Freezer Meals Main Dish Vegetarian

Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!)

February 24, 2017
Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd's Pie (With Lentils!) is so delicious you won't even miss the meat!
Vegetarian Ranch Shepherds Pie - With Lentils
This Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!) is so delicious you won’t even miss the meat! Check out the step-by-step photo instructions below the main recipe.

Shepherd's Pie on spoon, with casserole on green cloth in background.

Shepherd's Pie and fork on small white plate with casserole on green cloth in background.

We try to eat vegetarian meals a few times a week, for our budget, our health and the planet.  At first this was a bit more of a struggle – we had to make it a point to schedule and think up a meal for “Vegetarian Thursday”.  Now it’s second nature – our weeks naturally just have one, two or even three meals that are vegetarian.
I really love meat (hello… I really love FOOD).  I honestly don’t think I could ever give it up all together.  But I like the challenge of eating meatless meals on a semi-regular basis, and I like knowing that this healthy habit often benefits our budget too.
Lately I’ve really been wanting to experiment with lentils.  They’re super cheap, easy to keep in your pantry, and extremely healthy.   For some reason a vegetarian ranch shepherd’s pie using lentils instead of the traditional ground beef seemed like the best idea ever.  And guess what?  It was DELICIOUS.  It was so good we ate double helpings of it.  And I honestly don’t think we missed the meat at all!
In my mind, that’s a vegetarian meal success 🙂
Step-by-step photo instructions after the recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd's Pie (With Lentils!) is so delicious you won't even miss the meat!
Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd's Pie (With Lentils!)
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Myra
Ingredients
Bottom layer
  • 2 cups green lentils pre-soaked according to package directions
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
Middle layer
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
Top layer
  • 2 lbs potatoes (approximately 4 large or 6 medium)
  • 3/4 tsp salt divided
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp ranch seasoning mix* recipe in notes below (or ranch dressing, to taste)
Instructions
Bottom layer
  1. Place pre-soaked lentils in a large pot with broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook 20 minutes. When lentils are cooked, drain them over a bowl in order to save the broth for later in the recipe.
  2. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut them into chunks. In a large pot, cover them with water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are cooked (you can easily poke them with a fork), about 15 minutes.
  3. While potatoes (and/or lentils) are cooking, chop onions and fry in a large skillet, pot or wok, with 2 tablespoons of butter. After onions start to soften add minced cloves of garlic.
  4. Add drained lentils, tomato paste, seasoned salt and stir well to combine. Add broth that was drained out of lentils and allow mixture to simmer until it thickens slightly. Pour into the bottom of a medium sized (2.5 - 3 quart) casserole dish.
  5. Cover with peas and carrots.
Top layer
  1. When potatoes are cooked, drain them well and roughly mash them. Add milk, plain yogurt or sour cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of dry ranch seasoning*. Use a hand mixer to cream the potatoes until they are light and creamy.
  2. Spread potatoes on top of vegetable layer. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until heated through. Don't overbake. Enjoy! 🙂
Recipe Notes

Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!) – Step-by-Step Instructions

Bag of frozen peas and carrots, green bowl of lentils, small pile of potatoes, metal salt and pepper shakers, bottle of seasoning salt, tub of yogurt, small mason jar full of homemade ranch mix, jar of chicken bouillon, 2 white onions, 1 bulb of garlic & frozen tomato paste in small white dish, all on wood board.

Vegetarian Ranch Shepherd’s Pie (With Lentils!) Ingredients

Lentils soaking in white in a metal pot.

Put 2 cups of pre-soaked lentils in a large pot with 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth.  I used chicken broth, since I’m mainly trying to eat some meatless meals – I’m not a vegetarian.  Vegetable broth would be great too.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Lentils inside a small strainer in a glass measuring cup, on a black surface.

When lentils are cooked, drain them over a bowl in order to save the broth for later in the recipe.

Cubed potatoes in metal pot.

Meanwhile, peel around 2 lbs of potatoes and cut them into chunks.  I would say this is about 4 large potatoes or 6 medium potatoes.  Cover them with water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.  Simmer until potatoes are cooked (you can easily poke them with a fork), about 15 minutes. 

Onions and garlic frying in a wok, mixed by a wooden spoon.

While potatoes (and/or lentils) are cooking, chop 2 onions and fry in a large skillet, pot or wok, with 2 tablespoons of butter.  After onions start to soften add 5 minced cloves of garlic.

Lentils and tomato paste added to fried onions and garlic in a wok, mixed with a wooden spoon.

Add drained lentils, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt and stir well to combine.  Add broth that was drained out of lentils and allow mixture to simmer until it thickens slightly.

Lentil, onion and garlic mixture in a white casserole dish.

Pour into the bottom of a medium sized (2.5 – 3 quart) casserole dish.

Frozen peas and carrots on top of lentil, onion and garlic mixture, inside white casserole dish.

Cover with a layer of frozen peas and carrots.  You could also peel and chop your own vegetables for this step but you would have to cook the carrots slightly or chop them quite small.  I opted to save time with an affordable frozen substitute.

Potatoes, yogurt and ranch mix inside metal mixing bowl.

When potatoes are cooked, drain them well and roughly mash them.  Add1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream, 2 tablespoons of butter 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of dry ranch seasoning.  If you don’t have ranch seasoning you can easily make some using this recipe.  If you’d rather use ranch dressing, substitute it to taste.  Use a hand mixer to cream the potatoes until they are light and creamy.

Potato, yogurt and ranch mixture in white casserole dish.

Spread potatoes on top of vegetable layer.  Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Don’t overbake.

Shepherd's pie and fork on small white plate, with white casserole dish full of shepherd's pie in background.

Enjoy! 🙂
Do you ever try to eat meatless meals?  Let me know in the comment section below!


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4 Comments

  • Reply Amanda December 21, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I want to make this, but I do a lot of batch cooking. So I make large portions and then freeze for later dates. Would you recommend cooking before freezing? Or assembling and then freezing, without the cooking? I am thinking just assembling and then put into the freezer.

    • Reply Myra December 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Amanda! Isn’t batch cooking the best?! Yes, I would look the components (the lentils, the potatoes, etc) then assemble and only bake it when you thaw it out. I hope that helps! If you have any other questions please let me know! 🙂

  • Reply Laurie June 26, 2017 at 3:46 am

    This looks super yummy! I live outside of the U.S (Italy) and can’t find ranch seasoning, but I will experiment with some similar seasonings and let you know how it turns out! What a great idea for a vegetarian shepherds pie with lentils. Super excited to try it!

    • Reply Myra June 26, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Thanks Laurie! If you can find a few common dried herbs and spices you can make homemade ranch seasoning (you could also make it with fresh herbs, which would be AMAZING). Here’s a link to the recipe I make using dried herbs and spices: https://deliciousonadime.com/recipe/homemade-ranch-dressing-mix/ We use it to make salad dressing and also in a lot of other recipes.

      I’m excited to hear how you like the shepherd’s pie and what variations you discover! 🙂

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