This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is cozy, healthy, and flavorful. With tender veggies, a rich gravy-like sauce, and a generous layer of mashed potatoes on top, this is the best kind of meatless comfort food.

Deep skillet with a vegetarian Shepherd's pie partially served.

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OK, friend, real talk. My family fell hard for this cozy shepherd’s pie — omnivores and vegetarians alike — and I’m willing to bet yours will, too. This is a deliciously meat-free take on the classic comfort food that normally features ground beef or lamb.

Our version is made with meatless crumbles and tons of veggies for texture, a flavorful gravy-like sauce, and a thick upper crust of mashed potatoes. Put it together, and you have a super satisfying one-pot meal that everyone can love.

What is a traditional shepherd’s pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a classic British meal, traditionally made with mutton or lamb, a vegetable medley, and a mashed potato topping, all baked to cozy perfection. Thinking back to the year I spent studying in the UK, I fondly recall seeing it on the menu in nearly every pub.

In the US, shepherd’s pie is most commonly made with ground beef, even though in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand a ground beef version would be known as cottage pie.

Can you make shepherd’s pie with meatless crumbles?

I don’t use many processed “meatless” versions of traditional meat products, preferring to just use veggies, nuts, or other ingredients. In the case of shepherd’s pie, however, we all felt that the texture with faux meat crumbles was so perfect that it’s worth it. I’ve made this with both Lightlife and Gardein brand crumbles; both worked perfectly.

You’ll also need mushrooms, carrots, onion, frozen peas, veggie stock or broth, flour, tomato paste, red wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Italian parsley and rosemary add the perfect pops of flavor — it’s worth picking up fresh if you can.

Ingredients in prep bowls.

What kind of mashed potatoes to use?

Short answer: any you like! Of course you can make them from scratch — I love mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot — but boxed mashed potatoes work great for this recipe, too, and do save some time.

If using leftover mashed potatoes, be sure to warm them on the stove or in the microwave before attempting to spread them out across the top of the shepherd’s pie. Cold mashed potatoes don’t spread very well. 🙂

How to make vegetarian shepherd’s pie

This might seem a bit involved, but it’s actually pretty simple once you get going. Here’s the overview. Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe below.

  1. Start cooking the veggies. Begin with the carrots and onion so they have a chance to soften, then add the mushrooms, meat crumbles, and herbs.
  2. Cook everything down until tender and well-browned.
  3. Make the sauce. The combination of tomato paste, red wine, and Worcestershire yields the absolute most enticing flavor.
  4. Stir in peas. No need to defrost those bad boys first — straight in they go.
  5. Dollop mashed potatoes on top.
  6. Spread potatoes into a nice, even layer.

Then you’ll want to pop the whole skillet into the oven to bake. After just about 15 minutes at 350ºF, the filling will be hot and bubbling. Add another 1-2 minutes under the broiler to get a few nice browned spots on the mashed potatoes.

Finished vegetarian shepherd's pie.

And then all that’s left is to dig in! Scoop heaping spoonfuls into bowls or small plates, and let everyone ooh and aah as they take their first bites.

Vegetarian shepherd’s pie is the ultimate comfort food for everyone!

Close up of vegetarian shepherd's pie with a serving scooped out of the pan.
Small bowl with a serving of vegetarian shepherd's pie.

Make ahead, storage, and freezing tips

Like many cozy casseroles, this shepherd’s pie is really flexible and great to reheat or make ahead.

  • Make ahead. You can fully prep this shepherd’s pie — right up to spreading the mashed potatoes on top — the night before or the morning of the day you want to eat. Store it covered in the fridge, then bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Store leftovers. This makes a fairly large dish, so you can feed a crowd or enjoy the extra throughout the week. It keeps well tightly-covered in the fridge for at least 4 days and is easy to reheat in the microwave.
  • Freeze. If planning to freeze, transfer the vegetable mixture to a Pyrex, metal, or foil baking dish before adding the mashed potato topping. Then bake as directed, let cool all the way to room temperature, and wrap tightly with foil. Freeze for up to 4 months. The shepherd’s pie can be baked straight from the freezer to reheat — it will take at least 50-60 minutes at 350ºF.

More vegetarian comfort food

If you enjoy cozy yet hearty vegetarian mains, try this vegetarian pot pie with fennel and potatoes or a Tuscan white bean skillet next!

If you try this Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

With tender veggies, a rich gravy-like sauce, and a generous layer of mashed potatoes on top, this is the best kind of meatless comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 5 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cups crumbled meat substitute
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep mashed potatoes, if needed.
  • Warm olive oil in a deep oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrots. Cook 2-3 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add mushrooms, faux meat crumbles, garlic, and rosemary. Stir well and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in tomato paste, flour, and Worcestershire sauce, followed by red wine. Cook 1-2 minutes, then slowly add the broth and the salt, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3-4 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Remove from heat, stir in peas and parsley, and spread the mixture out evenly across the bottom of the skillet.
  • Scoop the warm mashed potatoes into dollops on top of the veggie mixture, and use a spatula to spread them into a roughly even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then set the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top. Remove and dig in.

Notes

  • Mashed potatoes. You can use any mashed potatoes you like for this recipe — leftovers, homemade, or from a box! Just be sure they are warm before trying to spread them out on top.
  • Make ahead. You can fully prep this shepherd’s pie — right up to spreading the mashed potatoes on top — the night before or the morning of the day you want to eat. Store it covered in the fridge, then bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Store leftovers. This makes a fairly large dish, so you can feed a crowd or enjoy the extra throughout the week. It keeps well tightly-covered in the fridge for at least 4 days and is easy to reheat in the microwave.
  • Freeze. If planning to freeze, transfer the vegetable mixture to a Pyrex, metal, or foil baking dish before adding the mashed potato topping. Then bake as directed, let cool all the way to room temperature, and wrap tightly with foil. Freeze for up to 4 months. The shepherd’s pie can be baked straight from the freezer to reheat — it will take at least 50-60 minutes at 350ºF.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 336kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 894mg, Potassium: 1091mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 8994IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 4mg
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