Easy and Cozy Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
Jake and I have been trying to reduce our meat consumption. As a result, we’ve really had to step up our vegetarian meal-prep game. I absolutely love meal prepping complete meals so that all I have to do is reheat them with very little clean-up. I decided to rethink our Shepherd’s Pie recipe (technically Cottage Pie recipe since it uses ground beef) and make it vegetarian. This recipe is really easy to make vegan as well if you use non-dairy milk and butter in the mashed potatoes. I love that you can add other veggies that you have around in the house as well, from frozen peas to diced zucchini and even sweet potatoes.
This recipe is gluten-free.
Key Ingredients for Base:
- Lentils: I prefer using green lentils, but you can also use brown lentils. Red or black lentils will not work in this recipe.
- Mushrooms: I like using a combination of Baby Bella and shitake mushrooms for this recipe, but I can’t imagine other mushrooms not working here.
- Carrots: I like using white or orange carrots as purple carrots can dye the dish purple. I learned this when using purple carrots to make an accidentally purple vegetable broth.
- Onions: My go-to onion is a yellow onion, but you can also use a white onion.
Key Ingredients for Topping:
- Potatoes: I prefer to use Yukon gold or Russett potatoes
- Butter: Optional, but makes it extra creamy and delicious.
- Milk: Optional, I tend to add heavy cream or whole milk, but any type of unflavored milk will add a lot to the mashed potato topping. You can also use a plant-based milk.
- Cheese: Optional, I love adding either shredded cheddar or shredded parmasean to the top of the mashed potato topping once the pies are assembled.
Freezing Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
I like using a combination of our 1-cup and 2-cup Souper Cubes molds to assemble and freeze these. Typically, the 1-cup portion is enough for lunch and the 2-cup portion is enough for dinner.
To assemble for the freezer stash, I first fill each well half-way with the mushroom-lentil base. Then, I scoop up the mashed potato topping on top and sprinkle some cheddar or parmesan cheese. Once the wells are filled, I place the Souper Cubes trays in the freezer. You can leave the Veggie Shepherd’s Pie in the trays or pop out and place in freezer-safe bags.
Tip: You can assemble the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie in two parts. There have been times when I’m too tired to make both the mushroom-lentil base and the mashed potato topping. What I’ll end up doing is make the base first, scoop it in the Souper Cubes trays, freeze it… and then when I’m ready to make the mashed potato topping, I just scoop it on top of the frozen base and place back in the freezer.
Reheating Frozen Veggie Shepherd’s Pie
If you have time or remember, I always recommend letting the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for at least an hour. This will cut down the cooking/reheating time. If you forget to do this, that’s no problem.
There’s two ways to reheat your frozen Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie:
- Place in a microwave-safe bowl with cover and microwave for 5 minutes. Then microwave in 1-minute intervals until hot. You can place under the broiler in an oven for a few minutes if you’d like to crisp up the mashed potato topping.
- Place in an oven-safe dish and bake in a 350F oven (covered) for ~35 minutes, or until you can easily piece a knife or fork through the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. The bake time will depend on whether or not you thawed the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. Once it is cooked through, turn on the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye after 3 minutes so that it doesn’t burn.
Easy & Cozy Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
8 2-cup portions OR 16 1-cup portions
Michelle from Souper Cubes®
Looking for the perfect comfort food for your next dinner? Try this cozy vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe that can fill any sized appetite.
¼ cup olive oil
20oz mushrooms, sliced*
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1lb green lentils, rinsed
¼ cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: ½ cup red wine
4lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (we prefer Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes)
8+ cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 cup milk of choice, 1 8oz. stick of butter (we use unsalted), ½ cup shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese
1-cup Souper Cubes Freezing Trays
2-cup Souper Cubes Freezing Trays
For the mushroom-lentil base
For the potato topping:
For Freezer Meal Prep
Prepare Mushroom-Lentil Base:
In a large pot over medium-high heat, place 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, place sliced mushrooms in the hot oil. Make sure to not overcrowd the pot. Once the mushrooms have started to brown (about 3-4 minutes per batch), place aside in a bowl and add the next batch of mushrooms. Make sure there’s always olive oil at the bottom of the pot between adding a new batch. Add olive oil as needed. I typically sauté the mushrooms in three batches.
Once you’ve browned all the mushrooms and placed them in a bowl, add 1 chopped onion and 4 diced carrots to the pot. Sauté for 6-8 minutes over medium heat, until onions are translucent, and carrots have softened.
Add the browned mushrooms back to the pot. Then add 6 minced garlic cloves and sauté for 30 seconds. If using optional ½ cup red wine, add to the pot and cook until the red wine has cooked through. Then add ¼ cup tomato paste and stir together. Cook until the bottom of the pot has begun to brown, about 1-2 minutes.
Add 1lb rinsed green lentils, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then let simmer over a medium-low heat (with lid on) until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the lentils, about 25 minutes.
Prepare Mashed Potato Topping:
In a large pot, place 4lbs of peeled and roughly chopped potatoes. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Season with salt to preference. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer potatoes until they’re cooked through and you can easily pierce them with a fork or knife. About 16-18 minutes.
Once potatoes are cooked through, use a colander to drain out the water. Return potatoes to the pot and mash together.
If using optional 1 cup milk and ½ cup of butter, add to the pot and mash until thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Assemble Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pies
Fill up dish halfway with mushroom-lentil base. Then spoon mashed potatoes on top of the mushroom-lentil base.
If using optional shredded cheddar cheese or parmesan, sprinkle on top of mashed potatoes
Serving Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pies
If Serving Immediately: place under the broiler in the oven for 3-4 minutes so that the mashed potato crisps up. Be sure to keep an eye on the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie after the 3 min mark so that it doesn’t burn.
If Freezing: Place Souper Cubes® lid on top of the tray and place in the freezer. When you’re ready to reheat, pop out Veggie Shepherd’s Pie cube or keep in your Souper Cubes® tray and bake in a 350F oven until warm. You can also microwave until hot if you prefer. Reheating time depends on if you’ve let the Veggie Shepherd’s Pie thaw. From frozen, it takes about 40 minutes in a 350F oven. Before serving, place under the broiler in the oven for 3-4 minutes.
Note: *For our mushrooms, we prefer to use a combination of shitake and baby Bella mushrooms. In this last batch, we used 12oz of shitake and 8oz of baby Bella mushrooms.