Co-op Cooks with Marissa: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Co-op Cooks with Marissa: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Co-op Cooks

It has been a little chilly lately, the smell of fallen leaves is in the air and stores across the nation have started to stock their shelves with Christmas decorations, like it or not fall is here! Cozy sweaters, kitty snuggles, warm aesthetically pleasing cups of tea, and comfort food (of course) are just a few of my favorite fall things. And what better way to warm yourself up than making a tasty meal? The inspiration for this week’s Co-op Cooks comes from my wonderful mother who was recently disappointed to find her favorite quick dinner, a frozen vegetarian shepherd’s pie, out of stock. My solution? Obviously it was to make her a homemade shepherd’s pie instead!

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Samantha Seneviratne
A comforting and filling vegetarian take on a cold weather staple utilizing lentils.
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Main Course


Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2 Lbs Potatoes Peeled and Chopped
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetarian Parmesan Grated
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste


  • 3/4 Cup French Lentils Rinsed
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 3 1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth I used Better than Bouillon
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 8 Ounces Mushrooms Sliced (I used Shitake)
  • 1 Large Leek (white part only) Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Medium Carrots Peeled and Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas Thawed
  • 1-2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper



  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add potatoes and cook until tender. Strain.
  • Melt butter and combine with whole milk in a small bowl, set aside.
  • Mash Potatoes, stir in butter mixture and sour cream until just combined.
  • Add 1/2 of the shredded parmesan, stir, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.


  • Give your lentils a quick rinse, while you bring 2 cups broth and thyme to a simmer.
  • Add lentils to the broth and cook on low, partially covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Set cooked lentils aside.


  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender and golden brown 8-10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat, add carrots, leek, garlic and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper before adding tomato paste stirring to combine, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour into the pan, cook for one minute before adding the remaining 1 1/2 cups of broth along with the cooked lentils and frozen peas. Cook on low until mixture thickens.
  • Remove thyme sprigs and stir in lemon juice.
  • Transfer mixture to a 3 quart casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
  • Let cool 15 minutes before serving.


Line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil and/or a cookie sheet to catch any filling that may bubble over the sides of the casserole dish. 
This recipe can be made vegan! Use dairy free butter, homemade or store bought vegan parmesan, dairy free milk, etc. (Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe | Minimalist Baker Recipes)
I think this recipe is tasty as is but could also easily accommodate more spice. Experiment with some other spices, Herbes de Provence may be a nice addition. Have fun with it!
Original Recipe: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – NYT Cooking (nytimes.com)
Keyword Comfort Food, Meatless, Vegetarian

Look at that scrumptious transformation! Although this recipe may look intimidating it’s actually a relatively easy dish to make. The most time consuming component is the peeling and boiling of the potatoes for the topping. I absolutely love thyme and was in heaven with all the savory aromas wafting through my home as I simmered the lentils on my little stovetop. But what made this recipe a keeper was the enthusiastic approval expressed by both my mother and boyfriend when they had a bowl for dinner.

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