Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash

By • October 17, 2012 • 33 Comments


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Author Notes: OK, even the easiest of shepherd's pies can feel like an undertaking. To make this delicious, hearty dish a lot more accessible, try cooking the lentils and prepping the vegetables one day in advance. On the day of assembly, mash the potatoes and parsnips early in the day, and sautee the veggies and assemble the pie later on, before dinner. Leftovers can easily be frozen. And I dare you not to eat all of the mashed parsnips and potatoes before you even get to finishing the recipe!Gena Hamshaw

Serves 6-8

  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 4 large) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almond, soy, rice, or other non-dairy milk
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 2 tbsp
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced evenly
  • 2 ribs celery, diced evenly
  • 6 ounces baby bella, cremini, or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup brown or green lentils, dry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  1. Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot and submerge in cold water (there should be at least 1 inch of water over the vegetables). Salt water well. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow potatoes and parsnips to cook for approximately 25-35 minutes, or until both vegetables are very fork tender. Drain, return the vegetables to the pot, and add 2/3 cup milk, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash well with a potato masher. If you need more milk, add the remaining 1/3 cup. Set the mashed potatoes and parsnips aside.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, bring 1 1/2 cup lentils and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce and simmer until lentils have absorbed all liquid, and are soft (about 30 or 35 minutes). Set lentils aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and golden (10 minutes or so). Add the carrots and celery and cook till both vegetables are tender (another 8 minutes). Add the cremini mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes before adding the lentils, the rosemary, the thyme, and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Simmer the mixture, stirring well to incorporate flavors. Add more liquid as needed: you don’t want there to be too much broth or liquid in the bottom of the pan, because you’ll get a runny shepherd’s pie, but you do want it to be quite moist. When everything is warm and well mixed, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. In a large casserole dish, layer the lentil and veggie mixture. Spread the mashed potatoes delicately and evenly over. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are browning. Sprinkle with extra rosemary, if desired, and serve.

Comments (33) Questions (1)

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2 months ago Beth

This was awesome! Added bacon, Worcestershire sauce, and Montreal steak seasoning to lentils to make them "beefier" also added dairy...cream and Parmesan cheese made the mash awesome. Sorry, no longer vegan, but superb recipe!

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3 months ago Katie Koteen

Amazing. I'm always looking for things to do with parsnips.

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3 months ago caseymsy

Tried this yesterday .loved it, tweaked it slightly, added some crushed tomato and used potato only.sprinkled cheese on top ,so not truly vegan.

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3 months ago Christine T

As per the advice of some comments, I added tomato paste, and red wine vinegar to the lentil mix. I also used shiitake mushrooms as I prefer those. What is a really great addition as well is to add a balsamic reduction or aged balsamic to the dish after its plated. It adds some extra flavor and a nice sweetness. I am definitely going to make this again, and I'm planning to try with sweet potato next time.

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5 months ago infinitezest

I added tomato paste, fresh minced rosemary, and a heavy splash of red wine vinegar to the lentil vegetable mixture. I also added an entire (mashed) roasted head of garlic to the potato-parsnip mash for extra flavor. It was a hit at Thanksgiving and the leftovers were great!

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5 months ago Emily

To bulk up the flavor, I added half a cup a red wine to the veggies before I added the mushrooms to the pan and I also added some tomato paste and cornstarch to the veggie broth. Between those add-ins and the dried rosemary, this definitely was not a bland dish. Everyone went back for seconds!

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5 months ago realfoods

This is a marvelous recipe, and a perfect one for thanksgiving!

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6 months ago calangus

This comment comes as I'm eating my second helping. This dish creates a wonderful memory.I added some dried porcini. It has a really earthy fall taste to it. This is a beautiful recipe and I'll be making it again in the near future.

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6 months ago Hope :)

Oh, this looks fantastic. A perfect addition to our college-football-party menu. :)

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7 months ago Tobius

Made this tonight, and it was really good! I left the mushrooms out, and it didn't hurt it one bit, I also left out the rosemary, but other than that, I did as the recipe said, yummy. I even hate lentils, so I was not sure I would like this, but surprise on me, I did :-)

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7 months ago smonfor

Made this tonight - I'm not vegan, or vegetarian, but am trying to incorporate more meatless options for budget reasons. I used cauliflower instead of parsnips and then I added tomatoes and peas to the lentil mix. I think next time I would also put in tomato paste and also use salt pork with the lentils to add more meat flavor for my husband and help take away the grainy lentil texture some more. I added butter as another commenter suggested, and that helped - but I think the tomato paste and the salt pork would finish it off. Will definitely make again.

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8 months ago Dante Holmes

I am just learning about vegan due health reasons, and so I am looking for recipes that don't use soy or a lot beans, and it is not easy, but this looks very doable, will be trying in the near future..I may have to take the mushrooms out, not allowed those very often, will it ruin the recipe if I leave those out? Thanks..

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11 months ago Ceege

I can't wait to try this dish. Since I am the only one in family that is vegan, would it be possible to make the full amount, divide into 6 individual casseroles, freeze and store. I would like to have them available for easy dinners and just have to thaw and bake in oven? Has anyone tried this method?

Stringio

about 1 year ago Brendon McNabb

Just made this, It was delicious! I didn't have any parsnip, so I use radishes, and it worked of great

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about 1 year ago lsgerman

I'm going to give this a try tonight. I have the lentils and potatoes and parsnips cooked as well as the lentils. I'm pretty much a novice at cooking and hope I'm not being to ambitious here. Can you tell me how long you "Simmer the mixture, stirring well to incorporate flavors." for? Also based on the comments below, what type of seasonings should I add for an extra boost?

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about 1 year ago Whats4Dinner

I'll be making this a third time this weekend for our vegan friends coming over for dinner. We obviously like it. The only thing I might suggest is offer a weight of parsnips and not quantity. Sometimes at WF, the parsnips are huge and sometimes they're tiny, but always pleasantly fresh. This time I'll have get 2.5 pounds of parsnips, like the potatoes.

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about 1 year ago Ameranco

Out of the park! This was a big hit with my fiance, who loved that it was substantial and had "heft" on account of the lentils, and also that it held itself together well. Didn't miss the meat at all. I made this in two portions of three servings, so we ate it for dinner, I took it for lunch the next day, and the other three-serving dish I made at the same time froze beautifully. This was so good, I'm sure it won't be long before we're pulling out the other half! An instant favorite.

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about 1 year ago Bonnie Egbert

one word.....DELICIOUS!

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over 1 year ago Ruth chiari

for macrobiotic what can I substitute potatoes with?

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6 months ago vnsata

Cauliflower? Someone else substituted parsnips for radishes, so I'm sure that would work too.

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over 1 year ago Maggie Savage

Hi Gena! I'm making this for Christmas dinner, using Jerusalem artichokes instead of parsnips! Thanks for more fabulous animal-friendly food. Happy holidays. Xo

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over 1 year ago edna's daughter

I made this for Thanksgiving. It's a good and I would make it again BUT the recipe needs to be tweaked. First, it needs to be generously seasoned. Based on the current recipe, you will have a pretty bland dish. Season the lentil mixture well and season the potato parsnips mash too! I did not make it vegan and used plenty of butter instead of olive oil and half and half instead of non-dairy replacements. Also, the pie really did not brown until I put it under the boiler for about 10 minutes.

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over 1 year ago Christa Rose

Made this last night and used the lentils from Trader Joes that are already prepared - just need to microwave for a few minutes and then I added them to the saute pan as directed by recipe. Worked out great and saved time and an extra pan! Next time, I think I am going to flavor the mashed potatoes with lots more seasonings. Delish!

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over 1 year ago Veganette

I made this yesterday, and it's absolutely delicious. I used red lentils, as that's what I had on hand, and I think they worked well.

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Made this tonight. Brightened up the lentils a bit with a couple teaspoons of tomato paste and a generous splash of red wine vinegar. Delicious!! Really like the rosemary with the parsnips. ;o)

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Can't wait to try this one! Love it. ;o)

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over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

We're not vegan (anymore), so I used cream for the whipped parsnip topping. We're having this for dinner, so the topping is the only part I've completed. You're right though, I can't stop eating it for the life of me.

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over 1 year ago Knulu

Can I prepare and assemble the pie the night before and cook the pie the next day?

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over 1 year ago Gena Hamshaw

Definitely!

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over 1 year ago ATG117

looks superb!

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over 1 year ago MaryWynn

What volume of cooked beans do you need? I like to make a big pot of beans each week to use in various things. Thoughts on bean substitutions? I eat a lot of chickpeas and navy beans...

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over 1 year ago Gena Hamshaw

Hi Mary!

I think any smaller bean would do (kidney might get too mushy, same with cannellini). I'd try navy beans, aduki, or chickpeas. 3 cups cooked.

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over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

This is going to be on the menu very soon!