This vegan cottage pie is absolutely incredible! The flavor is spot on and the meaty texture from my special bean combo is perfection.
Not only is the flavor and texture amazing, but the healthy ingredients make this nutritious and a perfect meal the whole family will love!
This post was originally published on March 22, 2021.
This post was sponsored by Yondu but the content and opinions expressed are fully my own.
This vegan cottage pie is basically the English equivalent to my Greek vegan moussaka. It's a labor of love but the end result is outstanding!
Cottage pie, or Shepherd's pie depending on the type of meat used, is a casserole that traditionally is made of a base of ground meat mixed with veggies and a gravy, then topped with mashed potatoes.
Recreating a meat based dish with only whole food plant based ingredients can be a challenge, but I can safely say the flavor and texture of the classic comfort food dish have been captured in this recipe.
No meat, no diary, no problem! Making cottage pie healthy is possible with using only real plant based whole foods, here's what you need for this recipe:
- Mashed potatoes
- Chopped walnuts
- Yondu umami seasoning (or sub Tamari/Soy sauce)
- Veggie broth
- Tomato paste
Yondu is a vegetable based liquid seasoning that you can use in place of salt in your recipes. It has a rich umami flavor, that it gets from fermented soybeans and a concentrated broth made from 8 vegetables.
I have been loving using it in so many things! It is oil-free, so if you watch how much oil you consume, you can easily use this to sauté. It's also plant-based and gluten-free.
How To Make Vegan Cottage Pie
With just a few simple steps you can recreate the classic comfort food dish in less than an hour. This vegan cottage pie recipe was even given the thumbs up by my English neighbors!
Here's what to do:
- Sauté onion, garlic, beans, walnuts, and herbs.
- Add the broth, Yondu, and tomato paste and mix well.
- Cook until the beans are softening and the liquid is cooked off.
- Add the carrots, peas and more broth and cook until saucy.
- Spread mixture into a square baking dish and top with mashed potatoes.
- Bake and enjoy!
What to Serve With Shepherds Pie
This comfort food recipe can serve as a complete meal, but it also pairs nicely with the following side dishes:
- You can use canned chickpeas instead of dried, soaked ones, but the texture will change a little.
- Yondu is a savory seasoning that brings out the richness in this dish. Start with 2 tablespoons and add more if needed. The amount you need will depend on the salt in the broth you use.
- If you do not have Yondu yet, you can sub soy sauce or Tamari, but you may need less. Start small and add more to taste.
- I suggest chopping the cottage pie filling mixture in a food processor before adding the corn and peas. You do not have to do this but it helps with texture.
- If you do not chop the mixture with a food processor, just make sure to break up the chickpeas into small pieces before adding in.
- Mix in extra veggies like mushrooms or peppers for extra flavor and nutrients.
- Make this healthy cottage pie oil free by using broth to sauté instead.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- This healthy shepherd's pie can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- I recommend freezing it unbaked, but you can also freeze it once it's been cooked.
- Potatoes run the risk of changing texture when frozen, so if you prefer wait to top with the mashed potatoes until you're ready to bake.
- Reheat leftovers in the oven for best results, or in the microwave to save some time!
Traditionally cottage pies are casseroles made with beef, while shepherd's pies are made with lamb. In more recent years shepherd's pie has become an umbrella term to mean a casserole made with a meat base with gravy, veggies, and a topping of mashed potatoes. This vegan shepherds pie recipe omits all meat and uses plant based ingredients.
The potato covered dish was popular with lower income people that lived in cottages in the UK.
Sauté the filling base, add in broth, seasonings, veggies, then mix in flour. Spread in a square baking dish, top with mashed potatoes, and bake.
The classic recipe features ground beef and vegetables cooked in a savory gravy topped with potatoes.
Since shepherd's pie is more of a hearty dish, I like to pair it with veggies like Brussels sprouts or a fresh salad like a crisp Caesar salad.
Yes you can. It's best to freeze it unbaked in an airtight container for up to 3 months. You can also freeze it once it's cooked, but the texture may change a bit.
More Comforting Vegan Recipes
Once this healthy vegan cottage pie is gone and it's time to cozy up with another hearty meal, try any of these healthy plant based recipes:
Healthy Vegan Cottage Pie Recipe
- 1 recipe mashed potatoes
- 1 ½ cup chopped sweet or yellow onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- Drizzle of your favorite oil to sauté , or broth if oil free
- ½ cup dry lentils , green or brown (use more if not using chickpeas, see note)
- 1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas , drained and rinsed (optional, see note)
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 4 cups veggie broth , low sodium if needed
- 2-4 tablespoons Yondu umami seasoning , can sub soy sauce or Tamari (see note)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- Preheat oven to 400 F/ 205 C
- You can either chop the whole mixture in a food processor after cooking, or simply just chop the chickpeas and walnuts into smaller pieces using a food processor now. I prefer to do this because it’s easier to clean up.
- Sauté onion, garlic and salt with oil, or broth if oil free, over medium heat until onion is soft. About 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, chickpeas, walnuts, parsley and thyme and saute until just browning. About 3-5 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the broth, Yondu and tomato paste and cook covered for about 8-10 minutes. Don’t let it burn.
- If you opted to chop the entire mixture, then chop now in a food processor. Make sure to pulse slowly so it doesn’t turn into mush. It helps to do it in small batches. Add back to the pan when done.
- Add the carrots, peas and the rest of the broth into the pan and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated but it still has some sauce.
- Spread at the bottom of a square baking dish. Then top with the mashed potatoes.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the top is browning at the edges.
- Allow to cool so it sets better and serve!
- You can use all lentils instead of both lentils and chickpeas. If you do this, use 1 cup lentils.
- You can chop the entire mixture, or just chop the walnuts and chickpeas. See directions.
- Yondu is a savory seasoning that brings out the richness in this dish. If you do not have it you can sub soy sauce or Tamari, but you may need less. Start with 2 tablespoons, taste and add more if needed.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
please can I just clarify your comments on original SHEPHERDS PIE, when you say it was made with ground lamb ,,,, but you dont say “ground left over Roast Lamb pieces that you grind through your mincer at home”. this is completely different texture and taste to a COTTAGE PIE that is made with mince meat from your butcher., and vegies from the Cottage Garden. thus the name !!! and no vegies are cooked in SHEPHERDS PIE, that would spoil the delicious texture of that meat ,,, so ,,, is there anything in vegan recipes that would resemble pieces of cold lamb to be minced ?!?! thanks for reading my concern ,, my comments go back to 1940’s when I helped my German Grandma turn the handle of her mincer, while she fed the pieces of roast lamb into it,,, In later years we added some pieces of Silverside or Pickled Leg of Mutton to it.,,, delicious,,,, do please try it,, it always only had mash potato on top,, no cheese - it was war time, foods were scarce !!!! lucky they did have their own sheep,,, and grew vegies if they could get the seed,,, Marion
This recipe came out so good! I cook vegan for my daughter and usually don’t enjoy the “meat” dishes. This one is a keeper for sure.
I wish I could give it 10 stars!
The mashed potatoes are fabulous as well. I have made that many times. I Love the addition of white beans for extra protein.
Sophia is a genius!
Yay!!! Thank you SO SO much! I am thrilled you love it!
This came out amazing!
This is a great recipe I haven’t been plant based for very long so as you can imagine I do still miss some of the meat recipes and shepherds pie is definitely one of them and I will say this plant based shepherds pie was every bit as good as the meat one and actually better than some of the meat shepherds pies that I’ve eaten. I did have to make some modifications because of the lack of ingredients so instead of carrots I added corn and then I put green beans and canned diced tomatoes. It was super delicious! Thanks for your awesome recipes!
Wow Leah! I am so happy you liked it so much! What an awesome review!!