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  • Writer's pictureSophie Zuckerman

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Mash

It's like traditional Shepherd's Pie, but in place of the meat I've beefed up (get it?) the hearty veggies and comforting flavors that make this a family favorite!

Lentil Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1/2 cup of cremini mushrooms, diced very small

  • 5 cloves of garlic minced

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

  • 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped

  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine

  • 3 3/4 cups of vegetable broth

  • 1 1/2 cups of green or brown lentils

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika

  • 1/4 cup of smooth tahini

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into eighths

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 rosemary sprig

  • 4 tablespoons of butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk

  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • Fresh thyme

  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat until hot.

  3. Add the onion, carrots, and celery with a couple of pinches of salt and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until most of the onions are browned. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, but not too often so that they can caramelize.

  4. Add the mushrooms until they start to turn brown and then add another pinch of salt. Then add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

  5. Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan so there’s an empty circle in the middle of the pan. Add the tomato paste into the empty space and stir for 2-3 minutes, or until it darkens in color. Reduce the heat to medium, as needed to prevent burning.

  6. Pour in the red wine and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the smell of alcohol has dissipated, about 3-4 minutes.

  7. Add the vegetable broth, along with the lentils, bay leaves, and paprika. Stir to combine and increase the heat to bring it all to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer, and simmer until the lentils are just tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 25-30 minutes.

  8. Turn the heat to low. Add the tahini, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well incorporated. Taste for seasonings, adding a large pinch of salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Make the Mashed Potato Topping.

  1. Place the potatoes and cauliflower florets in a large saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and stir to combine. Place the rosemary sprig on top. Bring to a boil and cook until both potatoes and cauliflower are fork-tender and are very soft when pricked with a paring knife, about 15 minutes.

  2. Thoroughly drain the potatoes and cauliflower in a colander and discard the rosemary sprig. For the potatoes, pat them dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel. For the cauliflower, you’ll need to squeeze out the excess water by wrapping the cauliflower in a clean dish towel and then squeeze all the water out, you will very surprised how much liquid comes out!

  3. Return the potatoes and cauliflower to the saucepan and add in the softened butter, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. You can mash everything together using a handheld potato masher or the back of a fork. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt as needed. Now assemble the shepherd pie by covering the lentil filling with the cauliflower and mashed potato topping. Drizzle olive oil on top and fresh thyme leaves. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn on the broiler for a few minutes until the crust is golden brown.

  4. Enjoy!

Adapted from Rainbow Plant Life

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