For a warm-you-up that won’t weigh you down, it’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie! A rich, thick vegetable filling bubbling away beneath a creamy mashed potato topping, it’s a hearty, cozy, and satisfying meatless version of the original.
When the cold wind whips, classic comfort meals like Shepherd’s Pie (made with ground lamb) or cottage pie (the same as shepherd’s pie but with ground beef) are a necessity.
While belly-warming comfort is in demand on winter evenings, night after night of meat-heavy dishes like Braised Short Ribs or Beef Bourguignon can be a bit much.
That’s where meat-free versions of your favorite comfort foods comes in!
From Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff to Vegetarian Pot Pie, skipping the meat should never mean skipping that satisfaction.
All of the vegetarian dinner recipes you’ll find here don’t just fill you up—they hit the spot!
This cozy vegetable shepherd’s pie will warm you body and soul.
A Satisfying Meatless Main
When you are creating vegetarian versions of traditional meat-and-potato dishes like shepherd’s pie, one of the best ingredient swaps is mushrooms (just like you’ll see in this mushroom Vegetarian Pot Pie).
Mushrooms are hearty and boast an intense savoriness called umami that provides complexity.
Put another way, umami means this mushroom shepherd’s pie tastes like much more than a big pile of vegetables.
It’s a worthy main event!
What If I Hate Mushrooms?
While mushrooms are my first choice for this recipe, if you are a mushroom hater, you can certainly make this vegetarian shepherd’s pie without mushrooms. See FAQs below for suggestions.
P.S. I do hope you’ll come around one day; in the meantime, save all the Mushroom Stroganoff for me!
How to Make the Best Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is traditional comfort food I love down to my Irish roots.
With this easy recipe, you can enjoy it meat free too!
- Mashed Potato Topping. Creamy mashed potatoes with butter and Parmesan become an exceptionally delicious topping. A mixture of egg yolk and milk adds richness and helps hold the potatoes together.
- Carrots + Parsnips. These root veggies are naturally sweet and packed with vitamins.
- Mushrooms. Thanks to their unique umami flavor, mushrooms give the recipe depth of flavor.
- Tomato Paste. A simple way to create rich flavor for the filling.
- All-Purpose Flour. Makes the filling thick and gravy-like.
- Vegetable Stock. A blend of vegetables, herbs, and spices that adds flavor and liquid to the shepherd’s pie filling.
- Soy Sauce. For an extra hit of umami.
- Fresh Rosemary + Bay Leaf. Adds a touch of woodsy, herby flavor that cuts through the richness.
- Frozen Peas. Easily sneak in extra veggies by incorporating a bag of frozen peas.
- Boil the potatoes.
- Sauté the onion.
- Add the carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in the garlic and tomato paste.
- Sprinkle the flour on top, stirring for 1 minute.
- Finish making the filling, then transfer to a casserole dish.
- Mash the potatoes.
- Stir them up with the Parmesan, milk, and egg so they’re nice and creamy.
- Spread the potatoes on top of the vegetable filling. Bake vegetarian shepherd’s pie at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate shepherd’s pie in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the vegetable filling as directed (through Step 6). You can also boil and mash the potatoes as directed. Refrigerate both the topping and potatoes in separate airtight storage containers until you’re ready to finish and assemble the recipe.
What to Serve with Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
- Bread. Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, Irish Soda Bread, or Drop Biscuits would be delicious with this recipe.
- Vegetables. Add even more vegetables to your meal by serving this pie with Roasted Green Beans, Grilled Broccoli, Sautéed Spinach, or Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts.
- Salad. Arugula Salad and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad are tasty sides for this dish.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Casserole Dish. Perfect for this vegetarian shepherd’s pie.
- Saucepan. From preparing mashed potatoes to boiling pasta, this tool can do it all.
- Extra-Large Cutting Board. With this cutting board, you’ll never run out of room while you’re chopping.
Carb lovers, vegetable lovers, comfort food lovers, good food lovers: this easy vegetarian shepherd’s pie is for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you do not share my mushroom fervor, make this vegetarian shepherd’s pie with Impossible meat crumbles (or similar meat-free crumbles) or with white beans, such as cannellini or great Northern beans.
You can easily make this recipe gluten free by swapping the all-purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten free baking flour.
While mashed potatoes are the most traditional topping for shepherd’s pie, they are certainly not the only option. Try making your vegetarian shepherd’s pie with mashed sweet potatoes (these Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes are an easy recipe), or for a low-carb spin use Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes.
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
For the Mashed Potato Topping:
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter diced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
- 1 large egg yolk
For the Filling:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 large carrots scrubbed and diced
- 2 parsnips peeled and diced (or 2 additional carrots)
- 8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms roughly chopped
- 8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms or more baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or fresh thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 (10-ounce bag) frozen peas (no need to thaw)
- Boil the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough cool water to cover them by 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling, uncover, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle, steady simmer, until potatoes are fork tender, about 12 to 16 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. If the potatoes are very moist, heat the saucepan over low, shaking it occasionally, until any liquid on the surface of the potatoes has cooked off, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- While the potatoes boil, make the filling: Coat a 9×9, 8×10, or 11×7 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion. Saute for 3 minutes until it begins to soften.
- Add the carrots, parsnips, baby bella and shiitake mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are softened and the mushrooms brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir continuously for 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top of the vegetables. Cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.
- Add the broth, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs, and bayleaf. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on browned bits. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then let simmer gently, stirring every few minutes, until the mixture thickens into a rich veggie-riffic filling, about 8 minutes. Remove the rosemary and bay leaf. Stir in the peas. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Spoon into the prepared dish, spreading it into an even layer.
- Finish the potato topping: Once the potatoes have been returned to the pot, with a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash the potatoes well.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the top. Add the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir a few times, until the butter is mostly melted. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the milk and egg yolk. Add to the potatoes. Stir to combine. The potatoes should be creamy and fluffy.
- Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top of the filling, starting around the edges to create a “seal” (this will prevent the filling from bubbling up). With a spatula, gently spread the potatoes into an even layer.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper to catch any drips, then place the dish on top. Bake the vegetarian shepherd's pie on the center rack uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to brown. Let cool 10 minutes prior to serving.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate shepherd’s pie in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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This looks wonderful!
Could I make it ahead and freeze it uncooked?
Hi Nancy! I’ve only tested the recipe as is and haven’t tried to freeze it uncooked. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!
Everyone loved this vegetarian shepherd’s (cottage)pie. I made more potatoes than recipe called for because we like a lot of mashed potatoes on top. Cheese on top of the mashed potatoes is also a winner. Thank you for this.
Hi Brenda! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
This turned out so delicious! Thank you!
Hi Becky! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for this kind review!
Fabulous! will definitely make this again. One suggested edit – in step 6, you need to add the “peas” to the additions. I forgot them. Lol. was still good. will use them next time.
Hi Melanie! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! It’s in Step 6. It’s after you remove the rosemary and bay leaf!