Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
After making (and devouring) my Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes last week, I was really craving some shepherd’s pie. But, because of the strict budget I’m working with, I decided to make a vegetarian shepherd’s Pie. This warm and comforting dish is still full of deep and rich flavor, even without the meat, and I love all the color and texture that the vegetable medley brings to the plate.
To make up for the meat I made sure to use plenty of vegetables, including mushrooms, which give a nice “meaty” umami flavor. I also added in a cup of cooked lentils for bulk and extra protein. Lentils are great because they cook super fast, have a small shape, and a mild flavor that helps them blend really well into recipes. I often use them half and half with meat to stretch my dollar, but that same technique also works well with vegetables. If you’re not a fan of lentils, no worries. You can just leave them out and you’ll still have a delicious and hearty straight vegetable filling for your vegetarian shepherd’s pie.
I made a second slightly smaller batch of my Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes to top the pie, but you can use any type of mashed potatoes you like. Because the filling for the vegetarian shepherd’s pie is slightly more time consuming, taking a short cut on the mashed potato topping is a good way to save some time and effort. You can even make them the day ahead (like I did). Just be sure to warm them up before trying to spread them onto the pie because cold mashed potatoes don’t exactly “spread.” LOL
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 45 mins
Total time 55 mins
Total Cost: $5.87 Cost Per Serving: $0.98 Serves: 6
- 1 cup cooked lentils (optional)* $0.21
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 1 yellow onion $0.31
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
- 3 carrots $0.37
- 2 stalks celery $0.38
- 8 oz. button mushrooms $1.99
- ¾ tsp salt $0.03
- 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
- ½ tsp smoked paprika $0.05
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.11
- 1 Tbsp flour $0.01
- 1 cup vegetable broth $0.13
- 1 cup frozen peas $0.45
- 4 cups mashed potatoes $1.36
- Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (3-5 minutes).
- While the onions and garlic are cooking, peel and dice the carrots, dice the celery, and slice the mushrooms. Once the onions are soft, add the carrots and celery to the skillet and continue to sauté until the celery begins to soften slightly (5 minutes).
- Finally, add the mushrooms, salt, thyme, smoked paprika, and freshly cracked pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms have fully softened (3-5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and flour to the skillet. Stir and cook the vegetables with the flour and tomato paste until the vegetables are coated and the pasty mixture begins to coat the bottom of the skillet (about 2 minutes).
- Add the vegetable broth to the skillet, stirring to dissolve the flour and tomato paste from the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will become slightly thicker. Stir in the cooked lentils and frozen peas, and allow to mixture to heat through.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pour the vegetable mixture into a casserole dish, or use your skillet if it is oven safe. Spread the mashed potatoes out over the surface of the vegetables and gravy. Use your spoon to make a decorative pattern in the mashed potatoes, if desired.
- Bake the shepherd's pie in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through. To achieve a browned surface on the mashed potatoes (optional), turn on the oven's broiler (and place the pie under it, if not already), and watch closely until the top has browned to your liking.
Notes Using cooked lentils is optional, but the number of servings will be closer to four without them. It should take approximately ⅓ cup dry lentils to make 1 cup cooked.
Step by Step Photos
Ohhhhh that gravy, though!