Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Prep time:
30 minutes
Cook time:
1 hour, 45 minutes

Makes plenty and what you don't serve can be frozen for quick meals later.


For the lentil sauce

For the topping


  1. To make the sauce, heat 50g butter in a pan, then gently fry 2 chopped onions, 4 diced carrots, 1 chopped head of celery and 4 finely chopped garlic cloves for 15 mins until soft and golden.
  2. Turn up the heat, add 200g sliced chestnut mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more.
  3. Stir in 2 bay leaves and 1 tbsp dried thyme, then add 500g green lentils. Pour over 100ml red wine and 1.7l vegetable stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage.
  4. Simmer for 40-50 mins until the lentils are very soft.
  5. Season to taste, take off heat, then stir in 3 tbsp tomato puree.
  6. While the lentils are cooking, tip 2kg floury potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 mins until tender. Drain well, mash with 85g butter and 100ml milk, then season with salt and pepper.
  7. To assemble the pies, divide the lentil mixture between all the dishes that you are using, then top with mash.
  8. Scatter over 50g grated cheddar and freeze for up to two months or if eating that day, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 30 mins until the topping is golden.


Cooking Instructions

For best results, defrost the prepared pies thoroughly before cooking as stated. The pies can also be cooked from frozen if short of time – first heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3, then cover the pie with foil and bake for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins (30 mins for individual pies) until completely soft when prodded with a knife. Increase the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, uncover, then continue to cook for 20 mins until golden on top and piping hot.


You could also use three cans of rinsed and drained green lentils for this – simply make the stock, then simmer them for just 10 minutes.

How to Freeze

If you have lots of pie dishes, then you can make the pies in a variety of sizes to suit different occasions, then freeze them. If you don’t have lots of dishes, then you can freeze the sauce, mash and cheese in separate freezer bags, then defrost and assemble when needed.

If You Want to Use a Slow Cooker

Fry off your onions, celery, carrots and garlic for 15 mins in a frying pan. Tip into your slow cooker with the mushrooms, herbs and lentils. Pour over the stock and wine, cover and cook on High for 5-6 hours. Meanwhile make the mashed potato according to step 6. Turn off the slow cooker, season and stir in the tomato puree. Continue from step 7, dividing the lentils between dishes, top with the mash and cheese and cook for 30 mins until piping hot.