Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils and Mushrooms

Hearty lentil and mushroom shepherds pie

This vegan shepherd’s pie recipe, richly flavored with lentils and mushrooms, can only be described as a deep dish of comfort. It’s a bit of a project but not at all difficult, and definitely worth it for a special occasion or holiday meal. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas! Recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Susan Voisin. 

4.8 from 12 reviews
Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe type: Vegan main dish
Cuisine: Comfort / holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 or more
  • 8 large or 10 medium potatoes (Yukon gold works well)
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or other vegan butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk or other nondairy milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • Two 15-ounce cans lentils with their liquid
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine, optional
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend (such as Frontier or Mrs. Dash)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 8 to 10 ounces baby spinach or arugula leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Stir the vegan butter into the potatoes until melted, then add the rice milk and mash until fluffy. Season with salt, cover, and set aside until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
  5. Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the optional wine, soy sauce, seasoning blend, thyme, and pepper. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
  6. Add the spinach, a little at a time, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
  7. Lightly oil a 2-quart (preferably round) casserole dish, or two deep-dish pie plates.
  8. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. If using two pie plates, divide each mixture evenly between them.
  9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.

Note: I call for canned lentils here to cut down on the amount of cooking and work, but if you want to cook lentils from scratch, by all means! You’ll need 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked lentils (start with 1 1/2 cups uncooked to make sure you have enough. Different varieties of lentils cook swell to varying degrees).

vegan lentil and mushroom shepherd's pie

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  • Reply
    March 17, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Hi. First cooked this recipe for our company Christmas party. Which was a big step because I had only been there for one week. Today is St. Patrick’s day and I was asked to make the recipe again for our potluck. Yea! I cannot find canned lentils. I substitute Amy’s lentil soup. It works well.
    I tried to give it 5 stars but they were not cooperating

  • Reply
    Barbara Lindsey
    March 20, 2017 at 12:42 am

    This looks brilliant, will be trying for dinner tonight. Thank you for a lovely recipe.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I tried this recipe and followed all the steps and added all the ingredients as per but mine came out very mushy and didn’t hold it’s shape at all. still a very nice flavor but I’d like it better if it was a bit more firm. any suggestions as to how I could firm it up?

    Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    October 7, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    It was awesome! One thing, I cooked my own lentils instead of canned, and they absorbed all the water, so I wasn’t sure how much liquid would equal the amount that would have been in the canned ones. But I had some veggie broth handy and just added a little until it seemed ok. The cornstarch thickened it to the perfect consistency. It was a bit of a project, especially peeling and cutting all those potatoes haha, but totally worth it! Delicious supper 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Lee Brennan
    February 21, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    What is the oven temp for this recipe?

    • Reply
      February 21, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Laura — as you’ll see in the instructions, it’s 400º F.Enjoy!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    So glad you enjoyed this, Katherine!

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