Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie – Packed with veggies and a simple mashed potato (or cauliflower!) topping, this cozy vegetarian shepherd’s pie is comfort food at it’s finest! (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan & Paleo Friendly)
We don’t get rain very often here in the desert, so to me, a rainy day is the equivalent of one of those perfect snowy days where you don’t need to go anywhere. It’s a put on some music, light a fire, wear a sweater, and bake something kind of day. We had one last week, and I was in heaven.
Of course, here, we’re still well into the 90-100 degree temperatures, but the comfy feeling is still there. And as for what to make? A good, cozy shepherd’s pie is one of those cravings I get a few times a year. It’s basically all the best things about stew + all the best things about mashed potatoes. This year, I wanted to try my hand at a vegetarian version, and honestly? It’s my favorite yet. Here’s why:
Why This Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is Amazing:
You’re not going to feel like you’re missing anything. And I don’t mean that in a “this broccoli tastes the same as pizza!” kind of way. I mean that the veggie-packed filling is hearty, there’s a gorgeous mashed potato layer, and there’s enough “gravy” inside to pull it all together.
You Can Totally Use Leftovers. Leftover mashed potatoes are pretty much a fairytale in our house, but if you’ve got leftovers (think: after Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving), you could totally use them for this recipe. You may want to add a drizzle of milk (whatever kind you drink) to your leftovers potatoes to revive them a bit before topping the shepherd’s pie.
Comfort Food At Its Finest. A magical thing happens when you cook mashed potatoes this way. All the creamy, fluffy goodness of the mashed potatoes remains intact underneath, while the top layer gets a delectably crispy treatment that makes for a textural match made in heaven. Between the savory filling, the fluffy/creamy mashed potatoes and the lightly crispy crust on top, it’s close-your-eyes-while-you-eat-it good.
Ve-Ve-Veggies! The filling for this gorgeous vegetarian shepherd’s pie is jam-packed with vegetables. You can easily mix and match here–have some bell pepper you’ve been meaning to get to? Why not toss it in? Prefer some green beans in your mix? Go for it!
Tips + Tricks For The Best Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie:
Let’s Talk Pans – You can bake this in any 2-quart capacity dish. That can be an 8×8″ baking dish, a deep round baking dish, an oval baker, etc. Whatever you’ve got! Or, you can divide the filling among ramekins for individual-sized shepherd’s pies. (This can be fun for a Sunday dinner or when you have company.) If you go the ramekin route, just keep an eye on them under the broiler, since they can have a tendency to cook faster.
A Note For My Cheese-Loving Friends – In our dairy-eating days, I loved sprinkling the mashed potato layer with some shredded gruyere or sharp white cheddar cheese. (Anything is good–Parmesan, regular cheddar, etc.) It was an extra layer of delicious flavor and tastes delicious. Feel free to sprinkle on a bit of cheese before popping this in the oven!
Vegetarian or Vegan Friendly. This recipe is easily vegan or vegetarian. I use unsweetened cashew milk for my mashed potatoes, but any unsweetened milk (dairy or nondairy) will work. As for the butter/oil element in the mashed potatoes, you can use ghee, butter, vegan butter, or light-tasting olive oil depending on your dietary needs and preferences.
Change Up the Veggies – You can totally swap in or out any veggies that you like here. I use 1 pound of mushrooms, and then about 4-5 cups of veggies. The recipe can handle up to 6 cups of veggies, so feel free to add in some green beans, corn, bell peppers, parsnips, or leeks if you like.
Paleo or Prefer to Skip Potatoes? You can totally use mashed cauliflower if you prefer. Here’s an easy method to use for super creamy mashed cauliflower. Also – if you’re following a paleo diet, you can swap arrowroot for the flour I use in this recipe. It’ll work great (and make this recipe Whole30 compliant!).
Love This Recipe? I Bet You’d Like These Other Cozy Faves…
- Powerhouse Quinoa Salad
- Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
- (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker) Vegan Chipotle Black Bean Chili
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (Vegan + Whole30 Friendly)