Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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Lentil Shepherds Pie

It is impossible not to love shepherd’s pie. This dish has become a staple in my home, but not the traditional kind with lamb filling, as you can see. My version is stuffed with deliciously seasoned lentils and veggies, and topped with a gorgeous, vitamin-packed sweet potato mash. It’s every bit as delicious as the original, but low in fat and high in protein, fiber, and nutrients. This shepherd’s pie is the perfect simple, economical, hearty dinner that the whole family will love.

Makes 6 servings


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 4 1/2 cups prepared lentils
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon basil + more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 2+ tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • Sea salt

Shepherds Pie

Step One

Before anything else, peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small chunks. Get them in a pot of water and let them boil for at least 15-20 minutes, depending on size.

Step Two

Meanwhile, chop the carrots, onion, and celery (mirepoix) into small chunks. To make things super easy, I often buy a pre-cut mirepoix at Trader Joe’s. Or you can use a food processor. Add this to a large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of water and allow them to soften.

Step Three

Once the veggies are softened, add the prepared lentils to the pan. You can use any kind of lentils you’d like… dried (cook them yourself), canned (drained), or pre-made lentils in a package (as long as the don’t have any unnatural ingredients). Allow these to cook for several minutes with the mirepoix.

Preheat the oven to 350º F

Step Four

Open the cans of diced tomatoes (but do not drain them) and add these along with a tablespoon of chopped (or dried) basil leaves, a handful of chopped spinach, and a splash of soy sauce. Let this filling simmer for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to mingle.

Step Five

When the sweet potatoes are soft all the way through, remove them from the heat and drain the water. Mash with a little salt and a splash of non-dairy milk until the consistency is perfect.

Add the lentil filling to a 9 x 13 pan and top with a layer of sweet potatoes. Or, like pictured, you can add to individual oven-safe bowls. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the topping becomes slightly browned. Allow to cool before serving. This recipe yields about 6 servings and makes excellent leftovers the next evening for a 2-for-1 dinner.

Lentil Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie Bite

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 Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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  1. This looks delicious! I love shepherd’s pie in all it’s little twists and will be sure to give this one a try. Pinning to my 7 Day Real Food Challenge Board. Thanks!

  2. Amber McKinley says:

    Looks delicious & I am heading to Trader Joe’s this week for the ingredients! CANNOT wait to try!
    Where did you get the serving bowls that are shown in the pictures? Love them!

    • Awesome! Trader Joe’s actually has their own brand of prepared black lentils in the produce area and that’s what I use, two boxes of those. They work perfectly if you can find them.

      I got the bowls at Home Goods, a store with random discount home/dining stuff. They’re these cool terracotta bowls that are safe for stovetop, oven, microwave – everything. I love them!

  3. These look amazing, way better than the original version! I love lentils and I’m sure they taste great in Shepherds Pie :D

  4. This looks delicious! What could be substituted for the tomatoes (my daughter cannot eat them)? Thanks!!

    • Thanks, Alyssa! Hmm, the tomatoes do add quite a bit to this recipe but you might be able to get away with completely omitting them. As far as a replacement, I would almost be tempted to try finely-dicing 1 cup of potatoes or sweet potatoes, boiling them for a few minutes, and adding them to the filling. I don’t know how well that would work, but it could be worth a try!

    • How about some summer squash, like zucchini in place of tomato?

  5. I have been waiting for a healthy shepherd’s pie recipe for quite some time! Seriously, I always die with envy when I see savory, meaty pie recipes…

    In terms of subbing the tomatoes, what would you think of using a fruit, like a peach?

    After following your blog and others like it for so long, I finally decided to start my own, http://adventurefaceliz.wordpress.com. I’d really appreciate if you checked it out!

  6. It not only looks delicious, it IS delicious! Cooked this yesterday and added a little splash of balsamic vinegar as my own touch. Will be making this again for sure! Thank you for the recipe and the inspiration!!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. Since I stopped eating any meat product, I thought I’d have to give up on shepherd’s pie :( which I really loved it … I’ll definitely try it soon :)

  8. My husband hates both lentils and sweet potatoes in any form, so I decided to make this for myself and divide it into freezer meals to take for lunch. I tried it for lunch today and it is so delicious! Too bad my husband won’t try it:) I think I could eat this dish every day for lunch, and it will be especially good when the weather cools. True comfort food!

    • Thanks, Lana! Yes, it definitely keeps well in the refrigerator/freezer and I could eat it every day too! Too bad about your husband, he doesn’t know what he’s missing! :)

  9. God answered my prayers. Well, rather you than God ;-)
    Thank you so much for this recipe and solving my vegan but shepherds pie craving problem!! And its so so yum!
    Also love your Pad Thai and Sesame Rice Bowl!
    Your recipes are very inspiring, so I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your ingenious ideas!

    Greetings from Munich, Germany

  10. This looks so good! I have everything to make it but the soy sauce. How would it be without?

  11. Hello! I really would love to make this but I live in Europe and here we don’t measure with cups. Would you mind telling how much it is in grams? That would help a lot since I’ve been looking at those pictures for a while and reaaaally want to cook! lol

    • Hi Demet, 1/2 cup is 120 ml. I think all my measurements in this recipe are a multiple of 1/2 cup so that should be good! If not, search Google for the conversion and it’ll give it to you! :)

      • Hello! I actually did better and purchased a cup measurer! I can’t wait to cook this delicious shepherd’s pie! Yum!

  12. Karolyn Henderson says:

    Made this over the weekend- such a triumph! I used the mirepoix from trader joes like suggested and my favorite organic canned lentils and could not BELIEVE how fast and easy this came together. I had regular potatoes and fresh thyme from my CSA box and used those instead of the sweet potatoes and basil and it was great. Will def try sweet potatoes next time tho, love them. Great great recipe!

  13. Made this tonight. It was delicious – even my 9 – year – old loved it. Thank you!

  14. Recently found your site. You have some good food ideas.
    I made this tonight only really changed it. We cook big batches of beans and freeze them. So instead of lentils we had 3 and a half cup pintos and 1 cup garbanzo. I enhanced the seasoning with thyme and marjoram. I threw in some mushrooms. Added more carrots. My husband does not eat nightshades so no tomatoes but used veggie broth to add the liquid. In the end it was really, really great, the savory beans and thee sweet potatoes complimented each other really well. So thanks for the recipe “guideline”.

    • Hey Amy! I actually had this for dinner tonight with white potatoes and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Ooh, thanks for sharing your modifications – that sounds really yummy! :)

  15. I finally tried making this today. I added some tabasco to spice it up a little and a splash of balsamic vinegar along with the soy sauce and WOW I can’t believe how amazing it turned out. For such a simple recipe it is so satisfying. And filling. Thanks again for the recipe!

  16. I love this recipe. I will try it with potatoe this time. I think it has a good balance of amino acids. Thanks so much.

  17. By prepared lentils, do you mean pre-soaked? Seems like a lot of lentils if using dry.

    • Hi Melissa, by prepared I mean already cooked. And you’re right – that would be a lot of dry lentils! :) Like with rice, the cooked (prepared) amount is much more than the dry (unprepared) amount.

  18. I made this last night for company and it was delicious. I added Worcestershire instead of soy sauce and I used Franks red hot for a little kick. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Yay! Thanks for letting me know, Kathy! I love the Worcestershire and hot sauce idea. I agree that this could benefit from an extra kick… I’ll have to try that next time!

  19. This was/is amazing! Makes a lot! I had to cut it in half and still had leftover filling! Thank you! yay! Day number 2 without any animal products.. folks, I need support! Keep me going! thanks! great recipe!

  20. Mmm… this yummy dish is cooking in the oven right now but I took a few spoonfuls out and it tastes delicious! So excited for my family to eat it for dinner tonight! Thanks Andrew :)

  21. Cooked this for dinner last night, delicious.
    I made a couple of adjustments though – instead of two tins of tomatoes I added one tin & 2 tablespoons of tomato paste plus 1 cup of veg stock, double amount of basil and added grated Parmesan to the top of the sweet potato.
    Thank you for sharing.

  22. Jessica Geary says:

    I’m wanting to do a double batch of this, and freeze one.
    Would cooking temp and time be the same?

    • A double batch is a smart idea, Jessica! This is one of those things I can eat endlessly and always wish I had more. :) I assume the temps would be the same and I’ve never tried freezing it (never lasts that long!) but it should do fine in a well-sealed container.

  23. I do the same with quorn or soya mince and curry powder for a change, then top with sweet potato mash. Its delicious.

  24. Catherine says:

    Thanks for this- I can’t wait! I am hooked on your blog! How much dry lentils do you use to get the desired quantity here?
    Thanks :)

    • Hey Catherine! Actually, I’ve mostly used pre-cooked lentils in this recipe so I couldn’t say for sure. Though, I would recommend making them yourself as you’re planning on doing – you’ll get more flavor and they’re less processed. I would suggest starting with maybe 2 cups of dry lentils and however much water the package says to use. You’ll likely have more than 4 1/2 cups in the end, but you can always find uses for leftover lentils! :)

      • This is so good! My husband (your typical meat & potatoes guy) LOVES this. It makes a ton so we freeze some for later meals. My 18 month old gobbles it up like nobody’s business, too ;-)

  25. I have been looking for a mushroom-less shepherd’s pie and voilà! found yours! I used cauliflower mashed “potatoes” for the topping just to try and it was great. My husband LOVED it! He wants to have it every week now! I think I will try it with the sweet potato topping next time! such a great recipe! Thank you!

  26. Was looking for a healthy vegetarian recipe to try and stumbled onto this….YAY! Really yummy and a big hit with both my teenage, vegetarian daughter AND my carnivorous husband. I substituted zucchini for spinach since I just didn’t have any spinach on hand at the moment and I added some cooked barley, as well (about 1:4 ratio of barley to lentils). Very filling, really tasty and makes a bunch for extra meals. THANKS!

    • Cool! I’m so glad your family liked it, and your suggestions sound really good – barley could add a great flavor and texture to this dish… I’ll have to try that!

  27. Saul clamen says:

    I went on to the Internet and saw where several people suggested using roasted red peppers puréed as a sub. For tomatoes hope this helps.

  28. Ivan de Wergifosse says:

    Tried this and I felt that there were too many lentils and not enough chunks of veg, but I realise coming back to the page my downfall was likely due to the fact that I used four and a half cups of dry unprepared lentils rather than prepared, and so when they WERE prepared I had a monstrous amount of lentils for only half a cup of each of the vegetables, and so I won’t make that mistake again! Also, I didn’t have enough sweet potato, so that didn’t help either. The taste was lovely, and I’m sure it will be much better once I do it right! Looking forward to round two!

  29. Hmmm – not sure about this one. I made it tonight and I have to say, it was pretty bland…I added a ton of hot sauce but it still came up flat. I do a lot of cooking and a lot of vegan cooking but this will not be in the rotation. Too bad.


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