Shepherds (Cottage) Pie

Sheppards Pie plate web

by Toni Fiore  the author  of the  Totally Vegetarian cookbook, and host of the  Totally Vegetarian TV show,  now online.

Healthy food is costly and complicated right? Wrong! It’s easier than you might think to prepare delicious healthy meals on a budget and you don’t have to spend loads of time in the kitchen either. One pot meals like casseroles, soups and stews are always a good choice. With this recipe you’ll see how cooking in layers extracts tremendous depths of flavor from simple inexpensive ingredients. This hearty Shepherds Pie topped with creamy mashed potatoes is one of my favorites especially served with a crisp green salad and warm bread.

Topping ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. cubed and peeled Yukon gold or russet potatoes

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup soy or almond milk

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular paprika)

Directions for topping:

In a large saucepan cover the potatoes with water and add 1 tsp. salt. Bring water and potatoes to a gentle boil and cook until potatoes are tender – about 20 minutes.

Drain and return potatoes to pan. Dry the potatoes over very low heat, stirring constantly for about a minute. Remove the pot from the stove and mash potatoes with a potato masher or pass through a ricer. Add the soymilk and mix well until the potatoes are smooth. Add additional milk or a little water if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.


Filling Ingredients

1 cup Puy lentils

4 cups water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 bay leaf

1 T. olive oil

16 oz. fresh mushrooms (button, cremini, or portabella)

1 1/2 cups finely diced onion

1 cup peeled and finely diced carrot

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1 T. tomato paste

3 T. flour

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

1 T. low sodium soy sauce

1 t. dried thyme

Prepare the filling

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a large saucepan combine lentils, water, 1/2 tsp. salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender – about 25 minutes. Drain lentils, remove bay leaf and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are nicely browned – don’t stir them until they have browned!!! This should take 5-7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.

In the same pot add the remaining olive oil. Set the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, scraping up any of the brown bits in the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir just until tomato paste turns a rusty brown color. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar and vegetable stock and continue stirring, scraping up all the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the soy sauce, thyme, mushrooms and lentils to the mixture and cook until mixture thickens, about 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat.

Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon the mushroom lentil mixture into the casserole and smooth the top.

Dollop the mashed potatoes on top and smooth with a wet spatula. Dust the top of the potatoes with the paprika. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and the mixture is heated through.

If making ahead, cover and set the pie in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.



I made this really liked it, I'm wondering about changing it into a stew for simplicity and just cutting up potatoes in chunks and cooking them in.  Any thoughts?? I also thought about using sweet potatoes mixed with yukon gold.  I would like to know if this might work, it makes enough for me to have for lunch for a number of days at work.


I've always wondered about sea salt vs "regular" salt -- particularly Mediterranean salt or French salt from the Atlantic coast vs salts that have flowed down mountain stream into Salt Lake City.  The oceans of the British Channel and the Mediterranean are the dirties in the world!  Sewerage and shipping!  Yuk!  I'd rather get my salt after it's fallen from the sky, landed in wilderness and flowed down streams and rivers in the mountains until it lands in a land locked lake.  Much cleaner!

Vegan Mom
Vegan Mom

Is it hard to find Puy lentils? Can I substitute a different kind if I can't find them? 

Lynn Amano
Lynn Amano

I made this recipie this past Sunday.  It took me a lot longer (almost 2 hours.. YIKES!) but I'm a novice cook. However the results were absolutely delicious.  I put in a little extra salt, and may double the tomato paste next time, but it's one of those even better as leftover kind of dishes.  YUM.  Thank you!


First time I saw your show was today, and definitely trying looks delicious. We are looking for more healthy. Going to try the soup you featured today. I have an on the stove pressure cooker, but the electric one looks very interesting. May have to check that out.

Beach bunny
Beach bunny

Great recipe. Too bad the tv show keeps showing it as "Sheppards Pie". Really? Nobody caught that?

Makes me wonder about the intelligence and integrity of this production....


I was watching PBS yesterday morning when Vegan Mashup came on. I'd never heard of the show (or seen it offered on our local station) but after one episode I am HOOKED! The episode featured this recipe as well as two soup recipes...all of which I am intent on trying this week. THANK YOU for healthy food that tastes amazing and thanks PBS for picking up this awesome series!

Toni Fiore
Toni Fiore

Thank you Lisa. We're so glad you found Vegan Mashup. Please spread the word. Bon Apetit!

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