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.