Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

By Sally Cameron on March 26, 2012

gluten-free, the daniel plan, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian,


Packed with vegetables and beans, then topped with creamy mashed potatoes, don’t tell the carnivores in your family this is meatless. They won’t miss the meat. Serve it as a comforting, casserole-style main dish for dinner or as a side dish to roast chicken.

Traditional Versus Vegetarian or Vegan

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 mashed potatoes I use Yukon Gold’s, not russets. And 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 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 by Follow Your Heart products and Earth Balance buttery vegan sticks in the mashed potatoes. I started using these products while cooking for dairy-free clients and loved the results.  The taste is wonderful with a nice tang from the sour cream. You’ll never know its not regular dairy.

Of course regular dairy works fine. Do what works for you.

Knife Skills and Organization

There’s a bit of prep work for the vegetables which gives you a chance to practice your knife skills. Assemble all of your prepped vegetables and ingredients in little bowls. I like to put mine on a half-sheet tray before I start cooking the filling. Try it. You”ll be more organized.

Cook the Filling

Sauté the vegetables together, stir in the beans, then spoon the filling into individual or one large casserole dish.  Spoon on or pipe the potatoes over the top. I pipe my potatoes for nice presentation, but you can simply spoon the potatoes on a swirl for a nice look

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, melted Earth Balance or butter mixed with a little granulated garlic for extra flavor before browning.

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.

Print Recipe

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

This vegetarian or vegan recipe for Shepherds Pie skips the lamb in favor of a basketful 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.


  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes 680 grams
  • 3/4 cup or more 170 grams, note below, vegan sour cream or regular light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance 28 grams, or butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 20 grams
  • 1/2 of a large onion chopped fine
  • 2 large ribs of celery chopped fine
  • 3 small carrots 100 grams, chopped fine, about 3/4 cup
  • 3 large garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 30 grams
  • 1 cup of water 240 ml
  • 1 teaspoon each dried basil 1/2 gram, oregano and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1- 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes 411 grams
  • 1 cup corn kernels 135 grams, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup of peas 135 grams, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup  finely chopped raw baby green beans 130 grams
  • 1-15 ounce can red kidney beans 425 grams, rinsed and drained
  • 1-15 ounce can Cannelini beans 425 grams, rinsed and drained


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Make 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 kosher or sea salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium heat and cook until very tender when a paring knife easily pierces the potatoes.
  3. 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. Set aside.
  4. Next, assemble all of your prepped vegetables and ingredients in little bowls. I like to put mine on a tray. You”ll be more organized.
  5. 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.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Gently stir in the kidney and Cannellini beans. Distribute mixture between 4 – 10 ounce ramekins or a medium casserole dish. Swirl mashed potatoes over the top with a spoon or pipe mashed potatoes to cover the vegetable-bean mixture.
  7. 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 3o minutes.  If the potatoes are not brown, bake under a to broiler just until browned. Serve  immediately.
  8. Note – 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.
  9. Seasoning – to give this a Southwestern taste, used smoked paprika, smoked pepper and add some chili powder.


Leave a Comment
Madonna | 03/27/2012 at 10:20 am

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?

    Sally | 03/27/2012 at 10:43 am

    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.

Ambika | 03/27/2012 at 8:21 pm

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

katie | 03/28/2012 at 5:58 am

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

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious | 04/06/2012 at 12:01 am

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!

Janice | 10/02/2012 at 4:47 pm

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

Sue | 10/18/2012 at 12:06 pm

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?

    Sally | 10/18/2012 at 5:56 pm

    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.

Rebecca Braun | 05/15/2013 at 9:47 pm

I can’t wait to try this!

Kari | 10/10/2013 at 6:10 pm

is “sweet paprika” the same as regular paprika?

    Sally | 10/10/2013 at 9:09 pm

    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.

daisy | 11/17/2013 at 9:15 am

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

    Sally | 11/17/2013 at 9:27 am

    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!

daisy | 11/17/2013 at 9:27 am

or how long will it keep in the fridge?

    Sally | 11/17/2013 at 12:12 pm

    4 days!

misty | 01/07/2016 at 3:39 pm

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!

Jacqui | 08/21/2017 at 3:11 am

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.

    Sally Cameron | 08/21/2017 at 2:16 pm

    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.

sandra ybert | 09/27/2017 at 11:12 pm

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

Melanie | 11/09/2017 at 7:19 am

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.

    Sally Cameron | 11/10/2017 at 2:40 pm

    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.

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