Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

For most large gatherings and holidays vegetarians have to suck it up – they’re lucky if there are enough sides at a meal to put three colors on a plate.  This dish adds variety to the meal and doubles as a main course for vegetarians or a side for meatetarians.

great as a main course or side dish

If you’re cooking for vegans, you can substitute vegetable stock and olive oil for butter and cream in the mashed potatoes.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (serves 6 as a main course)


  • ½ cup lentils
  • ½ cup rice
  • 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Place lentils, rice and stock in a large pot.  Season with salt and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce to a low simmer and cover with a tight lid.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the liquid absorbed.  Add water if the stock’s absorbed before the lentils are tender.

While the rice and lentils are cooking, add olive oil to a skillet and warm over medium heat.  Add the remaining ingredients (carrots, onion, celery and oregano) season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the onion and celery become translucent.  Then remove from the heat and set aside.

Transfer the lentil/rice mixture to a large casserole and fold in the sautéed vegetables.

Mashed Potatoes (2 plus cups)

  • 2 large russet potatoes, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a quart of salted water to boil and add the potatoes and garlic.  Reduce to a low boil and cook until the potato offers no resistance when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.   Using a slotted spoon, remove the potato and garlic to a mixing bowl.  Add the butter, cream and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and mash to desired texture (some like it smooth, others chunky).

Place the mashed potatoes on top of the lentil base and, using the back of a wet spoon, smooth them out.  Finish by browning for 5 minutes in a hot oven.  If prepared in advance, this can be heated for 20 minutes in a 350°F oven or placed in a microwave for 5 minutes.

prepare this in advance as a time saver for large gatherings

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Filed under Main Courses, Sides, Vegetarian

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