Need a gluten free shepherds pie? Look no further, because our conforting high-protein shepherd's pie recipe is the ultimate comfort food for your family. Make with either vegan ground meat or a lentil base this recipe is packed with plant-based proteins. The ultimate perfect comforting meal for those busy weeknight dinners or holiday recipes.
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- 👪Why Your Family Will Love This Recipe
- 🥒Will My Kids Eat This?
- 🧠Brain Benefits and Nutrition
- 🥦Ingredients and Substitutions
- 💡Recipe Tips For Gluten-Free Shepherds Pie
- 👩🏽🍳Step-by-Step Instructions
- ⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- Variation: Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
- 🥡Storing Vegan Gluten-Free Shepherds Pie
- 🥣Looking for more…
- 📖 Recipe
- Information Source:
Can I let you in on a little secret? Until last week, my family wasn't big on shepherd's pie. But this amazing easy dinner has become a family favorite, and meal prepping it for busy weeknights is a lifesaver. Plus it is literally a great recipe for leftover mashed potato!
Here's another secret: I stumbled upon creating this high-protein shepherd's pie gluten-free recipe by accident. But a kitchen mishap involving overcooked red lentils led me to mix them into the mashed potato topping, to avoid food waste. And to my surprise voilà, the result was creamy mashed potatoes and a perfectly textured pie that held together beautifully. The red lentils even make for a killer low-carb, high-protein mashed potato recipe.
I've tested this vegan gluten-free shepherd's pie on friends and family (none of whom are vegan), and it's a real crowd-pleaser, thanks to its great textures and rich flavors! So go ahead, take it to your next potluck, or serve it at your next gathering.
👪Why Your Family Will Love This Recipe
- Easy to make: Don't be intimidated by the ingredients; this gluten-free shepherd's pie is simple to prepare.
- High-protein Shepherd's pie: Thanks to the red lentils and meatless ground, this recipe delivers a whopping 20 grams of protein per serving! Not only will it leave your family feeling satisfied and nourished, but it's also a budget-friendly recipe.
- Time-flexible: Perfect for nights with an hour to spare or as a meal prep option on a lazy Sunday. Double the recipe and freeze one for later. Or use it as a recipe for leftover mashed potato.
- Comforting: The ultimate comfort food, it's both hearty and delicious. I love to make this recipe on a rainy day and we often rotate this with a vegan lasagna, both very easy to meal-prep or freeze.
- Gluten-free: A fantastic meal option for those with dietary restrictions because most of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free. Make sure to read the package of your vegan ground as they sometimes contain wheat products.
Need more tips on achieving that great texture and creaminess for the potatoes? Keep reading! I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that'll make this plant-based shepherd's pie your go-to dish.
🥒Will My Kids Eat This?
Worried about your picky eater's reaction to a vegan gluten-free shepherd's pie? Here is why they may actually enjoy this recipe. I have a picky eater at home so this dish was designed with even the fussiest eaters in mind:
- Familiar ingredients: The meatless ground meat, corn, and peas make the dish feel recognizable and approachable.
- Comforting flavors: The creamy mashed potato topping adds a comforting and tasty touch that appeals to young and old alike.
- Versatile: You can easily customize the dish to cater to your family's preferences, adding or removing ingredients as needed. My picky eater likes to eat this deconstructed, so I separate the mash from the meat.
- Colorful and inviting: The vibrant colors of the vegetables and golden mashed potato topping make it visually appealing, which can entice picky eaters to give it a try.
- Variety in texture: The combination of soft mashed potatoes, tender veggies, and meatless ground meat offers a satisfying mix of textures that can win over even the most selective palates.
For more information on picky eaters check out this post where I share what I have learned throughout the years (all my kids have gone through a picky phase).
🧠Brain Benefits and Nutrition
As a neuroscientist, I understand the importance of nourishing our brains with nutrient-rich foods. But as a mom dealing with picky eaters, it's often challenging to ensure they eat what's good for them.
I discovered that offering healthy comfort food made from whole, simple ingredients helps me feel better about my kids' meals. Two key ingredients in this plant-based gluten-free shepherd's pie - red lentils and potatoes - provide impressive brain health benefits.
|Nutrient||Under 1||1-5 years||6-10 years||11-18 years||18+ years||Recipe amount (per serving)|
Red lentils are packed with folate, an essential B vitamin that supports brain function and healthy nerve cells (1,2) They're also rich in iron, which aids in the production of neurotransmitters and myelin, crucial for cognitive performance and memory (1,3).
Potatoes, especially the skin, contain high levels of vitamin B6, which is vital for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine (4). These neurotransmitters help regulate mood, concentration, and sleep.
Incorporating these nutrient-dense ingredients into your family's meals can contribute to better brain health and development.
🥦Ingredients and Substitutions
- Meatless ground meat: Chosen for its texture and flavor that mimics traditional ground meat.
- Lentil Substitute with 3 cups of cooked brown lentils as the plant-based protein for a whole food option.
- Meat Substitute: If you want a traditional shepherd's pie gluten-free, you can use ground meat or ground turkey in place of vegan ground. Follow the same steps in the recipe just swap the protein.
- Yukon gold potatoes: Creamy and buttery texture perfect for mashing.
- Substitute with red or russet potatoes if necessary.
- Red lentils: Adds protein and a creamy texture to the mashed potatoes; no need for a substitute, just omit if desired.
- Vegan butter: Provides richness and flavor; substitute with coconut oil or olive oil.
- Tomato puree and tomato paste: Adds depth and tanginess to the sauce.
- Substitute with crushed tomatoes if needed.
- Frozen peas: Adds color, texture, and sweetness.
- Substitute with fresh peas or green beans.
- Frozen corn: Adds sweetness and texture.
- Substitute with fresh corn or other veggies like bell peppers.
- Onions and garlic: Provides a flavorful base for the sauce; no substitutes recommended.
- Substitute with garlic powder or onion powder, although the flavor may fall short.
- Veggie powder or paste: Enhances the flavor of the sauce without adding extra moisture.
- Substitute with extra spices, I would not recommend using a vegetable broth as it will add too much liquid to this recipe. Alternatively, you can cook the lentils in broth to help them soak up the rich flavor of the broth.
- Spices: Oregano, Italian seasoning, and allspice create a flavorful and aromatic sauce. Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste or use other herbs like thyme, basil, or rosemary.
Please check the recipe card for quantities.
💡Recipe Tips For Gluten-Free Shepherds Pie
- Firm Pie: Ensure the meat sauce base/lentil mixture isn't too wet for the pie to hold its shape. Aim for slightly firmer mashed potatoes, with red lentils assisting in achieving this. Press down the potatoes with a fork and create the classic shepherd’s pie pattern.
- Perfect Potato Crispy Top: To keep the mashed potatoes moist, cover the pie with foil while baking, then remove it for the last 10-15 minutes to brown. For a golden, crispy top, give it a quick broil after baking.
- Rest Before Serving: Let the shepherd's pie rest for 10-15 minutes after baking. This helps the dish set, making cutting and serving beautiful, tasty portions easier.
Step 1: Whip Up The Red Lentil Mash
First off, wash, peel, and dice those lovely Yukon gold potatoes. Fill a large pot with cold water, toss in the potatoes and a good pinch of salt. Boil them until they're nice and tender.
While the potatoes are boiling, cook your red lentils in another pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft and mushy.
Once they're cooked, drain both the potatoes and the red lentils, but don't forget to save some potato water (about 1 cup). Combine them in a large bowl and give them a good mash using a ricer or a potato masher. Add in salt, oregano, and vegan butter.
Slowly pour in the reserved potato water to get perfect creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes.
Step 2: Cook Up The Meat fMixture
Grab a large saucepan and sauté onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until they're soft and golden. Add in the spices, veggie powder, and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes.
Now, using that trust wooden spoon, stir in the tomato puree and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
Add your vegan ground meat (or cooked lentils) to the mix and cook for 10 minutes. Toss in peas and corn, and cook until they're nice and warm (about 2 minutes).
Step 3: Assemble Your Masterpiece
Preheat your oven to 400°F. In an oven-safe baking dish, spread out the meatless sauce base, pressing it slightly. Scoop your cooked potatoes on top, spreading them in an even layer with a large spoon.
Get creative with a fork and make some fun patterns on the potato layer. Want those golden crispy tips? Just brush a little olive oil on top.
Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat for the last 2 minutes to get that golden brown crispy top.
And there you have it, a great way to make an easy gluten free dinner recipe. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- Meal Prep Sundays: Prepare this healthy gluten free shepherd's pie recipe on a weekend, and you'll have a delicious dish to enjoy all week long. It keeps beautifully in the fridge!
- Make-Ahead Magic: Prepare the filling and the mashed potatoes separately and store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 days before assembling and baking the pie. Bake it on the day you plan to serve it to ensure optimal freshness. Just be cautious not to prep too far ahead, or the potatoes may dry out.
- Leftover helper: If you've made mashed potatoes or ground meat (or meatless) dish earlier in the week, repurpose those leftovers to create this shepherd's pie. This really is a great recipe for leftover mashed potatoes!
Variation: Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
In this recipe, we used Meatless Farm's meatless ground meat (not sponsored) to create our vegan gluten-free shepherd's pie base. But any mock meat will do. Just make sure to check the ingredients list and look for certified gluten-free labels.
But, If you're leaning towards a whole food plant-based version, swap the mock meat for lentils to create the best vegan shepherd's pie. This alternative is perfect for busy moms, as lentils are a breeze to cook and need minimal culinary skills. It's also an excellent way to incorporate more whole foods into your family's meals while still relishing a tasty and satisfying dish.
Simply replace the meatless ground with about 3 cups of cooked brown lentils. Follow this recipe for a spiced lentil recipe and tips on how to cook brown lentils!
Give it a try with either the meatless ground or lentils, to make this hearty meal for the whole family!
🥡Storing Vegan Gluten-Free Shepherds Pie
Storage guide for our gluten-free shepherd's pie recipe:
- Allow your gluten free shepherd's pie to cool down to room temperature.
- Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or store individual portions in airtight containers.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Let the shepherd's pie cool down completely.
- Wrap the entire dish or individual portions in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
- Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For refrigerated shepherd's pie, reheat in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on high.
- For frozen shepherd's pie, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before following the reheating instructions above. If reheating directly from the freezer, increase the oven time to 45-60 minutes, and use a lower temperature of 325°F (160°C) to ensure even heating.
This recipe is a high-protein Shepherd's pie recipe already because of the addition of red lentils to the potato mash. But here are some other options: Use lentils or legumes instead of plant-based meat, incorporate tofu by crumbling it into the filling, or include nuts and seeds by chopping and sprinkling on top of the mashed potato topping before baking.
Yes, after baking, let the pie cool completely, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil, and store it in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven until warmed through.
Easy vegan substitutes include:
Vegan butter: Earth Balance, Miyoko's Kitchen, Melt Organic
Nutritional yeast: Adds cheesy flavor to mashed potatoes
Vegan cheese: Daiya, Follow Your Heart, Violife
Coconut oil: Use in mashed potatoes for richness and creaminess
Prepare the filling and the mashed potatoes separately and store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 days before assembling and baking the pie.
Yes, you can also assemble the pie a day ahead and refrigerate it, then bake it right before serving.
Absolutely! This plant-based shepherd's pie is a fantastic recipe for using up leftover mashed potatoes. Just make sure you have enough to cover the top of the pie evenly. Simply follow the instructions!
🥣Looking for more…
I hope you enjoyed this vegan gluten free shepherd's pie, if you are looking for more gluten-free recipes be sure to check out these. I suggest trying the vegan meatballs!
Until then, tchau
Easy Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie
â€˜Meat' sauce base (with lentil substitution)
- 1 package vegan ground meat (Substitute with 3 cups cooked brown lentils or 1 lbs of ground beef)
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 white onion diced
- 3 garlic coves minced
- 1 tbs veggie broth paste (like Better Than Bouillon)
- 1 tbs dried oregano
- 1 tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Mashed Potato Top
- 5 medium yukon gold potatoes
- ¼ cup potato water
- ¾ cup dry red lentils * 2 cups cooked (optional step)
- 2 tbs dry oregano
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 2 tbs vegan butter
- salt to taste
Mashed potato top
- Wash, peel, and dice your potatoes. Then fill a large pot with cold water. Add in the potatoes and a generous amount of salt. Place onto the stovetop, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- High protein mash version: If you are making the high protien mash version, add the dry lentils to a pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are soft and mushy.
- Once cooked, drain your potatoes very well and add them back to the pot.
- Add in the salt, oregano, and butter and mash.
- High protein mash version: Once cooked, drain your lentils and add them to the mashed potatoes. Mash until you get no lumps. Slowly add in the potato water while mixing. This will help get them creamy.
Meatless sauce base
- Over medium heat sautee the onions in some olive oil until soft and translucent (about 2 minutes).
- Add in the gound meat and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. You want the meat to brown but not burn. If you are using lentils add them instead of the meat.
- Next, add in the spices, veggie powder, and garlic, tomato puree, and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Finally add in the peas and corn and cook just until the veggies are warm, roughly 2 minutes).
Assembling the pie
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- To an oven-safe dish add the meat base to the bottom. Pack it slightly to help hold its shape.
- Next, add the potatoes on top. Use a large spoon to spread evenly on top. Then with a fork, make little lines or a pattern. For golden crispy tips brush a little olive oil onto the potatoes.
- Bake for 20 minutes, you can turn the heat up for the last 2 minutes to get a nice crispy top.
- Thavarajah, D., Thavarajah, P., Wejesuriya, A., Rutzke, M., Glahn, R. P., Combs, G. F. Jr., & Vandenberg, A. (2011). The potential of lentil (Lens culinaris L.) as a whole food for increased selenium, iron, and zinc intake: preliminary results from a 3 year study. Euphytica, 180(1), 123-128.
- Lignicka, I., Graci (Balgalve), A., & Zīdere-Laizāne, A. M. (2022). Nutritious lentil and rice meal for sustainable vegan and pescatarian diet. Agronomy Research, 20(1), 229-234.
- Beard, J. L. (2003). Iron deficiency alters brain development and functioning. The Journal of Nutrition, 133(5), 1468S-1472S.
- Kennedy, D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68.
- Institute of Medicine (IOM). (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10490
- National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2021). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/