Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie is a meatless take on a classic comfort dish. Swap the meat for mushrooms and quinoa & it all gets smothered in a rich gravy sauce
If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly meal, this Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is a meatless version of the classic comfort dish. Instead of meat, I use mushrooms and quinoa, load it up with colorful vegetables and cook that all in a rich gravy sauce. It’s an excellent balanced meal, and it’s also a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from the holidays!
As the weather starts to get cooler, my mind turns to comfort food, but that doesn’t have to mean unhealthy! This vegetarian shepherd’s pie is full of the good stuff and so satisfying to eat! And if you are a fan of savory pies like me, be sure to check out my Broccoli & Cheese Hand Pies.
What is shepherd’s pie?
Shepherd’s pie is a dish that originated in Britain. Traditionally it is a pie made of ground lamb and vegetables that are cooked in a gravy. The filling is then topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.
My vegetarian version of this classic savory pie substitutes the ground lamb with mushrooms and quinoa, so that the dish is still hearty, and full of protein and flavor.
How to make vegetarian shepherd’s pie
Start by making mashed potatoes. You can follow my easy mashed potatoes recipe below, which is pretty similar to my Healthy Mashed Potatoes recipe, or you can make your own. Then you’re ready to make the filling.
- Cook the onions with olive oil until golden, about 5-7 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots and thyme. You want to continue cooking everything until the mushrooms shrink and the carrots soften.
- Now you’re ready for the tomato paste and the quinoa. You’ll only cook them lightly until the tomato paste begins to stick to the vegetables.
- Then add the vegetable stock and the frozen peas. They don’t need much cooking, and adding them at the end preserves their bright green color.
- Give everything a good mix to combine.
- Layer the mashed potatoes on top of the filling very carefully.
Continue spreading the mashed potatoes, leaving the sides empty. Don’t worry if some of the sauce gets on the potatoes. You’ve done your best, and the presentation will be tasty regardless (thanks to that butter in the potatoes).
When it comes out of the oven, it will be all bubbly and golden and smoking hot! Definitely let it rest so it all sets and the mixture sticks together well before cutting into it.
Tips for making vegetarian shepherd’s pie
- Use leftover mashed potatoes to make it even faster. That saves a few steps from boiling the potatoes, and mashing them. And it saves you time washing an extra pot. Just be sure to warm the mashed potatoes first because it’s hard to spread cold mashed potatoes! You can also use Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes as the topping.
- Use an oven-safe skillet if you have one. That makes it so much easier to cook the filling in the skillet, top it with the potato crust and bake in the skillet, as opposed to transferring the mixture from a pan to a casserole dish.
- Cook the filling in layers for best flavor. It’s tempting to combine all the steps together and cook everything at once and then add the mashed potatoes on top. But cooking them step by step allows for a more rich and robust taste that develops with each layer.
- Make it vegan by changing the mashed potatoes recipe. The filling itself is completely vegan, and the mashed potatoes can easily be made vegan by using vegan butter or olive oil and dairy-free milk instead of the Greek yogurt.
Frequently asked questions
How long to bake shepherd’s pie?
Once you have made the filling and spread over the mashed potatoes, the pie will take around 25 to 30 minutes to bake in a pre heated oven. The pie is ready to take out of the oven just as the potatoes start to brown. You can finish the pie by placing it under the broiler for a few minutes until the potato topping is golden brown.
Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?
Vegetarian shepherd’s pie is a great freezer meal! After baking, let the dish cool completely to room temperature and cover it tightly in foil. You can freeze the pie for up to 3 months. You can then cook the pie straight from frozen, keep it covered with the foil and cook for about an hour at 350ºF. If you’re freezing it though, I would recommend cooking in a casserole dish and not a cast-iron pan.
What goes with shepherd’s pie?
Vegetarian shepherd’s pie is a meal on its own. So there’s no need to serve it with any sides since it’s well balanced with protein, vegetables and carbohydrates. However you can definitely serve with a salad or with grilled, sautéed, roasted or steamed veggies! Try it with:
More vegetarian dinner recipes:
- Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Indian Cauliflower Curry
- Cheese Stuffed Shells
- Risotto Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Grain Bowl Recipes
This is such a cozy comforting recipe that’s perfect for colder months when you’re looking for something hearty and healthy. I love that it’s made without meat and still has 9 grams of protein per serving with rich and savory flavor. You won’t actually miss the meat in this Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie!
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
- 2 large russet potatoes peeled and quartered
- ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion medium diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 16 ounces mushrooms chopped
- 2 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme more for serving
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa
- 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine potatoes and water in a pot and bring to a boil, heavily season with salt, cook until very tender, strain and place back into the pot. Add yogurt and butter and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a cast iron pan or oven-safe pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Cook the onions until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots and thyme, and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and quinoa, cook until the tomato paste begins to stick to the vegetables. Then add the vegetable stock and peas and stir to combine. Carefully place mashed potatoes on top of the filling.
- Place the pie in the oven on the middle rack and bake until the potatoes begin to brown, about 25-30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes until the potatoes become golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving.
- Instead of quinoa, you can use any other grains or any type of flour.
- Instead of greek yogurt, you can use sour cream or milk or any other dairy or non-dairy substitute for making mashed potatoes.
- You can replace any vegetables that don't excite you 😉