Lentil and Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

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Wild mushroom and lentil shepherd's Pie. A Vegetarian version of a comfort food classic.Well, after all the rich goodies of last week it’s time to get back to some basics.. and that means comfort food!! Spaghetti with meat sauce, chili mac, meatloaf and roasted chicken are all comfort foods in our house.  But they also have something else in common – meat. With two teenage male athletes, meat plays a major role in most dinners which is fine for the teenagers but not so fine for their aging mature parents who are watching their fat and cholesterol intake!! So, needless to say I am always looking for  “vegetarian” dishes that are hearty enough to fill up the teenagers while still being  lower in fat and cholesterol than their “meaty” counterparts.  This Lentil and Wild Mushroom Sheperd’s Pie satisfies on every level AND it can be made in advance – which is a major bonus for  for just about everyone!!!


Lentil and Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s  Pie

(adapted from Cooking Light)

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 1 1/2 lbs. cubed and peeled Yukon gold or russet potatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular paprika)


  • 1 cup dried  petite green lentils (don’t substitute regular lentils here – their texture doesn’t hold up!)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp.  of salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 1 cup peeled and finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 16 oz. fresh mushrooms (button, cremini, shitake .. your choice!)
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme


1. For topping: In a large saucepan place the potatoes and cover with water and add 1 tsp. salt. Bring water and potatoes to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender – about 20 minutes.

2. Drain and return potatoes to pan. Cook potatoes over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 3 – 4 minutes. Mash potatoes  with a potato masher or pass through a ricer. Add the milk and the yogurt and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For Filling:

1.Pre heat oven to 375 degrees (if baking immediately – if not skip this step).

2. In a large saucepan combine lentils, water, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender – about 25 minutes. Drain lentils , remove bay leaf and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushroom are nicely browned – don’t stir them until they have browned!!! Remove the mushrooms from the pan.

4. Add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, scraping up any of the brown bits in the pan. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

5.Add tomato paste and stir just until tomato paste turns a rusty brown color. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute.

6. Add the red wine and the vegetable stock and stir, scraping up all the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

7. Add the soy sauce, thyme, mushrooms  and lentils to the mixture and cook until mixture thickens, about 2 more minutes.

8. Spray a 2 qrt. casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon the mushroom lentil mixture into the casserole and smooth the top.

9. Dollop the mashed potatoes on top and smooth with a spatula. Dust the top of the potatoes with the smoked paprika.

10. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and the mixture is heated through.

If making ahead, cover and refrigerate the pie in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

For a complete “make ahead meal” pair this with my Layered Green Salad



    • says

      I love the traditional version and I do make it but it’s great to have the vegetarian option – with all the “meaty” holidays coming up this is going to come in handy!

  1. says

    Lentils are such a great sub for meat. I use them in all kinds of things. I’ve never made Shepherd’s pie, because of all of the meat that’s in it. Looks like I no longer have an excuse not to make it.

    • says

      I’ve modified my meat version of shepherd’s pie by increasing the veg component but I have to say this lentil version is pretty darn tasty!!!

    • says

      Me too Marla – it’s a nice break. I myself could skip meat 2 or 3 times a week but that doesn’t work with teenage male athletes – they end up raiding the refrigerator about 2 hours later!!

    • says

      Thank you Priscilla!

      I know what you mean. I’ve modified my traditional Shepard’s Pie recipe by amping up the vegetables and reducing the meat as well!

  2. says

    That looks so delicious and hearty I find it hard to believe there’s no meat in it! Remember Camp Blogaway? Where I brought a snack on a bed of green lentils?

    … I was still trying to figure out what to do with them… and now I think I have the answer. 😉 Will report back in a week or so!


  3. says

    Hi Nancy! I came to your terrific blog through my research of all things Food Blogger Camp – and I already know I will love this dish! As a vegetarian that is always looking for hearty, homemade meals that don’t require pasta or rice, this will be a welcome addition. I almost want to make one for Thanksgiving tomorrow!

    See you in Mexico!! :)

    • says

      I hope you like the dish.. my friend just made it last week and reported that everyone in her family loved it.. even the teenagers (which I always take as a good sign!!). Hope you enjoy it!

      I think Food Blogger Camp is going to be amazing.. looking forward to meeting everyone!!

  4. says

    Wish I had some of this now; tired of cooking, tired of sweets, tired of parties. Oh wait, maybe I’m just tired?!!

    You made the lowly lentil look and sound wonderful which is quite an accomplishment (particularly that look part). Making this week, just sounds so warm and unholidayish which I’m seriously craving.

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