This easy vegan shepherd’s pie is a plant-based twist on the traditional comfort food dish. And it is packed with flavor. I am sure it will satisfy all your cravings for a warm, comforting meal. This is the perfect dish for those cozy nights when you want something filling and super delicious yet vegan.
When it is grey, wet, and cold outside, all you need is a warm, filling, and homemade meal. Look no further, and let me show you my favorites: a steaming bowl of hearty vegan jackfruit beef stew, a rich and warm vegetable stew, or a plateful of veggie-loaded vegan pot pie! They are all part of my vegan Christmas recipe collection.
❤️ Why you’ll love it
Vegan comfort food cannot get any better than this vegan shepherd’s pie. It is the perfect combination of rainbow carrots, zucchini, and eggplant, all topped with creamy vegan mashed potatoes.
This is a top choice for my Christmas dinner. My whole family loves that it contains no lentils, grains, soy, or even nuts. This makes it a great option for serving my family and friends during the holidays without worrying that it will not cater to any of their dietary needs.
The warm, savory, classic flavors make it the perfect choice for fall or winter. It is a delicious homemade meal that looks just as good as it tastes. It is also pretty easy to make, even for beginners!
🧾 Key ingredients
Carrots, zucchini, and eggplant are the main stars of our stew. These vegetables are delicious together and add a vibrant splash of color to our dish. It gives our vegan shepherd’s pie a warm and cozy feel.
Tomato paste and vegetable broth are essential for creating a flavorful, hearty stew. The tomato paste gives us that classic tasty gravy flavor, while the vegetable broth adds a savory depth that compliments all the other plant-based ingredients.
Thyme and bay leaves are key herbs in this recipe. They enhance the savory flavor of the stew and bring all the ingredients together.
It cannot be without a mashed potato topping. They add a creamy, comforting touch to this vegan savory pie.
Dairy-free butter and dairy-free milk are used to make our mashed potatoes creamy and rich without any actual dairy. I prefer using homemade cashew milk for its creamy texture and subtle sweetness.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
You will need a good quality cast-iron Dutch oven for this vegan shepherd’s pie recipe. It is perfect for cooking the veggie stew filling since it distributes heat evenly. This will guarantee you cook your vegetables perfectly. It is also an ideal option for stovetop-to-oven recipes.
Preparing the ingredients
Start by preparing your vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Then, peel and dice the carrots and eggplant into small cubes. Dice the zucchini, leaving the skin on, into small cubes as well.
Making vegan shepherd’s pie
Preheat your frying pan with a metal handle or an enameled Dutch oven to medium heat. Begin by sautéing the onion and garlic. Once they are sautéed, add the diced carrots and stir well. Let them cook for a few minutes.
Add the diced eggplant to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir well and let it cook for a few minutes.
Next, add the diced zucchini and bay leaves to the pan. Remember, zucchini cooks quickly, so add it last. Stir well and let it cook for a few minutes.
Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir well. Pour half the vegetable stock and let it cook until the excess water evaporates. Add the remaining stock and cook until all the vegetables are soft. Once done, remove from heat.
For the vegan mashed potatoes, peel and dice the potatoes. Boil them in salted water until they are soft. Remember, the smaller the dice, the faster they will cook.
Drain the water and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl once the potatoes are soft. Add dairy-free butter and milk and season with salt. Use a hand mixer to mash the potatoes until they have a smooth, foamy texture.
Preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit (200 C). Add the vegetable stew filling first to take four ramekins (8 oz) or one larger oven-safe pot (8×8). Spread it evenly before topping it with the creamy vegan mashed potatoes.
Bake the pie for about 15 minutes under a broiler or until it gets light brown on top and the stew bubbles up around the sides. Enjoy your delicious, homemade vegan shepherd’s pie!
💡 Expert tip
When making this vegan shepherd’s pie, always remember to cook your veggies until they are soft. Unlike vegan pot pies, you should keep the vegetables slightly firm as they cook in the oven. For this recipe, you want them to be fully cooked before going into the oven since the broiler is only used to create a beautifully browned and crispy mashed potato topping.
Mushrooms are a great choice for this vegan shepherd’s pie and will also add a delicious texture to the stew. You can use any of your favorite varieties by dicing them up and cooking them in the veggie stew filling.
Incorporate more root vegetables like parsnip, rutabaga, or celeriac. These veggies will add a hearty and comforting flavor to your vegan shepherd’s pie. Simply chop them into cubes and add them to the stew simultaneously with the carrots.
Boost the protein in this pie with some kidney beans, lentils, or peas. These legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein and will make your vegan shepherd’s pie even more satisfying. Add them to the stew during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent them from becoming too soft.
🥣 Serving ideas
A refreshing salad can balance the richness of the shepherd’s pie. Consider serving it with shredded Brussels sprouts, quinoa berry salad, kale apple salad, or any other vibrant, crunchy salad you like.
❄️ Storing tips
Storing and reheating this vegan shepherd’s pie is convenient, and the flavors even deepen over time, making your leftovers just as delicious, if not more!
To store leftovers, allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer them to an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh and tasty for up to four days.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the mashed potato topping, this dish does not fare well if you choose to freeze it. The texture of the potatoes can become grainy and watery upon thawing.
When you are ready to reheat your vegan shepherd’s pie, place it in a preheated oven at a moderate temperature and bake until it is heated through. This should take about fifteen to twenty minutes.
You can also use the microwave if you are reheating a single serving. Just be sure to stir the pie halfway through the reheating process to ensure it heats evenly.
For the best results, we recommend using either Yukon or Russet potatoes for this recipe. These types of potatoes are starchy and will give your mashed potatoes a fluffy and creamy texture.
A vegan cottage pie is essentially the same as a shepherd’s pie. Instead of meat, you can use a variety of vegan alternatives such as textured vegetable protein (TVP), lentils, crumbled tofu, or a walnut-mushroom-cauliflower mince.
To guarantee even cooking, chop your vegetables into similar-sized pieces. In this recipe, I add the carrots first, which take the longest to cook, followed by the zucchini and eggplant.
If you find your stew has too much liquid, you can thicken it by adding a tablespoon of flour or starch. Repeat this process if necessary. This can occur if the zucchini releases a lot of water or if you add other vegetables that behave similarly, like mushrooms.
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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (No Lentils!)
Cooking Veggie Stew Filling
- Peel, then chop onion and garlic into fine pieces. Peel, then dice carrots and eggplant into smaller cubes. Dice zucchini with skin on, also into smaller cubes.
- Preheat the frying pan to medium heat and fry onion and garlic first. Once it’s sauteed, add diced carrots. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
- Add diced eggplant and season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
- Add diced zucchini and bay leaves at last, as zucchini needs a shorter time to be ready. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
- Add tomato paste and mix it well before pouring in the vegetable stock. I usually only add half of the stock. I only add the other half when the excess water evaporated.
- Cook until all vegetables are soft. When ready, take them off the heat.
Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- Peel and dice potatoes. Cooked them in salted water until soft. The smaller you dice the potatoes, the faster they will be ready.
- When the potatoes are soft, drain the water and transfer the cooked potatoes into a large bowl. (Reserve cooking water if you want to make oil-free mashed potatoes.)
- Add dairy-free butter and milk (we used our homemade vegan cashew milk) and season with some salt.
- For mashing the potatoes, I use a hand mixer. In this way, you will get a very smooth almost foamy texture at the end. For more tips see our vegan mashed potatoes recipe.
Baking Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Preheat the oven at 400F (200C).
- Take 4 ramekins (8-oz) or 1 larger oven-safe pot (8×8) and add the vegetable stew filling first. Spread it evenly before topping it with creamy vegan mashed potatoes.
- Bake for 15 minutes under a broiler or until it gets light brown on top and the stew bubbles up around the sides.
- Chop vegetables evenly – We added carrots first, as they need the most time to be cooked, then zucchini and eggplant.
- Cook the veggies until soft – Contrary to vegan pot pies, you shouldn’t cook them until they are soft as pot pies need time in the oven to get the top crust baked. However, with Shepherd’s Pie, we recommend cooking the veggies until they are soft and only broiling the top of the mashed potatoes in the oven.
- Thickening the stew – If you feel that your stew has too much liquid, you can thicken it, starting with one Tablespoon of flour or starch and repeat if needed. It can happen if the zucchini releases much water or you add other veggies that behave similarly to mushrooms.
- Extra safety – As the stew is bubbling up, we usually put a sheet pan below the oven-safe pot to capture any liquid pouring over the sides. Easier to clean the oven as you only have to wash the sheet pan, not your entire oven.
UPDATED: This recipe was originally posted in October 2018, but was rewritten and republished with detailed instructions and tips in October 2021.