Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

By Sally Cameron on March 26, 2012

Dinner, Gluten-Free, the daniel plan, Vegan, Vegetarian

Packed with vegetables and beans, then topped with creamy mashed potatoes, vegetarian shepherds pie will please even the carnivores in your family. Serve it as a comforting, casserole-style main dish for dinner or as a side dish to roast chicken.

vegetarian shepherds pie |

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with a filling of lamb. This vegetarian version replaces the lamb with colorful, healthy vegetables – onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, green beans, corn, peas, and both red and white kidney beans. The vegetable filling is then topped with creamy mashed potatoes.

Of Potatoes, Dairy and Prep Work

For fluffy textured potatoes, I use a tool called a ricer. For the creamy part, stir in sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (more tang), then add a little butter. Another option for topping your Shepherds Pies, use whipped sweet potatoes instead of  gold or russet potatoes. They are a healthier option and beautiful color, not to mention nutritious. Basic recipe is here. For a vegan version, use vegan sour cream and plant-based butter in the mashed potatoes.

Knife Skills and Organization

There’s a bit of prep work for the vegetables. Assemble all of your prepped vegetables and ingredients in little bowls and put them on a half-sheet tray for better organization. Sauté the vegetables together, stir in the beans, then spoon the filling into individual or one large casserole dish.  Spoon the potatoes over the top.

Bake and Serve

To serve, bake the dishes in the oven until the filling is hot. A few minutes under the broiler will brown the tops but be careful not to burn the potatoes. If you’d like, gently brush with a little olive oil or melted butter.

A note on dishes – I like to make individual Shepherd’s Pies. For a main dish serving size, use 10 ounce ramekins. For a side dish try the 6 ounce size. You can also use a variety of mini casseroles. It’s fun for everyone to get their own little dish.

vegetarian shepherds pie |
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Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

Vegetarian or vegan Shepherds Pie skips meat in favor of vegetables and beans for a hearty main dish or as a side dish. Top with creamy mashed potatoes, browning them under the broiler for nice presentation. If serving as a main dish, add a tossed green salad. This also works well as a side dish to roast chicken. For serving two, the recipe halves nicely. Just choose one kind of bean.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Shepherds pie, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 4
Calories 460kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream regular or plant-based
  • 2 tablespoons butter regular or plant-based
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped fine
  • 2 ribs celery chopped fine
  • 3 carrots chopped fine, about 3/4 cup
  • 3 large garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano and thyme can use 1 tablespoon blend
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup peas thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup raw baby green beans chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 ounce Cannelini beans rinsed and drained


  • Heat oven to 350°F degrees then start the mashed potatoes. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters or eights. Aim for the same size so they cook evenly. Place in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium heat and cook until very tender when a paring knife easily pierces the potatoes.
  • Drain potatoes well and place back in the hot pan (heat off). Cover and allow to steam dry for a few minutes. Next, push the potatoes through a ricer. Alternatively use a hand masher or hand mixer. Add sour cream and butter and stir. Season with salt and pepper. The texture should be creamy and firm, not runny.
  • Next, assemble all of your prepped vegetables and ingredients in little bowls. Put them on a rimmed baking sheet for organization. In a medium saute or fry pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste, water, dried herbs, paprika, tomatoes, corn, peas and green beans. Cover and cook until the green beans are tender and some of the moisture has cooked down, a few minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper and taste. Gently stir in the beans. Distribute mixture between 4 – 10 ounce ramekins or a medium size casserole dish. Swirl mashed potatoes over the top with a spoon to cover the vegetable-bean mixture.
  • Place the casserole (s) on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until hot or when a digital thermometer reads 160-165 degrees.  It should take about 30 minutes.  If the potatoes are not brown, bake under a to broiler just until browned. Serve  immediately.


You can prepare this a day or two ahead. They hold well in the refrigerator. Allow to stand at room temperature for an hour before baking. They are done when the internal temperature read 160-165 degrees with a digital thermometer.
To give this a Southwestern flavor use smoked paprika, smoked pepper, ground cumin and add some chili powder.


Serving: 4 | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 520mg | Potassium: 1578mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 8664IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 4mg
  1. Madonna - March 27th, 2012

    This looks delicious. I don’t mean to gush, but I love the prep/organization. Your recipes are great to scale up or down, simple yet complex in flavor. Just yum. I am liking the measures also. I saw a recipe yesterday on another site that called for two and half eggs – how funny is that?

  2. Sally - March 27th, 2012

    Two and a half eggs? How funny is that. I can’t imagine listing that in a recipe! When you find those half eggs, let me know.If you make this please report back on how it came out.

  3. Ambika - March 27th, 2012

    WOW! Love this recipe and the potatoes on the top look so perfect!!

  4. katie - March 28th, 2012

    Oh I love this fun twist on a traditional shepherd’s pie. I think I need to try this soon!

  5. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious - April 6th, 2012

    Shepherd’s pie is one of my favorite dishes in the world. I usually use ground beef but I love your vegetarian option. And I also love that you piped on the mashed potatoes – it makes it so much prettier!

  6. Vegetarian Bean Recipes You Can Count On! | Yummly - April 18th, 2012

    […] Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie from A Food Centric Life […]

  7. Janice - October 2nd, 2012

    It’s nice to see a Shepherd’s Pie recipe without the meat while using tasty vegetables. I’ll be making this very soon!

  8. Sue - October 18th, 2012

    Beautiful pictures..seems like a great recipe! I am making it this minute!
    I printed out the recipe and there is not a reference as when to add the peas and corn…do they go in when the green beans go in, or after that, along with the tinned beans?

  9. Sally - October 18th, 2012

    Sue, you can add them after you cook the onions and garlic. Take a look at the refreshed recipe. It should be more clear now. Thank you for commenting. Please let me know how you enjoy them and how the recipe worked for you.

  10. Rebecca Braun - May 15th, 2013

    I can’t wait to try this!

  11. Kari - October 10th, 2013

    is “sweet paprika” the same as regular paprika?

  12. Sally - October 10th, 2013

    Yes Kari, it is regular paprika. Sometimes you will see regular or “sweet” paprika versus hot or spicy paprika. Sorry for the confusion. My favorite is smoked paprika! Great flavor.

  13. daisy - November 17th, 2013

    Can the left overs be frozen? If so, would I need to defrost fully before putting it in the microwave?
    This looks so yummy

  14. Sally - November 17th, 2013

    Hi Daisy. Yes, I have frozen them before, and yes, they should be fully thawed for best heating. The safest way to thaw is overnight in the refrigerator. It may take 18-24 hours for a full thaw, then heat in the oven, covered with foil, at 350 until hot in the center. Use a digital thermometer and heat to 165 degrees. You will get better results in the oven than in a microwave. Hope that helps!

  15. daisy - November 17th, 2013

    or how long will it keep in the fridge?

  16. Sally - November 17th, 2013

    4 days!

  17. misty - January 7th, 2016

    this is so good. I have made it at least twice and am making it for dinner tonight! I find that the filling is so yummy it would be amazing topped on a baked potato!

  18. Jacqui - August 21st, 2017

    Made this last night with sweet potato mash and grated cheese topping for my boys. Had mine tonight and it was YUMMO!! First time ever did not add vegetable stock cube (as I usually do in every dish); it was so tasty without it.
    Thank you Sally for creating a wonderful healthy low GI dish that is diabetic friendly. I have subscribed to your “A Food Centric Life”. I am in awe with the simplicity of all your dishes.. I look forward to finding more successful vegetarian / vegan dishes in the near future.

  19. Sally Cameron - August 21st, 2017

    Hi Jacqui! You must made my day. Thanks so much for your comment. I love to hear that recipes work for people in their live, in their kitchens, and make them happy and healthy.

  20. sandra ybert - September 27th, 2017

    i am going to cook this putting my own twist on taste with sweet potato or pumpkin put in

  21. Melanie - November 9th, 2017

    Made this and it was lovely, omitted celery as l cannot buy it where l live. Tried it also with thin sliced potatoes on top and a crumble topping. All tasted delicious.

  22. Sally Cameron - November 10th, 2017

    Sounds like nice swaps Melanie, thanks for your comment! I am curious where you live that celery is not available. It’s something we take for granted here.

  23. Melanie Neal - March 28th, 2018

    Hi Sally, sorry l did not reply sooner but l kept getting a firewall message saying the administrator has blocked comments from your country. So l am replying with VPN. I am a British girl living in Turkey and celery is difficult to buy here and when you do find it , its not that great?

  24. Sally Cameron - April 3rd, 2018

    Ahh, that is interesting Melanie! The things we take for granted. You can just leave it out and add more of other veggies. Can you get leeks? Maybe try fennel stalks?

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