Hearty Meatless Shepherd’s Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 50 min. Bake: 30 min.
Comfort food isn't just for meat lovers! This vegetarian shepherd's pie is a meatless take on the classic, and it's hearty enough to satisfy even the omnivores in the family.

Updated: Mar. 12, 2024

It’s hard to beat a good shepherd’s pie recipe. What’s not to love about a gravy-enriched savory filling that’s topped with a golden crown of mashed potatoes? This rich, hearty dish absolutely epitomizes comfort food. Most traditional shepherd’s pie recipes rely on ground beef or lamb, but we don’t miss the meat at all with this vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe.

In this substantial dish, earthy mushrooms and protein crumbles add a meaty texture and add plant-based protein. But the element that takes this shepherd’s pie over the edge is a fluffy topping of dairy-free mashed potatoes. Here, the potatoes get wonderful flavor from vegetable broth and our secret ingredient: roasted garlic.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

  • Roasted garlic: Raw garlic is sharp and pungent, but roasting mellows the flavor. The cloves soften and add a sweet, nutty flavor to the mashed potatoes.
  • Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are a good choice for this recipe. This type of potato has a naturally buttery flavor. You can also use a starchy potato, like russet or baking potatoes.
  • Baby portobello mushrooms: Also called “cremini mushrooms,” these mushrooms are more flavorful than white button mushrooms. Their meaty texture makes them popular in vegetarian recipes.
  • Carrots and peas: These tender vegetables are a classic choice for shepherd’s pie recipes. They add a bright color and a subtle sweetness to the filling.
  • Frozen vegetarian meat crumbles: Vegetarian meat crumbles are a plant-based protein source made from soy. Look for them in the natural-foods freezer section.
  • Rosemary: This fragrant herb pairs well with mushrooms, adding a piney, woodsy flavor to the shepherd’s pie filling. Dried herbs are more powerful than fresh herbs, so use a fresh-to-dried herb conversion if you swap in dried rosemary.

Directions

Step 1: Roast the garlic

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Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place garlic on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle with olive oil, and wrap the foil around the garlic. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the roasted garlic from the oven, and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If you love roasted garlic, use this opportunity to roast the whole head. You won’t even need to peel it! Learn more in our guide for roasting garlic.

Step 2: Cook the potatoes

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Place the potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, and cover the Dutch oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes.

Step 3: Mash the potatoes

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Mash the potatoes with the broth, salt and pepper. Squeeze the softened garlic cloves into the potatoes, and mix well.

Editor’s Tip: There are several ways to mash potatoes. Run the potatoes through a food mill for the smoothest mashed potatoes, or use a handheld potato masher for a rustic mash.

Step 4: Prepare the vegetable filling

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Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion in oil until tender. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute. Stir in the mushrooms, meat crumbles, carrots and celery. Cook and stir for five minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth, rosemary, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Thicken the vegetable filling

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In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining broth until smooth. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for one minute or until thickened. Stir in the peas.

Editor’s Tip: The flour and broth mixture is known as a “slurry.” It’s used to thicken sauces like in this shepherd’s pie filling. You can swap in a gluten-free thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot if desired.

Step 6: Assemble the vegetarian shepherd’s pie

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Transfer the vegetable filling to an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover the vegetable filling with the mashed potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.

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Editor’s Tip: To give the shepherd’s pie a smooth look, use the back of a spoon to even out the potatoes. Or create a rustic look by dragging a fork or spoon through the potatoes to create craggy edges.

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Recipe Variations

  • Make it vegan: Almost all the ingredients in this meatless shepherd’s pie are plant-based, including the mashed potatoes. However, not all vegetarian meat crumbles are vegan. Check the label on the packaging if you intend to make vegan shepherd’s pie. If there are non-vegan ingredients, swap in another plant-based meat alternative.
  • Use other plant-based meat alternatives: If you can’t find frozen vegetarian meat crumbles, don’t fret. There are a ton of other options! You can simply skip it and use all vegetables. Or add protein to meatless shepherd’s pie with quinoa, lentils, tofu or tempeh.
  • Skip the mashed potatoes: Switch up the topping with other pureed vegetables, like mashed cauliflower or mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Add cheese: After layering the potatoes, add grated Parmesan, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese to give this meatless dish a cheesy finish. If you’re not going for a vegan dish, use regular cheese. And if you want vegan, choose vegan cheese alts!

Can you make vegetarian shepherd’s pie ahead of time?

To make vegetarian shepherd’s pie ahead of time, prepare the vegetable filling and mashed potatoes the day before. Store each in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake the shepherd’s pie, layer the ingredients, and bake as directed. The filling will be cold, so you may need to adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure the shepherd’s pie heats through to an internal temperature of 165°.

How to Store Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Store shepherd’s pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat the leftovers in a 350° oven or the microwave until they reach an internal temperature of 165°.

Can you freeze vegetarian shepherd’s pie?

To freeze vegetarian shepherd’s pie, let it cool completely. Then transfer it to an airtight container, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Tips

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What goes with vegetarian shepherd’s pie?

Serve vegetarian shepherd’s pie with a crisp side salad, garden-fresh side dishes or a crusty bread like garlic bread. Explore our top vegan side dishes for more inspiration.

Do you have to make mashed potatoes for vegetarian shepherd’s pie?

If you don’t have time to make mashed potatoes from scratch, you can use leftover mashed potatoes, store-bought refrigerated potatoes or instant potatoes. You can also use your favorite mashed potato recipe.

Watch how to Make Hearty Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time 50 min
Cook Time 30 min
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • FILLING:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 8 ounces frozen vegetarian meat crumbles
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place garlic on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle with oil. Wrap foil around garlic. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Place potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes or until tender; drain. Mash potatoes with broth, salt and pepper; squeeze softened garlic into potatoes and mix well.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms, meat crumbles, carrots and celery; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth, rosemary, soy sauce, salt and pepper; cover and cook 10 minutes.
  4. Combine flour and remaining broth until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in peas.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Transfer vegetable mixture to an 8-in. square baking dish coated with cooking spray; cover with potato mixture. Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 223 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 753mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 6g fiber), 13g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 starch, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.

Mushrooms, carrots, celery, peas and potatoes pack this full-flavored meal-maker. In fact, you’ll never even miss the meat. It’s that rich and satisfying! —Kim Hammond, Kingwood, Texas
Recipe Creator