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Hearty Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

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Luxuriously creamy mashed potato atop ‘mince’ and veggies that are packed FULL of flavour, this vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe is a comforting dinner that’s guaranteed to satisfy!

Vegetarian shepherd's pie in a dish topped with a sprig of rosemary. There's cutlery, dark bowls and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

Shepherd’s pie is an absolute British classic. But there’s no reason to miss out on this hearty dish if you’re vegetarian, doing meat free Mondays or just trying new things!

A close up of a large spoonful of vegetarian shepherd's pie up against a deep blue backdrop

Just like my vegetarian mince and onion pie, this recipe is a personal favourite of mine. Not only is it a really cheap meal (the soya mince makes it cost even less than the meat versions!) but it’s so SO tasty!

A birds eye view of vegetarian shepherd's pie with a spoonful taken out of it. There are dark bowls, cutlery bay leaves and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

The soya mince absorbs all those beautiful flavours from the stock, rosemary and other ingredients perfectly, and the mash?! Oh my life that MASH! It’s the creamiest, butteriest most oh my word mashed potato in all the land. Trust me, this is one you need to try!

Vegetarian shepherd's pie in a dish topped with a sprig of rosemary. There's cutlery, dark bowls and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

What is the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?

In short, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. That’s the only difference. But since we’re making a vegetarian pie here, I guess you could call it whichever one you like!

A birds eye view of vegetarian shepherd's pie with a spoonful taken out of it. There are dark bowls, cutlery bay leaves and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

What can you eat with vegetarian shepherd’s pie?

I personally think that shepherd’s pie is an ‘all in one’ kind of meal. By that I mean, you already have everything in the dish as it is! You’ve got your protein (the soya mince), your carbs (the potatoes) the veggies (onion, carrot and peas) and it even has it’s own gravy!

Vegetarian shepherd's pie on a deep blue backdrop with a light brown napkin. Someone is holding a large spoon full of the pie above it.

If you really wanted to add something next to it on the plate, I’d recommend a portion of roast vegetables or maybe even some Yorkshire puddings. Other than that, you really don’t need to add to shepherd’s pie. It’s perfect as it is!

Vegetarian shepherd's pie in a dish topped with a sprig of rosemary. There's cutlery, dark bowls and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

Can you freeze homemade vegetarian shepherd’s pie?

Yes! Make up to the point where you are about to bake then cover really well and freeze for up to 1 month.

You can even cook it from frozen! Cook in a 170ºC/Fan 160ºC/338ºF for 60–90 minutes until piping hot throughout. You can heat under the grill for a few minutes to brown the potatoes further if you wish.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie in a dish with a spoonful taken out of it and a sprig of rosemary on top. There's cutlery, dark bowls and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

How do you make creamy mashed potatoes from scratch?

Now this is an accumulation of watching various videos, reading chef tips and my own experimentation over the years. Here are my 3 best tips to achieving the most smooth, creamy and buttery mash EVER…

  1. Use waxy potatoes instead of floury. Yes, I realise this one goes against the grain but it works, I promise! They hold their shape really well and become super creamy in texture. Although, for this to work well, you need tip number 2…
  2. Use a potato ricer instead of alternatives like a masher, food processor or whisk. You would not believe the difference this makes! I have this one and it’s fantastic! Chef’n Fresh potato ricer (affiliate link)
  3. Don’t be afraid to add all the butter. Potato is really absorbent and it will soak it straight up. Meaning if you don’t add enough, it will potentially be dry instead of creamy. Plus, it really enhances the flavour if you use a good quality brand like Lurpak.
Vegetarian shepherd's pie in a dish topped with a sprig of rosemary. There's cutlery, dark bowls and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

What you need to know

In this section I’m going to share everything I know about how to make a great vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Don’t worry, it’s not mountains of pointless information, it’s only the stuff I think will be truly helpful to you! Trust me, it’s worth the read before you set out to make it… especially the Recipe Tips bit!

A close up of a large spoonful of vegetarian shepherd's pie up against a deep blue backdrop

Ingredients

Here is everything you need to know when sourcing your ingredients for vegetarian shepherd’s pie…

For the mashed potato

  • Potatoes – Get a waxy variety. I used red potatoes which worked great! Other varieties like Charlotte, Anya or Jersey Royals would work too. *
  • Butter – Use a good quality brand like Lurpak salted. Trust me, you can really taste the difference!
  • Milk – I used semi skimmed but any milk would work, even dairy free like soya or rice.
  • Salt & Pepper – Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper give a great flavour here.

*Note, for waxy potatoes to work well, you need a potato ricer like this one: Chef’n Fresh potato ricer (affiliate link)

A birds eye view of vegetarian shepherd's pie with a spoonful taken out of it. There are dark bowls, cutlery bay leaves and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

For the mince

  • Oil – Olive oil adds a nice flavour but it’s not essential. Vegetable, sunflower or rice bran would work, they just wouldn’t add to the flavour.
  • Onion – Use a regular brown onion for a nicely rounded flavour.
  • Carrots – Two carrots about 20cm long by 2-3cm thick is the perfect amount.
  • Garlic – Nice, large garlic cloves work best for flavour here. If you only have small or medium, you might want to increase the quantity.
  • Flour – This is to thicken the sauce a little. I used plain flour (all purpose) but self raising would also work.
  • Wine – A nice rich, fruity red wine works perfectly in this dish! White or rosé just won’t have the same effect on flavour.
  • Stock – Mushroom stock is the secret weapon here. It gives meat free dishes a very rich and meaty flavour. I like this one – Knorr mushroom stock (affiliate link)
  • Fresh Herbs – Use fresh rosemary and bay leaves over dry if you can, it really makes a difference.
  • Vinegar – Balsamic vinegar adds a tang and a sweetness that can’t be replaced by any other type of vinegar. Don’t substitute!
  • Tomato Puree – In a tube or a can, there’s not really anywhere you can go wrong with this.
  • Salt & Pepper – A good seat salt and freshly ground black pepper used throughout the cooking process can make the world of difference in the overall flavour.
  • Peas – Frozen peas are great here! Plus there’s less waste when you can keep a bag in the freezer 🙂
  • Vegetarian Mince – I used Asda’s (Wallmart) own brand meat free soya mince which, in my opinion, is one of the best soya minces on the market! Tesco’s own brand and Quorn are also good too.
A close up view of vegetarian shepherd's pie topped with a rosemary sprig with a spoonful taken out of it. There's a fork and a dark bowl in the background set over a deep blue backdrop,

How to make vegetarian shepherd’s pie: simplified

For the mashed potato

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender, drain them and press through a potato ricer.
  2. Stir through butter, milk and salt & pepper.

For the mince

  1. Fry the onion then add the carrot. Cook until softened then add the garlic.
  2. Add flour and ‘cook out’, then pour in the wine.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and simmer until thickened. Allow to cool slightly.

To assemble and cook

  1. Spoon the mince into an oven proof dish and top with the mashed potato.
  2. Fluff the potato with a fork then bake for 20 mins until golden.
Vegetarian shepherd's pie on a deep blue backdrop with a light brown napkin. Someone is holding a large spoon full of the pie above it.

Recipe tips

We all make mistakes, yes – even me! Actually, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to 🙂 So here’s some helpful tips to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did…

  • Read the recipe and prep your ingredients before you begin to avoid any unexpected surprises.
  • Use waxy potatoes together with a potato ricer to make the best creamy mashed potatoes EVER! This is the one I have – Chef’n Fresh potato ricer (affiliate link)
  • Season the mince throughout the cooking process with salt and pepper, not just at the end.
  • Taste as you go! This way you will know if it’s to your taste/needs more seasoning.
  • Don’t simmer the mince for too long. Soya mince is different to regular mince – it will continue to absorb the sauce while cooling.
  • Put a baking tray underneath your shepherd’s pie while you bake it, just in case it bubbles over.
Vegetarian shepherd's pie in a dish topped with a sprig of rosemary. There's a fork and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie -Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Ingredients and equipment

Here is what you will need to serve 4-5.

For the mashed potato

  • 900g (31.8 oz) Waxy Potatoes, peeled & cut into 2″ cubes
  • 150g (2/3 Cup) Salted Butter, cubed
  • 3-4 tbsp Milk
  • Salt & Pepper

For the mince

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 x Onion, diced
  • 2 x Medium Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 x Large Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 heaped tbsp Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 100ml (1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Red Wine
  • 500ml (2 Cups) Mushroom Stock *
  • 3 x Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
  • 3 x Bay Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Pureé
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 70g (1/2 Cup) Frozen Peas
  • 200g (7 oz) Meat Free Soya Mince

*if you can’t get mushroom stock, use vegetable stock instead.

Essential Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Fork
  • Potato Ricer
  • Large Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Large Sauté/Frying Pan
  • Wooden Spatula
  • 25cm / 10″ Oven Proof Baking Dish

Mashed potato instructions

To make the mash, place your prepared potatoes (900g | 31.8 oz peeled & cut into 2″ cubes) into a large saucepan and cover with cold water.

Chopped potatoes in a pan of cold salted water on the hob

Bring it up to the boil then simmer for around 10 mins, until you can stick a fork in them and it goes through. (Fork tender.) Then drain off the water.

Boiled and drained chopped potatoes in a large saucepan on a kitchen worktop

Press the boiled potato through a potato ricer into a large bowl. You could use a masher but it won’t be anywhere near as smooth.

Boiled potatoes being pressed through a potato ricer into a glass bowl on a kitchen worktop
Boiled potato in a glass bowl on a kitchen worktop that has been pressed through a potato ricer

Next, add in the cubed butter (150g | 2/3 Cup) and mix well with a wooden spoon, until the butter has melted and the mash is smooth.

Boiled potato that's been pressed through a potato ricer and cubed butter in a glass bowl on a kitchen worktop
Creamy mashed potato and melted butter in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon on a kitchen worktop

For extra creaminess and a smoother texture, add in 3-4 tbsp of milk and mix until it’s blended in.

Creamy mashed potato, melted butter and milk in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon on a kitchen worktop

Lastly, we need to season this beauty. Add a generous helping of salt and pepper and have a taste. Keep going until it’s to your taste.

Creamy mashed potato with salt and pepper on top in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon on a kitchen worktop

Leave to one side until it’s time to assemble your vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

Mince instructions

Heat a large sauté or frying pan over a low/medium heat then add the olive oil (2 tbsp). When the oil is hot, add in the diced onion (x 1) and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, until translucent.

Diced onion frying in olive oil in a frying pan on the hob

Next, add in the carrot and continue to cook until it’s softened. Stir frequently and add more oil if you need to.

Diced onion and carrot cooking in oil in a frying pan on the hob

Now add in the minced garlic (2 x large cloves) and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Diced onion, carrot and minced garlic cooking in oil in a frying pan on the hob

Throw in the flour (2 x heaped tbsp) and cook for 1 minute. Stir continuously to really work the flour into the other ingredients in the pan.

Onion, carrot, garlic and flour cooking in oil in a frying pan on the hob
Onion, carrot, garlic and flour cooking in oil in a frying pan on the hob

Time for the good bit! Pour in the red wine (100ml | 1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) and get ready for it to sizzle…

Onion, carrot, garlic, flour and red wine cooking in a frying pan on the hob

Keep stirring to deglaze the pan, it will quickly become quite thick and sticky…

Sticky onion, carrot, garlic, flour and red wine cooking in a frying pan on the hob

Ok, now for some flavour! Add in all the remaining ingredients: mushroom stock (500ml | 2 Cups), fresh rosemary (3 x sprigs), bay leaves (x 3), balsamic vinegar (1 tbsp), tomato pureé (2 tbsp), salt & pepper, frozen peas (70g | 1/2 Cup) and meat free soya mince (200g | 7 oz).

Vegetarian shepherd's pie sauce base, herbs, frozen peas and soya mince cooking in a frying pan on the hob

Then give it a really good stir and bring to the boil.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie mince ingredients all simmering together in a frying pan on the hob

Allow it to simmer, stirring often (soya mince catches more easily on the bottom of the pan than regular mince), until it’s thickened but still quite saucy. About 8-10 mins.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie mince ingredients all simmering together in a frying pan on the hob

Leave to cool for 15-20 mins and preheat your oven to 190ºC/Fan 180ºC/374ºF. The sauce will naturally thicken while cooling as soya mince is very absorbent.

Thickened vegetarian shepherd's pie mince ingredients together in a frying pan on the hob after being cooked

Assembly instructions

To assemble your vegetarian shepherd’s pie, spoon the slightly cooled and thickened mince into your oven proof dish.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie mince mixture in the bottom of an ovenproof dish

If your mashed potato has seized a little while cooling, add another 1 tbsp of milk and mix again to loosen it up. Then carefully dollop the mashed potato on top of the mince, smooth out to cover it all, and ruffle up the top with a fork.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie mince mixture in an ovenproof dish topped with mashed potato that's been forked

Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes until piping hot throughout. If you prefer it a little more golden, pop it under the grill for 5 mins.

Alternatively you can freeze it at this point for another day. (See ‘Can you freeze homemade vegetarian shepherd’s pie?’ section earlier on in this post for details.)

Vegetarian shepherd's pie in the oven ready to be baked

Serve immediately and enjoy all those happy yummy noises!

A close up view of vegetarian shepherd's pie topped with a rosemary sprig with a spoonful taken out of it. There's a fork and a dark bowl in the background set over a deep blue backdrop,

Other recipes you might like

Have you made this recipe?

Have you made this seriously comforting vegetarian shepherd’s pie? I’d love to know if you have! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

A birds eye view of vegetarian shepherd's pie with a spoonful taken out of it. There are dark bowls, cutlery bay leaves and a light brown napkin set over a deep blue backdrop.

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Vegetarian shepherd's pie on a deep blue backdrop with a light brown napkin. Someone is holding a large spoon full of the pie above it.
A close up of a large spoonful of vegetarian shepherd's pie up against a deep blue backdrop
A close up of a large spoonful of vegetarian shepherd's pie up against a deep blue backdrop

Hearty Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie - Printable Recipe

Yield: 4-5
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Luxuriously creamy mashed potato atop 'mince' and veggies that are packed FULL of flavour, this vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe is a comforting dinner that's guaranteed to satisfy!

Ingredients

For the mashed potatoes

  • 900g (31.8 oz) Waxy Potatoes, peeled & cut into 2″ cubes
  • 150g (2/3 Cup) Salted Butter, cubed
  • 3-4 tbsp Milk
  • Salt & Pepper

For the mince

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 x Onion, diced
  • 2 x Medium Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 x Large Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 heaped tbsp Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 100ml (1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Red Wine
  • 500ml (2 Cups) Mushroom Stock *
  • 3 x Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
  • 3 x Bay Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Pureé
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 70g (1/2 Cup) Frozen Peas
  • 200g (7 oz) Meat Free Soya Mince

Essential Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Fork
  • Potato Ricer #
  • Large Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Large Sauté/Frying Pan
  • Wooden Spatula
  • 25cm / 10″ Oven Proof Baking Dish

Instructions

For the mashed potatoes

  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 mins until fork tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes.
  3. Press through a potato ricer into a large bowl.
  4. Add the butter and beat in with a wooden spoon then add the milk and beat again until smooth and creamy. Season well with salt and pepper then set aside until assembly.

For the mince

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the onion and fry until translucent. Stir often with a wooden spatula.
  2. Add the carrot and cook until tender. Stir often.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min, then tip in the flour and cook out for 1-2 mins stirring constantly.
  4. Pour in the red wine and stir to deglaze the pan. It will become thick and sticky, that's normal.
  5. Then add all remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Bring it up to the boil and simmer for 8-10 mins until thickened but still quite loose and saucy.
  6. Allow to cool for 15-20 mins and preheat your oven to 190ºC/Fan 180ºC/374ºF. It will thicken while cooling (soya mince is very absorbent).

How to assemble

  1. Spoon the mince into your dish.
  2. If your mashed potato has seized while standing, mix through 1 tbsp more milk. Then gently spoon it on top of the mince and spread out to cover the whole thing. Fluff up the top with a fork.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins until piping hot throughout. Place under the grill for 5 mins if you prefer it a little more golden. (Optional)

Notes

* If you can’t get mushroom stock, use vegetable stock instead.

# You need a potato ricer (not a masher) to give waxy potatoes a creamy texture. If you don't have one, I recommend using floury potatoes instead.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 656Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 691mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 24g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

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