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Vegetarian shepherd’s pie with cheese and lentils

Vegetarian shepherd’s pie with cheese and lentils
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  • Serves: 4-6

This Vegetarian shepherd's pie is packed with veg, lentils and some Cheddar cheese scattered over the mash topping which bumps up your protein intake and also adds a great bit of extra flavour, to help make this Vegetarian shepherd's pie extra tasty!


  • 2 red onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A small bunch of fresh rosemary
  • 2 x 400g tins of green lentils
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1.5kg Desiree potatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100ml whole milk
  • A large knob of butter
  • 1 fresh nutmeg, for grating


To prepare and cook your shepherd’s pie filling

  • Peel and roughly chop the onions and carrots
  • Trim and roughly chop the celery
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves
  • Pick the rosemary leaves, discard the stalks
  • Finely chop half of leaves, put the rest to one side
  • Drain the lentils
  • Heat a large pan on a medium heat
  • Add a good lug of olive oil and the onions, carrots, celery and garlic
  • Cook gently with the lid on for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened
  • Add the chopped rosemary leaves, tinned tomatoes and stock and stir well
  • Bring to the boil, then add the drained lentils, reduce to a low heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until thick and delicious

To make your mash topping

  • Peel the potatoes, cut them into halves and quarters depending on their size, and put them into a pan of salted, boiling water
  • Boil for about 10 minutes until tender
  • Stick a knife into them to check they’re soft all the way through
  • Drain in a colander and return them to the pan
  • Grate the Cheddar cheese
  • Add the milk, butter, most of the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan
  • Finely grate in a few scrapings of nutmeg
  • Mash until smooth and creamy

To assemble and cook your shepherd’s pie

  • Preheat the oven to 190oC/375oF/gas 5
  • Transfer the lentil mixture to a large ovenproof baking dish
  • Spoon the mash evenly over the top, poke the remaining rosemary leaves into it to decorate and drizzle with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, then cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling
  • Serve with broccoli or peas, all covered in some tasty gravy!
A piece of the Vegetarian shepherd's pie with cheese and lentils, on a plate with broccoli and gravy.
Broccoli and gravy are the perfect accompaniments to this Vegetarian shepherd’s pie with cheese and lentils

I found the original recipe for this on Jamie Oliver’s site, years ago, but it seems to have been removed since, so hopefully my version is equally good.

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Lentils are a great alternative to mince when making a shepherd’s pie, so if you want to try making a vegetarian dish without needing any Quorn or other meat style substitutes, this Vegetarian shepherd’s pie with cheese and lentils has you covered!