Simple Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Reading Time: 6 min

Need a hearty, flavorful, meatless dinner? Lentil Shepherds Pie is simple to make (one hour start to finish!), made with real food, and you can make it vegan or add some meat and use the lentils to stretch it!

lentil shepherds pie pingraphic

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This cozy, frugal Lentil Shepherds Pie meets two of my goals in the colder months:

  1. Find hearty meatless dinner recipes
  2. Find potato recipes both Chris (potato­-lover) and I (not­-such-­a­-potato­-lover) enjoy

I first made it on a whim when I ran across the original recipe on Simple Bites years and years ago. This is my version, and not only is it a frugal, whole ­food meal for a cold winter night (or balmy southern winter night, in my case), it’s also easy to whip up from basic pantry staples.

Lentil Shepherds Pie is also a fairly quick, budget-friendly dinner. It only takes one hour, start to finish!

Vegan or Meatless Shepherds Pie

Just in case you need one more reason to try it, this recipe is easily adaptable for dairy­-free or vegan diets. Coconut milk and almond milk work like a dream.

Not-Vegan Shepherds Pie

If you are not vegan or vegetarian, but you want to stretch your meat a little further, try this recipe and add a little browned ground beef to the lentil mixture! See the recipe for more detailed instructions.

lentil shepherds pie

Lentil Shepherds Pie

Get the recipe below (I won’t make you scroll through paragraphs of backstory you don’t care about). But check below it for nutrition information, tips, and ways this recipe helps us save money and eat healthy!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #cheapskatecook and @cheapskatecook on Instagram. 

Lentil Shepherds Pie
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 lbs combination of potatoes and sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and chopped (or pumpkin puree!)
  • 2 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk or dairy-free milk
  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or other vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or a few drops of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour lentils into a small saucepan and cover with broth or water (this is one of those few recipes in which it’ll be okay to cook lentils in just water) until broth or water level is one inch above lentils.

  2. Turn burner to high and bring lentils to a boil Reduce heat, cover and allow lentils to cook for 20 minutes, until nearly soft but not quite.

  3. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a medium­-sized saucepan, cover them with water, add a teaspoon of salt, and bring them to a boi. Reduce heat and simmer potatoes until they are tender and pierced easily with a fork.

  4. Drain the lentils in a colander. Place the oil in the small saucepan the lentils cooked in and sauté the onion until soft. Add oregano, spices, drained lentils, vinegar, ketchup and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the onions. Stir to combine. Add a splash of broth or water to the lentil mixture and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  6. When potatoes are tender, drain them, transfer them to a large bowl and mash them well, blending together the sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. Stir in butter, milk, salt, and pepper, to taste.

  7. Evenly spread the lentil mixture into a pie pan or 8×8­inch baking dish, Sprinkling in the corn or peas, if using. Spread potatoes evenly on top of the lentil mixture. Bake the pie for 20­-30 minutes, until heated through.

Recipe Notes

Meat-Lover but Want to Make it Stretch?

If you prefer shepherds pie made with meat but you want to stretch it a litte further, use 1/2 cup dry lentils and use 1/2 lb browned ground beef (we keep this beef on hand for meat-stretching meals!) instead.

Don’t Have Sweet Potatoes?

You can substitute butternut squash or pumpkin puree for the sweet potatoes. Or if you prefer to leave them out entirely, simply use 2 pounds of your favorite kind of potato. 

Need A Simple, Cheap Broth Recipe?

We make our broth out of veggie scraps using this easy 5-minute method here.

Vegan or Dairy-Free Version:

Use almond milk (or dairy-free milk of choice) and oil instead of milk and butter. Do not use any butter in the mashed potato mixture.

Veggie-Loaded Shepherds Pie:

This recipe is very carb-heavy, but you can add more veggies to it to help round out the meal! Try one or two of these ideas:

  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn (not technically a vegetable, but whatever)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup riced cauliflower
  • Substitute some of the potato mixture with steamed and pureed cauliflower

Muffin Tin Version:

Want to make the shepherds pie for packed lunches or just something fun? Bake it in a muffin tin. Simply line the muffin tins with paper liners, divide the lentil mixture (try adding different veggie combinations from the list above to each mini pie!) among the 12 muffin tins, then top them with the potatoes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.

Make-Ahead/Freezer Instructions:

Use a freezer-friendly baking dish (aluminum pan or line a regular pan with parchment paper, then remove the pie from the pan after freezing). Instead of baking the shepherds pie, let it cool completely (this prevents ice crystals from forming), preferably overnight in the fridge. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a labeled, 2-gallon freezer bag.

To bake, let the pie thaw overnight in the fridge then bake it for 30 minutes at 375 F.

More Meatless Meals You Might Like:

Veggie-Loaded Plant-Based Shepherds Pie

This recipe is very carb-heavy, but you can add more veggies to it to help round out the meal! Try one or two of these ideas:

  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn (not technically a vegetable, but whatever)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup riced cauliflower
  • substitute some of the potato mixture with steamed pureed cauliflower
lentil shepherds pie with a scoop out of it

Muffin Tin Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

Want to make the shepherds pie for packed lunches or just something fun? Bake it in a muffin tin. Simply line the muffin tins with paper liners, divide the lentil mixture (try adding different veggie combinations from the list above to each mini pie!) among the 12 muffin tins, then top them with the potatoes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.

This Recipe Is:

Budget-Friendly

Real Food

Flavorful

Allergy-friendly

Simple

Meatless

Vegetarian

Vegan

Gluten-free

Dairy-Free

Egg-Free

Plant-based

Kid-friendly

Make-Ahead

lentil shepherds pie

How Lentil Shepherds Pie Helps Us Save Money & Eat Healthy

Yay for plant-based meatless meals that still taste hearty! The vinegar, ketchup, and other seasonings make this Lentil Shepherds Pie filling and flavorful.

What You Can Do Now:

Do you like shepherd’s pie? Would you try a meatless version?

If you found this post helpful, let us know! Leave a comment, share it on Facebook or Pinterest, and follow us on Instagram or YouTube for more!

Slash your grocery budget and feed your family real food! Get simple, frugal, real food menu plans every month for FREE in the Cheapskate Cooks’ 1-Min Email. Get your first one here.

Lentil Shepherds Pie pingraphic


2 thoughts on “Simple Lentil Shepherd’s Pie”

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.