Pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (Vegan and Gluten-free)
This Pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate vegan comfort food! A flavour-packed and nutritious green lentil filling is topped with creamy mashed pumpkin & potatoes and baked until golden and crispy. Serve with a side of salad or steamed greens for a wholesome and delicious plant-based meal.
When I think of comfort food, one of the first things that comes to mind is British cuisine. Stews, roasts, and pies are a big part of British cuisine, and vegan Shepherd’s Pie happens to be one of my favourites! This pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd's Pie is gluten-free, full of flavour, packed with protein and easy to prepare. This hearty and comforting pie is the perfect meal for those chilly Autumn and Winter evenings.
Why Make this Pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd's Pie?
It's the ultimate comfort food
Packed with delicious flavours
Can be prepared in advances and it freezes and reheats well
Made with inexpensive and readily available ingredients
It's made with wholesome plant-based ingredients and it’s gluten-free
Makes the most a fresh, seasonal pumpkins
Ingredients for Pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Here’s what you’ll need for the pie filling:
Olive oil: you’ll need a bit of olive to sauté the onions are garlic. You can also use vegetable oil, coconut oil or vegan butter instead.
Onion & garlic: the onion and garlic add a delicious depth of flavour to this pie and help to enhance its savouriness. Green Lentils: I’ve used canned cooked green lentils for this recipe. I would not suggest using yellow or red lentils as they tend to have a mushier texture.
Carrots: I’ve used fresh carrots for the recipe. You can use frozen baby carrots instead, but I wouldn’t recommend using canned carrots as they tend to be quite mushy.
Celery: the intense flavour of the celery will add a peppery taste and intensify the savouriness of the filling.
Peas: I’ve used frozen garden peas, so I’d recommend using either fresh or frozen garden peas, or petits pois.
Chopped canned tomatoes and tomato puree: The chopped tomatoes make the base of the sauce, and the tomato puree will add a rich tomato flavour to the filling.
Dried sage, thyme, oregano, and rosemary: no shepherd’s pie is complete without these aromatic herbs! I’ve used dried herbs, but fresh herbs will work just as well.
Sweet paprika: I’ve used sweet paprika, but if you like smoky flavours, smoked paprika would also be delicious in this pie.
Dark soy sauce: The soy sauce intensifies the savouriness of the filling and helps to deepen the colour of the sauce. Make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce if you’d like to make this recipe gluten-free.
Pumpkin spice: This iconic spice blend will jazz up the taste of filling, but it won’t overpower the taste of the other ingredients. If you’re not a fan of pumpkin spice, you can omit this ingredient.
Corn starch: the corn-starch is used to thicken the sauce and to give it a viscous consistency. You can substitute the corn starch with potato starch or tapioca flour.
Vegetable stock: I’ve used a shop-bought vegetable stock cube for the recipe, but you can substitute this with 1 tsp vegetable bouillon.
Here's what you’ll need for the creamy Pumpkin and potato topping:
Pumpkin: I’d recommend you use small, sugar pumpkins as they have a more dense and creamy flesh. If you prefer not to use pumpkin, butternut squash will also work well.
Potatoes: I would recommend using a using Yukon gold potatoes as they have a naturally buttery and creamy taste, but if you’re unable to find them, any yellow fleshed potato will do.
Sweet paprika: The sweet paprika will intensify the colour of the topping.
Salt and Pepper: Taste the filling before assembling the shepherd’s pie and add as much salt and pepper to suit your personal taste.
Vegan Butter: the vegan butter will add richness and creaminess to the mashed potatoes and pumpkins. You could use olive oil or vegan margarine instead.
How to Make Pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Preheat the oven to 200 °C (400° F). Peel the potatoes, then chop each potato into small pieces. Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds, then cut the pumpkin flesh into small chunks.
Put the chopped pumpkin and potatoes in a large pot and cover with hot water. Add a pinch of salt, cover with the lid, and bring to the boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the pumpkins and potatoes are tender enough to mash. Drain well then return to the pot, add the vegan butter, salt and paprika, and mash very well until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Start to make the filling while the potatoes and pumpkins are boiling. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the chopped onions and celery and sauté for 5 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the dried herbs, drained green lentils, diced carrots, peas, soy sauce, canned chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, corn-starch, and tomato puree to the pan. Stir well and let it simmer on a medium heat, for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the carrots are tender. Make sure to stir occasionally while the filling is cooking to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper and spoon the lentil mixture into a medium ovenproof dish.
Spoon the mashed pumpkins and potatoes over the top of the lentil filling, then using a fork, spread it out evenly. Run the fork along the top of the mashed pumpkin and potato to give it a crispier texture after it’s baked.
Brush the top with a bit of olive oil or melted vegan butter, and place in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving.
What to Serve with Pumpkin and Lentil Shepherd's Pie
My favourite way to eat Lentil Shepherd's Pie is with steamed broccoli, but here are a few other suggestions:
Other green veggies like kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, or cabbage.
A leafy green salad
What Variety of Pumpkin and Potato Should I Use for the Topping?
I’d recommend you use small, sugar pumpkins as they have a more dense and creamy flesh. If you prefer not to use pumpkin, butternut squash will also work well. As for the potato, I would recommend using using Yukon gold potatoes as they have a naturally buttery and creamy taste, but if you’re unable to find them, any yellow fleshed potato will do.
How to Store, Freeze and Reheat this Shepherd's Pie
To store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
To freeze: You can freeze the pumpkin and lentil shepherd’s pie directly after assembling and before baking. Simply cover the top of the dish with cling film and place in the freezer. Alternatively, you can freeze it after it has been baked. In both instances, allow the shepherd’s pie to cool completely beforehand. You can store this shepherd’s pie in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To reheat: Defrost overnight or for 3-4 hours at room temperature, and then bake as per the recipe instructions. If it was baked prior to freezing, it will take less time to reheat.
Sauté the celery, onions, garlic, and carrots until really golden. This is intensify the flavour of the filling.
As opposed to making one large shepherd’s pie, you can make individual portions of shepherd’s pie using single serving casserole dishes.
I’d recommend you use green or brown lentils for this shepherd’s pie. Red lentils tend to be quite mushy to so won’t give the same texture.
To make it easier to spoon the mashed pumpkin and potatoes on top of the filling, add dollops of the mash around the edges of the oven dish and spread out then fill the centre with the remaining mashed potatoes and pumpkins.
Run a fork along the top of the pie and brush with melted vegan butter for extra crispiness.