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Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Servings 6


For Filling

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked green lentils (or canned green or brown lentils and skip water)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp minced parsley plus more for topping

For topping

  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion and celery and sauté until soft.  Add garlic and cook a minute more, then stir in carrots, lentils, pepper and water. (Salt is intentionally left out at this point, it prevents legumes from softening.)
  • Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, mostly covered, until very tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in cream and milk, then season with salt and stir in parsley. Add a splash of water if the mixture is dry - you want it quite saucy.
  • Cook the potatoes in salted, boiling water until tender, then mash with milk and 3 tbsp butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spread lentils into a 2-litre (2-quart) casserole dish.  Spread the mashed potatoes on top. Dot with last bit of butter, then bake at 375 until golden on top, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with more parsley, if desired.