The standard shepherd’s pie usually involves meat—in fact, the original dish revolved around pieces of lamb. We thought this cold-weather favorite could be just as deliciously comforting in vegetarian form. Our irresistible veggie version achieves that savory flavor and hearty texture with lentils, mushrooms, and carrots, topped with creamy mashed potatoes that turn perfectly, ever so slightly crispy in the oven.
The lentils will cook a bit more in Steps 5 and 6, so they should still be firm and not quite tender yet.
Stir the vegetables constantly to prevent burning.
½ cup green lentils
10 ounces carrots
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms
2 scallions, divided
1 yellow onion
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes
2 packets unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon shiitake mushroom powder
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces vegetable stock
1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water + more for boiling potatoes
6″ small pot with lid
8″ medium pot
potato masher (optional)
10″ medium high-sided ovenproof pan
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small pot, combine lentils, 2 cups water, and a pinch salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until almost tender, about 15 minutes (see Recipe Tip). Drain and set aside.
While lentils cook, rinse carrots, then halve lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼-inch half-moons. Remove and discard mushroom stems, then wipe caps clean with a damp paper towel and roughly chop. Rinse scallions, then trim and discard roots and thinly slice, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens. Peel onion and cut into small dice.
Peel potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice, and place in a medium pot. Cover with cold water by 2 inches and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until tender when pierced with a knife tip, 10-12 minutes. Drain and return to pot, off heat. Add butter and heavy cream and, using a potato masher or fork, mash until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside to cool.
While potatoes boil, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a medium high-sided ovenproof pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add carrots, scallion whites and light greens, and onion, and cook until carrots are soft, about 7 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add spice mix and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are browned, about 4 minutes (see Recipe Tip).
Stir tomato paste and Worcestershire into vegetables to combine, 1-2 minutes. Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium. Simmer until liquid is evaporated by ⅔, about 5 minutes. Add lentils and season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and spread mashed potatoes on top of vegetables in an even layer.
Transfer shepherd’s pie to oven and bake until potatoes are browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and divide between serving plates. Garnish with scallion dark greens and dig in!