October 21, 2021

by Alyssa

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Whipped Sweet Potato

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This Vegan Shepherd's Pie is a hearty comfort meal perfect for the holidays, featuring lentils, quinoa and tons of vegetables topped with smooth and creamy sweet potato puree. Serve this up for Thanksgiving as a delicious plant-based side dish or entree!

slice of sweet potato shepherd's pie with thyme

I'll admit it, traditional Shepherd's pie isn't really my thing. I was never a big fan of meals that had ground beef in them, so when I removed red meat from my diet about 5 years ago, Shepherd's pie wasn't something I missed or craved.

But as I was thinking about plant-powered meals you can serve for the holidays, Shepherd's pie popped into my head. It's definitely not a standard Thanksgiving (or even Christmas) meal, but it totally works this time of year. It's comfort food at its finest, can serve a crowd and is simple to make ahead.

Since I know a lot of you are also following a primarily plant-powered diet, the beef had to go. Instead, we're making a lentil + quinoa vegan Shepherd's pie!

finished swet potatoes on a bakng dish of shepherd's pie

How to Make Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This healthier version gets some other changes from the traditional recipe. Instead of mashed potatoes, this version is topped with light and fluffy sweet potatoes. The filling is full of vegetables and plant-based protein.

This casserole takes less than 1 hour to make, and it's mostly hands-off. I recommend making the whipped sweet potatoes first, followed by the lentils. Then finish the filling in a skillet, assemble the pie in a baking dish, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


Here's what you need to build a beautiful and healthy layered shepherd's pie:

  • Sweet potatoes. Peel your potatoes before you cook them for the smoothest and lightest mash.
  • Milk. Use any non-dairy milk you like.
  • Vegan butter. I like Earth Balance brand.
  • Lentils. You can use green or brown for this recipe
  • Quinoa. I like rainbow quinoa for the nutty flavor. This mimics the texture of ground beef or lamb.
  • Thyme. Use fresh if you can find it!
  • Vegetable broth. make your own or use store-bought low-sodium broth.
  • Mushrooms. I use button mushrooms, but you can use any kind you like.
  • Onion. White or yellow onions both work.
  • Celery. For crunch. You'll sauté celery with the other veggies for the filling.
  • Carrot. for sweetness to complement the savory flavors from the other ingredients.
  • Garlic powder. You can also use fresh minced garlic cloves.
  • Balsamic vinegar. This adds a touch of sweetness and acidity to cut through some of the richness in the dish.
  • Arrowroot powder. This is a gluten-free thickener that's optional. If you're not gluten-free, regular flour will also work.
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste.

full baking dish of vegan shepherd's pie with a slice removed

Can I Use Regular Mashed Potatoes?

Certainly! If you prefer a more traditional shepherd's pie, feel free to use an old-fashioned mashed potato topping. Use russet potatoes and cook them on the stove until they're fully fork-tender.

I still recommend whipping the potatoes with an electric mixer, rather than using a potato masher. this gives them a light and airy texture I love.

slice of shepherd's pie with sweet potato crust and lentils

What To Serve With Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Planning a vegetarian holiday menu? Here are some must-have side dishes to serve family and friends:

slice of sweet potato shepherd's pie with thyme



If you have leftovers, you can store the cottage pie in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days.

You can also freeze the pie for up to three months. Defrost the dish in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through when you're ready to serve.

More Thanksgiving Recipes to Try:

When you end up making the recipe, let me know in the comments or by sharing a photo with me on Instagram by tagging @simplyquinoa or #simplyquinoa. Can't wait to see!


Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This vegan Shepherd's Pie is a hearty comfort meal perfect for the holidays. Serve this up for Thanksgiving as a delicious plant-based side dish or entree!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 255kcal
Author Alyssa
Print Pin
full baking dish of vegan shepherd's pie with a slice removed
4.60 from 30 votes


for the sweet potatoes

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter

for the filling

  • 3/4 cup green/brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup quinoa I used rainbow
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped button mushrooms about 1 container
  • 1 cup diced white onion about 1/2 a medium
  • 1 cup diced celery about 3 stalks
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot about 1 medium
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder optional


  • Add the sweet potatoes to a pot and top with water. Bring to a rolling boil then cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
    mashing sweet potatoes in a pot with an electric mixer
  • Meanwhile, add the lentils and quinoa to a small saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of broth, the fresh thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
    adding broth to seasoned lentils and quinoa in a pot
  • When the potatoes are done cooking, drain the water and add in non-dairy milk, butter, salt and pepper. With an electric mixer, whip potatoes until smooth and creamy. Cover and set aside.
    mashing sweet potatoes in a pot with an electric mixer
  • When the lentils are done, preheat the oven to 425ºF and heat the olive oil in a large skillet (or dutch oven) over medium heat.
    pot of cooked lentils and quinoa
  • Add the mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot and garlic powder to the hot skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Add lentil-quinoa mixture and stir to combine. Stir in balsamic vinegar and 1 cup of broth.
    skillet with carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions for shepherd's pie filling
  • Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup broth together with the arrowroot powder and in a separate dish. Once smooth, stir into the filling mixture.
    mixing floru and butter in a measuring cup
  • Transfer the lentil mixture to a baking dish (I used a 2 qt, but 9x13 will also work). Smooth with a spatula and top with whipped potatoes. Spread the potatoes out in an even layer and smooth over with a spatula. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until potatoes have browned slightly.
    filling a baking dish with vegan shepherd's pie filling and mashed sweet potatoes
  • Remove and let cool for 5 minutes then serve!
    vegan shepherd's pie in a baking dish with a slice removed



Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 560mg | Potassium: 778mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 17910IU | Vitamin C: 7.8mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2.6mg




This VEGAN SHEPHERD'S PIE is a hearty comfort meal perfect for the holidays. Serve this up for Thanksgiving as a delicious plant-based side dish or entree!
vegan Shepherd's Pie

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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With a week’s worth of simple and healthy meals, Eat Clean will help you see just how easy living a life full of whole foods can be. Recipe are 100% gluten-free and vegan!


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  1. I’m making this for Thanksgiving and will probably make the night before. Any advice on temperature and time for reheating?

  2. Awesome recipe!!!! My husband and I are so glad we tried this recipe. We added chopped spinach as a layer as I use to make shepherds pie with sweets, spinach and ground meat before giving up meat…..we have missed this dish. Thanks for giving it back to us with an awesome recipe.

  3. Have you tried freezing this Shepard pie recipe? Would it be frozen unbaked and would it need to be thawed prior to baking it? It looks marvelous thanks!

  4. Yay you made it! I IG messaged you about possibly making a vegan version of shepherds pie when you asked for some ideas for fall foods. I cannot wait to make this! I think it’ll be especially great for packed lunches.


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