Lentil Shepherd's Pie or Lentil Cottage Pie, a delicious vegetarian pie topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked until golden. The lentils make the pie filling and nutritious, and be turned into a vegan dish by swapping the butter and cream in the mash with a plant-based cream.
This dish is the best example that meat-free dinners can be as tasty and filling. The traditional shepherd's pie is made with a filling of green lentils, peas, carrots, onions and garlic in a rich tomato sauce, and cooked until the veggies are tender.
The mash is cooked separately, and then it tops the delicious filling, before being baked for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling hot. It might not be a super quick meal, but it surely is easy to make.
The recipe itself can be tweaked to your own liking and availability of ingredients. You can add or swap ingredients, without the end product being altered much. Apart from the veggies I used, you can also add celery, mushrooms, sweetcorn, chopped broccoli florets or anything else you have, either fresh or frozen.
For the mash topping I chose the regular potatoes, but the sweet potatoes can be used instead for a delicious Autumn touch, or a combination of regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
Any other kind of lentils can be used for this dish, I chose green lentils, and soaked them beforehand for about an hour, but brown, red or yellow lentils can be used too. If you choose the split lentils, these will have a more mushy texture and will cook a lot quicker.
- in a large pan, fry the onions on a low to medium heat until golden
- add the chopped garlic, bay leaves, carrots and peas and lentils, cover with vegetable stock/broth, and leave to cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender
- add the chopped tomatoes, and leave to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until you get a thicker sauce that coats the lentils
- add the tomato puree, season well with salt and pepper, and take it off the heat
- to make the mash, peel and chop 4 medium potatoes, and cover with salted water
- boil until the potatoes are tender, then drain the water, add the butter, cream and salt, and mash to a smooth texture
- transfer the lentil filling to a baking dish, and top with the mash
- beat an egg well, and brush the top of the pie with it
- bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling hot
I mentioned swapping the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes for an autumny and healthy touch. The sweet potatoes, as well, can be swapped for butternut squash, pumpkin or any other squashes, with the same delicious result.
The kids might like that version a lot better, given the natural sweetness that the sweet potatoes or squashes have.
I actually prefer the more original version, but then I am a massive fan or regular potatoes anyway. Mash is a regular side with us, since it goes so well with so many dishes. It's comforting, it's filling, and just perfect to me.
I also used it for my meat versions of this pie: Turkey Cottage Pie and Leftover Roast Beef Cottage Pie. If meat is not used, the terms cottage pie and shepherd's pie can become interchangeable. Shepherd's pie is usually made with lamb, whereas the cottage pie with beef, but also any other meat. Delicious, easy, a great family-favourite dish for every occasion.
Other lentil recipes
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Lentil Shepherd's Pie
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 carrots
- ½ cup peas
- 3 cups vegetable stock/broth
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400 ml, 13 oz)
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 medium potatoes
- a knob of butter
- 2 tablespoon double cream
- 1 egg for brushing the top
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Heat up the oil in a large cooking pan.
- Peel and chop the onion, and fry on a low to medium heat until golden, then add the peeled and chopped carrots and garlic, peas, lentils and bay leaves.
- Pour in the stock/broth, increase the heat to medium, cover the pan with a lid, and leave to cook until the lentils are tender, and the liquid is nearly absorbed.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and continue to cook until it thickens into a sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper, add the tomato puree, and give it a good stir.
- Remove from the heat, and transfer the lentil filling to an oven-proof dish.
- For the topping, peel and chop the potatoes into chunks, add them to a pan of salted water, and leave to cook until they are tender.
- Drain the water, add salt, butter and cream, and mash to a smooth texture.
- Top the lentils with the mash, brush with a beaten egg, and bake at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling hot.