Plant-based cooking can be super challenging with recipes that call for a long list of ingredients and have many steps. It doesn’t have to be though. As long as you are willing to take a few simple short cuts and use a few canned/boxed ingredients, your life can still be easy and your food still delicious. This Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is just that: easy AND delicious! This is a recipe for which you won’t even have to chop a single vegetable!
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Shepherd’s pie was always one of my favorite comfort foods growing up. I loved the creamy potatoes and savory vegetables but honestly – even back before my plant-eating days – I would pick the meat out and throw it in the trash when my parents weren’t looking. Shepherd’s pie has been around for centuries. According to Jamie Oliver’s page, it should only be called shepherd’s pie if it contains lamb and cottage pie with any other meat. And meatless pie should be called ”Shepherdless Pie”…whatever. I might have rather called it “Gardener’s Pie” or “Kindness Pie”; but then you might not have been able to find it when you googled! Let’s just call this a really tasty easy shepherd’s pie with filled with good-for-you vegetables and lentils!
For another really tasty comfort dish made with lentils, try my Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole. So good!
Start with a few simple ingredients. I like to buy my lentils already steamed. They can often be found in the produce section of the grocery store. If you aren’t able to find pre-cooked lentils, they are actually pretty easy to make on the stove-top. Follow the package directions for a yield of 2 cups, cooked.
As promised, you won’t have to chop a single vegetable for this recipe! That’s right, just use a 16-ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables and dehydrated minced onions. (If you decide to use a fresh onion rather than the dehydrated, finely mince 1/2 of a large onion. You will then need to saute in a little veggie broth to soften it. It will no soften during the short oven cooking time.)
Start by adding the thyme, and arrowroot starch to the veggie broth and stir well. Pour the entire amount into a non-stick saute pan.
Add the dried minced onion and stir around for a minute so that the onion begins to rehydrate. Then add the vegetables on top and sauté for about 5 minutes in the vegetable broth so that the vegetables have mostly thawed and the mixture is bubbly and has begun to thicken. Add in the cooked lentils. This is the time to add a little more salt to taste if desired.
Pour into a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside. This is really the best size pan for the recipe.
Some people would shudder at the idea of using potato flakes to make the mashed potatoes. Others would shudder at the thought of actually boiling the potatoes and mashing them. On days when I don’t have a lot of time or patience, I definitely go with the boxed potato flakes. By adding nutritional yeast to the potato flakes, you get an almost cheesy flavor.
I basically follow the recipe on the back of the box for 8 servings of potatoes. I sub in veggie broth for water and plant milk and vegan butter for the dairy. I also add in some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
When I cook this recipe for Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, I do not add salt to the potatoes. The nutritional yeast and buttery spread make it plenty salty for my family. Do taste though, and add salt if desired.
After you mix your potatoes, carefully spread them on top of the vegetable/lentil mixture. Sprinkle a little paprika on top and cook in a preheated 375° oven for about 20 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and the potatoes are slightly browned on top.
This Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie works great for meal prep. It only makes four though, so double it and cook in a larger baking pan if you will want more.
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Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Vegetable/ Lentil Mixture
- 1¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch can sub cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons Dehydrated Onion Flakes
- 1 16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 cups cooked lentils brown or green
- salt to taste
- 3 cup vegetable broth
- 4 Tablespoons vegan butter leave out if trying to eat oil-free
- 1⅔ cup unsweetened plant milk
- 2⅔ cup potato flakes
- 6 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Whisk arrowroot (or cornstarch) into the veggie broth. Stir in thyme.
- Pour into a non-stick saute pan and stir in the dehydrated onions and frozen vegetables.
- Heat through till vegetables are thawed and the mixture is thick and bubbly - about 5 minutes.
- Add cooked lentils and taste. Add in some salt if desired.
- Turn into a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside while preparing potatoes.
- Bring vegetable broth and vegan butter to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Add potato flakes, nutritional yeast, and plant milk. Stir until well mixed. Taste and add salt if desired.
- Gently spoon mashed potatoes onto the vegetable/lentil layer and spread evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle a little sweet paprika on top and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes or until heated through and potatoes have firmed up and slightly browned on top.