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A Not-so Classic but Very Cozy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s pie is a classic English dish served alongside cozy weather. And since it’s pretty much always drizzling over there, shepherd’s pie is a favorite. While a classic shepherd’s pie is cooked with lamb (or beef, if you’re American) we opted for lentils. Not only are lentils one of the most climate-friendly proteins, but they absorb all the delicious savory flavors you cook them in, making them a great meat alternative. We love this recipe because it’s perfect for a cozy night in and makes the whole house smell delicious.

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 4 pounds russet or Yukon potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter, or vegan butter
  • 1 cup milk, or unsweetened cashew milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Imperfect Foods Green Lentils
  • 4 sprigs thyme 
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 8 oz button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup frozen peas


  1. Prepare the mashed potatoes. Fill a large pot with salted water. Peel and quarter potatoes, and place into pot. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the potato is tender. Drain.
  2. Warm milk in the microwave in 10 second increments, until warm.
  3. Add butter to the potatoes and begin mashing. Pour in milk a little at a time while mashing until you reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the lentil filling. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Combine lentils, thyme and broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8-9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrots and garlic and cook until tender, another 8-9 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add tomato paste, stir until well combined and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for another minute. Add lentils, broth, and peas and cook until thickened. Remove thyme stems.
  8. Transfer lentil filling to a 3-quart casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Top with mashed potatoes. 
  9. Bake pie in the preheated oven until potatoes are beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • This recipe for lentil shepherd’s pie pairs well with a night in, a good book, and a side of these honey miso roasted carrots.
  • Making your own broth for this recipe is easier than you think. Here are a few tips on how you can turn scraps into delicious stock.


  • Sharon
    February 17, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    It would be super nice if one could print these recipes! I may still figure out a way but I love PRINT buttons.

    • Imperfect Foods
      February 18, 2021 at 11:27 pm

      We do have a print button at the top right hand corner of the article! Please let us know if you’re unable to use it so we can pass your feedback along! 💚

      • Sharon
        February 19, 2021 at 9:05 pm

        Well darn! I am not seeing a PRINT button for this Lentil Shepherd’s pie either.

        • Imperfect
          February 19, 2021 at 9:54 pm

          You can click file and the print to get this recipe printed out! Also we like taking screen shots of the recipes, pasting the screenshot to word doc and printing it out that way too!

    • Delores
      February 19, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      You can copy and paste into a WORD document and print from there. I also SAVE recipes to my computer this way to avoid a pile of paper.

    • Lois Patti
      February 28, 2021 at 1:39 pm

      Right click on it and it should bring up a print button

    • Mamabear
      February 28, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      Sharon; try hitting the print screen button when you have the recipe on the computer screen then open up microsoft word, right click on your mouse hit paste bingo your recipe appears. Many times this works.
      Of course you might try copy and paste but you have already tried that.

      • Imperfect
        March 2, 2021 at 9:11 pm

        Also you can press the green “print” button at the start of the recipe on the blog post 💚

    • Jan Anderson
      April 7, 2021 at 8:21 pm

      Here’s a quick way to make it fit on one page:

  • Marianne
    February 18, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    Hello! As a British living in the US, this is something I see ALL THE TIME – you cannot make “shepherd’s pie” with beef!! It’s made with lamb.
    If it’s with beef, then it’s a cottage pie.

    Also, we don’t put peas in the mix. Put ’em on the side 😉

    Otherwise, thank you for this fun alternative – having given up all the land-meats, it’s useful!

    • Imperfect Foods
      February 18, 2021 at 11:28 pm

      Love this feedback and appreciate your insight, Marianne! We know it’s sometimes a bit harder for folks to find ground lamb in different areas so we wanted to be sure to include an alternative! Thanks for giving our recipe a read! 💚

    • Lois Patti
      February 28, 2021 at 1:41 pm

      makes sense but in the US it is still called shepherds pie

  • Jenny
    February 18, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Question: My son does not like mushrooms. What would be a good substitute in this recipe?

    • Imperfect Foods
      February 18, 2021 at 11:30 pm

      Since he’s not a fan of mushrooms, we’d just recommend omitting them! You can always add more carrots to the mix to make it a bit more hearty!

    • Maria
      February 24, 2021 at 3:22 pm

      I’ve been making “veg-herd’s pie” for years, and have used all kinds of substitutes: various faux mince/“grounds”, lentils, mushrooms; and more recently, a bit of cooked bulgur or farro, and chopped nuts! Walnuts are especially good in a veg-herd’s pie like this— I toast them, then crunch or chop them coarsely. Once they’ve stewed in the saucy filling, they aren’t crunchy, but do give a nice bit of textural variety.

      • Imperfect
        March 2, 2021 at 8:34 pm

        It’s so awesome how plants can be so versatile and delicious!😛💚

  • Marianne
    February 18, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Hello! I am a Brit-in-the-US and imperfect customer, and I don’t eat mammal-meat any more so learning to sub in lentils is a useful tip; thanks for this!

    However, to be picky:
    1) Shepherd’s pie is not made with “lamb or beef” – if it’s made with beef, it’s a cottage pie!! Shepherds don’t guard cows 😉 Shepherd’s pie = lamb.

    2) you won’t find peas inside the meat/substitute mix under the potato in a “proper” pie, only on the side!

    I often see beef pies advertised as ‘shepherd’s pie’ in the US so it’s definitely not just you…

    • Imperfect Foods
      February 18, 2021 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks a ton for the feedback! We hope you let us know how the lentil alternative turns out if you give it a try! 💚

    • Maria Jette
      March 4, 2021 at 2:08 am

      How about the mystery of “shepard’s pie”? That seems to be a more popular spelling these days in our fair land. I fear many of our countrymen in the USA have never thought about the word “shepherd” in any way, including German shepherds!

      But perhaps a shepard is a relative of the leopard…

  • alicia
    February 21, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Made just as directed. Great recipe! Perfect for a wintry New England Sunday dinner. Thank you!

    • Imperfect Foods
      February 22, 2021 at 10:57 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Tim
    March 4, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    I’m not an expert on Shepherd’s Pie, but I found this recipe to be a bit top-heavy with the mashed potatoes, and a bit light on the vegetable filling. If I were to make it again, I would reduce the potato by half and bump up all the vegie filling amounts. With less potato, it may only serve 4-5 people, not 4-6. Also, I’m curious as to what Marianne (the Brit) would suggest for an appropriate name instead of Shepherd’s Pie. I nominate “Gardeners Pie”!

    • Janis
      May 9, 2021 at 10:40 am

      Gardener’s pie is excellent. I really like Maria’s use of “veg-herd pie.”

  • Jenna
    March 25, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Where can you find nutritional information on these recipes?

    • Imperfect
      March 26, 2021 at 10:07 pm

      You can use this link to find all of the nutritional information: 💚


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