This healthy vegan lentil shepherd's pie has so many layers of flavor from sweet roasted sweet potatoes to rich tomato flavored brown lentils! This is perfect to serve at families' or friends' gatherings and also one of my favorite meals to batch cook and to freeze for another day!
When I initially started batch cooking, shepherd's pie was one of the first recipes I made and I was so surprised to see how good it was even after freezing and defrosting it! You don't even need to make pasta or rice to go with it, you simply take the airtight container from the freezer, defrost it over night or in the microwave and enjoy!
It was also one of the first recipes I served to my friends and that ended up with them telling me to start a food blog to share my recipes with the world!
Brown lentils - for this recipe, you will need cooked or canned brown lentils. They have this earthy flavor that combines so well with the mashed sweet potato and the tomato sauce (kind of like in this lentil bolognese)
Tomato paste - when this is cooked down, it gets a much stronger flavor perfect to bring a ton of flavor to this dish.
Spices - the spices used in this dish are my favorite combo for cold days and comforting food!
Red bell pepper - the bell pepper has such a deep flavor that combines perfectly with this dish.
Sweet potatoes - to make the mashed sweet potatoes, you can bake them peeled or unpeeled. I prefer unpeeled but, as you can see below, I have also tried with peeled sweet potato and it is also good!
The complete list of ingredients is located in the recipe card below.
Step by step instructions
Before you start cooking and to make this recipe easier, start by chopping all your veggies and gathering all the ingredients.
For the mashed potatoes
Start off by preheating your oven to 220ºC, this will ensure the sweet potato will caramelize and also cook really quickly. Next, cube the sweet potatoes. Transfer them to a baking tray and drizzle some olive oil, and add a pinch of black pepper and salt. Transfer the baking tray to the oven when it has preheated. Bake for 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
Once, the potatoes are baked, reduce the oven temperature to 200ºC and transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl. Mash with plant-based milk, black pepper and salt.
For the lentil filling
While the potatoes are roasting, heat the olive oil in a pan, on medium heat, and, when hot, add the tomato paste, cumin, turmeric and smoked paprika and fry for 2 minutes. Add the sliced onion, salt and black pepper and cook on medium heat for 6 minutes . Add the minced garlic and fry for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the red bell pepper, soy sauce, can of chopped tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, water and canned or cooked lentils. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Assembling the shepherd's pie
Transfer the lentil filling mixture to a baking dish. Spoon and carefully spread out the mashed sweet potatoes on top. Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C or until the lentils start to bubble. When this happens, turn on the grill option of the oven and cook until golden brown.
Tips and variations
Types of potatoes - This recipe also works perfectly with a 50/50 mixture of white potatoes and sweet potatoes or even just with white potatoes.
How to make this recipe quicker:
- Start by chopping all your vegetables (onion, garlic, sweet potato, and red bell pepper) before starting to cook.
- While the sweet potatoes cook in the oven, prep the lentil filling so that it is ready when the potatoes are ready to be mashed.
- Cube the potatoes so that they bake quicker.
How to spread the potatoes - The secret to this is to add one tablespoon at a time and spread it nicely and slowly.
I love this by itself as it has so many different flavors but, if you'd like, you can have this with a salad like an avocado mango salad or simply with some rocket (arugula).
How to store it
This lasts up to 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
How to freeze it
Absolutely! I freeze it everytime on an airtight container.
How to reheat it
To reheat, you can either bake it at 180ºC until warm or, you can always opt for the easiest way, heat it up on the microwave! It still works perfectly.
If frozen, let it defrost completely before reheating.
Can shepherd's pie be made ahead of time?
You can make the lentil mixture in advance and when you would like to have shepherd's pie either bake or boil sweet potatoes, cover the lentil mixture, bake and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
This shepherd's pie is healthy and so delicious!
I have tried once shepherd's pie with chickpeas and it also works perfectly with them!
My advice is, if you want to make this in advance, you could bake the sweet potatoes in advance and make the lentil filling and when you want to make the shepherd's pie, simply assemble it.
If you try this recipe let me know!
Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @nutsandpumpkin . I absolutely love seeing and sharing your recreations! Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Finally, are you on Pinterest? Why not save this photo below to your boards so you can come back and try it another time!
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Vegan Lentil Shepperd's Pie
- Baking dish
- Baking tray
- 1 kg sweet potato cubed
- pinch of salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 100 mL soy milk
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 red onions sliced
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 500 g cooked/canned brown lentils
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 300 ml water
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
- Add cubed sweet potato to one large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, black pepper and salt. Toss to combine. Bake for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender and slightly caramelized.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, and transfer them to a bowl. Mash with a potato masher and mix with plant-based milk, salt and black pepper.
- While the potatoes are roasting, heat the olive oil in a pan, on medium heat, and, when hot, add the tomato paste, cumin, turmeric and smoked paprika and fry for 2 minutes. Add the sliced onion, salt and black pepper and cook on medium heat for 6 minutes . Add the minced garlic and fry for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the red bell pepper, soy sauce, can of chopped tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, and canned or cooked lentils. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Assembling the shepherd's pie
- Transfer the lentil filling mixture to a baking dish. Spoon and carefully spread out the Mashed Potato Topping on top. Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C or until the lentils start to buble. When this happens, turn on the grill option of the oven and cook until golden brown.