Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

5 from 351 votes

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

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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!

Small plate of the vegetarian shepards pie after being served

As the weather gets 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 cooked in 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 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.

  1. Cook the onions with olive oil until golden, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low, and add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and thyme. You want to continue cooking everything until the mushrooms shrink and the carrots soften.
  3. Now you’re ready for the tomato paste and the quinoa. You’ll only cook them lightly until the tomato paste sticks to the vegetables.
  4. 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.
  5. Give everything a good mix to combine.
  6. Layer the mashed potatoes on top of the filling very carefully.
Collage showing process shots for how to make the recipe in a cast iron skillet

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).

Spreading the potato crust over the pie in the cast iron skillet

When it comes out of the oven, it will be all bubbly, golden, and smoking hot! Definitely let it rest so it all sets and the mixture sticks together well before cutting into it.Final Shepards Pie when it comes out of the oven

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 much easier to cook the filling in the skillet, top it with the potato crust and bake in the skillet, instead of 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.
Small plate of the vegetarian shepards pie after being served

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:

Close of the plate and bite being taken out.

More vegetarian dinner 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

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
5 from 351 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 259
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins


Potato Crust

  • 2 large russet potatoes peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Vegetarian Filling

  • 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.



Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last up to 4 days in the fridge. To reheat, place in the microwave for a minute or in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes.
Freezing Instructions: 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.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • 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 😉 


Calories: 259kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 707mg, Potassium: 804mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 3998IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Small plate of the vegetarian shepards pie after being served

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  1. Made this awesome, easy dish tonight. I had made the potatoes ahead of time, which I think helped this dish go together so quickly. The flavor was amazing and my family and I loved it! Will make this again for sure. Thank you for such a great recipe.

  2. So so tasty! I love the combination of flavors but i never get the right texture! This last time it turned out as a soup actually but still so yummy! Thank you

    1. I am glad you enjoy it, Malak! It sounds like there may be too much liquid getting added or that the veggies aren’t cooking down long enough to release moisture. Can you tell me a lot more about your process? I’d love to help you troubleshoot so we can get you to the right constancy.

  3. I’m a university student and also vegetarian(mostly) and I made this dish tonight! I added some plant based ground beef to it and it turned out really well! Now I have a delicious meal to last me the whole week! Great recipe!:)

      1. I’m allergic to mushrooms (as well as peanuts, all seafood, molds and gluten). What could I substitute for mushrooms.

        1. Unfortunately I have yet to try this recipe with a mushroom substitute. Maybe you can try lentils, cauliflower, or walnuts? Or maybe a combination of those? If you’re open to making it not vegetarian, you can also use ground meat.

  4. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! I made it as is without changing anything, my whole family loved it, and will definitely make it again. Thank you so much for the great recipe!

  5. Hi

    Can I half this recipe? I’m only accommodating 1 pax for dinner.

    & can I use red lenthils instead of quinoa?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Yes, you can adjust the serving size to three to half the recipe. I have yet to try it with lentils, but let me know how that goes if you give it a try!

  6. This recipe is awesome. However, as an Englishman I feel compelled to correct one piece of information. Shepherds would not kill their own flock. For that reason, traditional Shepherd’s Pie is mad from ground beef. Cottage Pie is made from Lamb. For the mashed potatoes, I would recommend Butter and Cream (vs yoghurt). That said, I appreciate the vegetarian recipe so that I can accommodate the vegetarians at the table. Thanks!

    1. Sorry, but I think you have that mixed up.
      The Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is a British comfort food classic loved by all. This is a classic recipe using ground lamb cooked with vegetables and Guinness for an extra flavor boost, topped with fluffy mashed potato and baked. The same recipe using ground beef is called Cottage Pie.

  7. Oops, meant to ask, what is a serving size? Trying to figure out just how much damage we did after eating almost the entire pot. I still cant’t get over how good this was. I’m an avid meat eater and may have liked this even better than a traditional one.

  8. This was soooo good! I followed the recipe almost exactly except I added a TBSP of Worcestershire along with the veggie broth. I also detest making mashed potatoes so used Whole Foods prepared ones. Anyway, it was so good my husband and I ate almost the whole thing. So much for having leftovers the rest of the week. I truly don’t understand how something so easy to make can taste so good!

  9. I made this tonight and it was amazing!!! New family favorite. It’s so comforting and delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  10. Wow—this was really delicious! I added cheddar cheese after reading the comments and it was everything I needed! Thank you for this recipe!

  11. My family of meat eaters didn’t miss the meat at all – this was very good! Made exactly as is. Calories are really low given how filling it is. Will definitely make this one again!

  12. Loved this recipe. The mashed potatoes were rich and we liked the broiled crunchy top! I added a little cauliflower to clean out my fridge and would probably double the thyme next time…. Highly recommend this.

    1. You can actually leave the mushrooms out, but if you wanted to add more vegetables to it, you can try sundried tomatoes, eggplant or zucchini!

  13. I made this last night, and it was amazing! i made it exactly like the recipe and will be making it again, without changing anything. It is perfect as it is!!

  14. I added lentils and celery to mine and WOW it was so great and filling!!!! I truly recommend, amazing recipe.

  15. This is crazy good! I used 4 Tbs of ketchup instead of tomato paste and about 2 Tbs of red lentils out of seeing how much liquid there was and having a little less mushrooms than called for and this was so good! I even forgot the salt for the filling so just sprinkled a little on top with pepper and it tasted even better. I also broiled it with some cheese on top. I will definitely be making this again as it was so easy too 🙂 Make this ASAP trust me it’s worth it.

    1. Aww so glad that you enjoyed it so much!! Love your substitution ideas and the cheese on top!! Yummy!! Thank you!

    1. Yes, you can use cooked quinoa, the 2 tablespoons of dried quinoa will triple in size. So they end up being between 1/3 and 1/2 cup cooked quinoa. Hope that helps!

  16. This was soooo good, it served 6 but the 3 of us all wanted seconds. Not only this but it cost $12 dollars and I have enough ingredients to make another. Perfect during a fast too, just what room needed

    1. That’s so great to hear! It’s amazing how filling, affordable and tasty the recipe is and I’m happy you noticed that too. Thank you!

  17. Love that it’s so hearty but vegetarian. It’s the best shepherd’s pie I tasted.
    Thanks for all your healthy vegetarian recipes.