This warming recipe is a comforting, vegan take on the traditional Shepherd’s Pie. It combines the rich umami flavors of mushrooms and tamari with the hearty texture of fiber-packed lentils. Fluffy mashed potatoes crown this delightful winter dish, but you could easily substitute with mashed cauliflower, turnips, or even add some greens like spinach to make a verdant and nutritious topping! I love to prepare the dish in advance, freeze it, and have it on hand for evenings when I crave something cozy.
1 cup French lentils, rinsed
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk, divided
1 small cooking onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced mixed herbs, such as sage, rosemary or thyme.
2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce or Coconut Aminos
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup Vegetable Stock
In a medium sized saucepan, add lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Lightly wipe out the saucepan. Add the diced potatoes, cover the potatoes with cold water, and add salt until the water tastes salty. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then simmer until very tender, about 18-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
In a large bowl, combine the drained potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the non-dairy milk, and plenty of salt & pepper. Mash the potatoes with a masher until the potatoes have a mostly smooth texture. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with olive oil and set it on a baking sheet.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and saute until slightly soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Mince the garlic cloves and add them to the pot along with the herbs. Stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir. Season the mushrooms with pepper, then stir and cook until the mushrooms shave reduced in volume by at least a third.
Add the cooked lentils to the pot. Stir the mushroom and lentil mixture and then add the balsamic vinegar, tamari, and tomato paste to the pot. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt and more pepper if needed.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir. Bring the mushrooms to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for five minutes.
Pour the mushrooms and lentil mixture into the prepared glass baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, and gently spread over the mushroom mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Drizzle the pie with olive oil and sprinkle with some black pepper. Carefully transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling and the potatoes are lightly browned for about 20-25 minutes. Carefully remove the Vegan Winter Shepards pie from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two before serving. Enjoy your cozy meal!