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piece of vegetarian shepherds pie on plate
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4.92 from 23 votes

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

This unique vegetarian shepherd's pie is made with plant-based 'beef' and topped with a root vegetable mash. Same tastes and textures as a classic beef shepherds pie  - and just as delicious. 
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
rest time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 5 -6
Author: Cheryl


Root Vegetable/Potato Mash Topping

  • 2 pounds root vegetables, cut into 1 inch/2.5cm cubes, Note 1
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, divided (optional) (3 for mash; 1 to sprinkle before baking)
  • 1 tablespoon -2 light cream or milk, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional) (about 3 small)

Filling Layer (in order of use)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup (160 grams) chopped onions (about 1/2 a medium onion)
  • 1 cup (110 grams) small diced carrots (or half carrots, half other veggie like peppers, celeriac, parsnip, etc)
  • 3/4 pound (340g) plant based beef (best brands: Impossible Beef and Beyond Burger)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, Note 2
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or broth (I use 3/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup red wine), Note 3
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn niblets
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped


  • GET READY: Preheat oven to 400F/204C and place rack in top 1/3 of oven. Spray an 7-8 inch (18-20cm) square pan with oil.
    °Boil: Place potatoes and other root vegetables in a medium pot. Add enough cold water to cover veggies by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add 2-3 tsp salt. Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium and gently boil for about 15 minutes or until soft and fork tender.
    °Drain: Drain vegetables in a colander and return to the pot. On medium heat, shake cooked vegetables to evaporate water for 1 minute.
    °Mash: Add butter, green onions and 3 tablespoon Parmesan (if using) and 1-2 tablespoons milk/cream if you like (not too much milk - you don't want the potatoes soupy). Mash with a fork or potato masher. Do not use a food processor or immersion blender. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
    ° Heat oil in large skillet to medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    ° Add plant based beef and chop it up into small pieces with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Stir in garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until 'beef' is brown.
    ° Stir in flour for 2 minutes.
    ° Add broth/wine, frozen corn and spinach. Stir to combine well. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes to let the mixture thicken for a rich gravy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • ASSEMBLE AND BAKE/BROIL: Spoon 'beef' filling layer into casserole dish. Top with a thick layer ~3 cups/630 grams root vegetable mash (you may not need all the mash you made). Fluff topping with fork. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan if desired.
    °Bake for 15 minutes. Note 3. Turn oven to Broil.
    °Broil for 2-3 minutes until topping is golden brown. Top with extra green onions if you like.
    °Rest on counter for 10 minutes. Serve.


  1. Root Vegetables - Use two or more of: white potatoes (I like Yukon/yellow potatoes best), sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga (swede), celery root (celeriac). For this recipe, I use 1 sweet potato, 1 yellow potato, 1 parsnip and 1 carrot for a total of about 2 lbs (a bit more or less won't matter). Alternatively, use 3 cups fresh, store-bought or leftover mashed potatoes. 
  2. Broth: Good brands for vegetable broth, based on taste tests, are Brodo, Zoup, Swanson’s Organic Vegetable Broth and Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base (mixed with water). If you are not a vegetarian, use beef broth (my favorite is Campbell's Beef Broth 30% less sodium in a can).
  3. Seasoning substitution: You can replace the thyme and rosemary with a total of 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning. 
  4. Baking: If you made the filling earlier and it is now cooled, add about 10-15 minutes extra time to the baking. 
  5. Make Ahead/Freeze: 
    • To make up to 2 days ahead
      • Prepare the shepherds pie recipe and refrigerate it. When ready to use, bake for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes. 
    • To freeze before baking
      • Prepare the full recipe without baking. Freeze, well wrapped in casserole dish, for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen for about an hour at 350F/176C, then broil for a few minutes. 
    • To freeze after baking
      • Freeze the fully baked shepherds pie for up to 2 months, well wrapped. Bake from frozen at 350F/176C for about an hour or until heated through, covered with foil.
    • Store leftovers
      • In an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Nutrition values are loose estimates as they depend on the type of root vegetables used and include all the root veg mash (you will likely not need it all). Wine is also not included. 
Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 1631mg | Potassium: 1266mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 5835IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 4mg