 
  9. Place the sheet pan with the skillet on the top rack in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  10. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish servings with additional chives or fresh parsley. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
  • Calories: 352
  • Fat: 15 g
  • (Sat Fat: 8 g)
  • Sodium: 629 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 26 g
  • (Fiber: 6 g
  • Sugar: 5 g)
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians
Recipe By: Jessie Shafer

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