A vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie infused with the most fragrant Indian spices, along with black lentils, veggies, gravy and topped with curried mashed potatoes. (Feel free to use leftover mashed potatoes!) Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian dinner recipes on the blog! Includes a 45-second video! 

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie infused with the most fragrant Indian spices, along with black lentils, veggies, gravy and topped with curried mashed potatoes.

The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.– Mary Davis

Since we’ve been back from India, this Indian-spiced, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie has been on repeat around here. I’ve been making it on Sunday and we’ve been warming up it during the week. So flavorful and cozy!

It takes about one hour from start to finish if you multitask. But perhaps for the first go around, plan on an hour of hands-on time before baking in the oven.

How to make Indian Shepherds Pie| 45-second video

What I like about this recipe is you can make it with leftover mashed potatoes (spicing them up with curry powder) and you can make it in stages, cooking the lentils ahead, or even the lentil stew ahead, then assembling the day of.

This is best made with ghee, because ghee adds such amazing flavor. But of course, it can be “veganized” with vegan butter. 🙂 As you wish.

But to reiterate, ghee brings it OVER the TOP!!!

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

How to Make Vegetarian Shepherds Pie: 

  1. Boil the potatoes for the mashed potato topping.
  2. Make the fragrant, Indian-spiced lentil stew. (This is faster if you cook the lentils ahead.)
  3. Make the flavorful gravy.
  4. Mash the potatoes and add the curry spices.
  5. Assemble the Shepherds Pie, spooning the potatoes over the stew.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered in a 350F oven.

 

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

MASHED POTATOES: I’ve been using Yukon gold potatoes in my mashed potato recipes- because if you’ve been here a while, you’ll know I prefer to leave the skins on my potatoes, not only for simplicity and ease (of not having to peel them!)  but also because they are quite nutritious.

So slice them into 1-inch slices, and boil in salted water.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

INDIAN-SPICED LENTIL STEW-make this while the potatoes are simmering.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Brown the onions in ghee, add garlic, celery, carrots and fragrant garam masala spice.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

I also like to add fenugreek leaves, which give this a truly authentic flavor.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Add the cooked lentils – and here I really love using little black lentils, sometimes called beluga lentils or black caviar lentils.  Not only are they “cute” they cook in 20 minutes.

But feel free to use any cooked lentil- just not split lentils

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

It really helps make this whole thing faster if you precook the lentils ahead of time.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Then I make a very quick, Indian-spiced “gravy” with some toasted Indian spices, to give this a little boost of flavor.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Toast fennel seeds and cumin seeds in a little ghee. Black Mustard seeds would be nice here too.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Add a little flour- and gluten-free flour works well here too!

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Whisk in hot veggie broth, and heat until it thickens into a flavorful gravy.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Pour this into the lentils stew along with a cup of peas. Today I’m using frozen peas. You could also add green beans or chopped spinach.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Then taste the Indian lentil stew and adjust the salt and spice level to your liking.

By this point, the potatoes will be very tender and ready to mash.

Drain and mash them right in the pot you cooked them in. Mash them with ghee, yogurt and a little curry powder, then season with salt and pepper.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Spoon the fluffy flavorful curry mashed potatoes over the lentil stew.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Spread them out with a back of a spoon, or spatula, like frosting a cake.

Indian-Spiced Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Then bake in 350 F oven, uncovered until the stew is bubbling on the sides, and the potatoes are golden- about 20 minutes.

Inhale. It will smell amazing…

So several steps here, but if you work quickly (multi-task) or work in stages (cooking the lentils ahead, or making the stew ahead, or making the gravy ahead)  it will all come together more easily!

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Indian spices, lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

I can’t wait for you to try this recipe for Indian-spiced, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie friends! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Week!

xoxo

More Indian Recipes you may enjoy

 

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Indian-Spiced, Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian recipes on the blog! #sheperdspie #vegetarianshepherdspie #indianrecipes #garammasala #lentils #vegetariandinner

Indian Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: main, vegetarian,
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description

Indian-Spiced, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with lentils, veggies and fragrant Garam Masala, topped with curry mashed potatoes. Truly one of the most delicious vegetarian dinner recipes on the blog!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 lbs potatoes (Yukon gold, red, or any thin-skinned) ( OR use 5 cups leftover mashed potatoes, with curry powder)
  • 4 tablespoons, ghee, butter, vegan butter ( ghee tastes the BEST)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup milk(or nut milk), half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 teaspoons yellow curry powder, more to taste

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils ( 3/4 cup -1 cup dry)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 cups diced carrot, (23 carrots)
  • 2 cups diced celery ( 23 ribs)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas ( or corn, or green beans- or use fresh)

Gravy:

optional garnish: scallions, chives, or cilantro


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

Cook Potatoes: Cut potatoes in one-inch slices ( if small, just in half) and place in a large pot. Cover with one-inch salted water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until very tender about 20-25 minutes.

Cook lentils: Set lentils to cook in salted water (unless cooked already – and you could absolutely do this ahead) about 20-25 minutes (see notes) simmer until tender, but not falling apart, al dente.

Make the filling: In a large 10-12 inch ovenproof skillet (or wide, shallow dutch oven) -heat the ghee over medium high heat and saute the onion 2-3 minutes, lower heat to med, add garlic, saute 2 mintues, add carrots, celery, cook 5-7 mintues. Add salt, cumin, coriander, fenugreek leaves and garam masala.

Add broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer on med low, until carrots are cooked through about 7-8 minutes.

While this is simmering, MAKE THE GRAVY: Over medium heat, in a little pot, simmer the whole seeds ( cumin seeds and fennel seeds)  in ghee or oil until fragrant and golden. Add flour, whisking, stirring and toasting the flour one minute. Gradually whisk in the warm veggie broth. Cook until slightly thickened. Add this gravy to the filling, along with the peas and drained lentils. Mix to combine.

Taste the filling and adjust salt and pepper. Add more garam masala if you like. The filling should have  thick stew-like, saucy consistency. If too dry, add a splash of broth or water. If too watery, simmer off some of that liquid. If the filling is too watery, the mashed potatoes will sink.

Mash the potatoes: Drain the potatoes (saving some hot potato water) return to the same pot and mash with the 3-4 tablespoons ghee and yogurt. If potatoes seem dry or too stiff, add a little warm potato water to loosen. If you want extra richness a little milk, nut milk, half and half, or whipping cream is nice. I add about ½ cup. (Adding more yogurt will make these too tangy.) Season with salt, pepper and curry powder. Mash and whip until relatively smooth and light and fluffy. Taste and adjust salt.

ASSEMBLE: Place 8 big dollops over the lentils stew and fill in the spaces with smaller spoonfuls, carefully spreading out, maybe making a pattern with the back of the spoon, like frosting a cake.

Place in the oven until golden and bubbling, about 20-25 minutes. Feel free to brown the top under a broiler.

Garnish with scallions, chives or cilantro.


Notes

LENTILS: Cook lentils ahead of time if possible to save time. Or cook in a medium pot, with ample salted water, like you would pasta, about 20-22 minute, or al dente, then drain.  Smaller lentils cook fastest. I love tiny black “caviar” lentils for this recipe or little French Green ones. Don’t use split lentils. 

For speed, I use thin-skinned Yukon Gold potatoes and opt not to peel them. Any thin skin potato should work here. The skins are good for you and they don’t bother me. But do as you please. If using russets, absolutely peel them. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: (using ghee & heavy cream)
  • Calories: 383
  • Sugar: 8.7 g
  • Sodium: 850 mg
  • Fat: 15.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49.6 g
  • Fiber: 11.3 g
  • Protein: 12.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 41.3 mg

Keywords: Indian Shepherds Pie, Vegetarian Shepherds Pie, shepherd's pie with lentils, best shepherds pie recipe

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. Delicious! I always like to serve shepherd’s pie with some sort of extra sauce (HP sauce is the original choice, ketchup is good too), so to match this recipe’s flavors I made some curry ketchup — highly recommended!

    Other changes I made: I added mushrooms because I had ’em; didn’t have flour or fennel seeds so doubled the cumin seeds and made due with polenta meal 😅. Probably not improvements, but… it worked!

  2. Love this recipe! Thank you! Question: Can I make this ahead and freeze after Baking? I’m making some meals for a friend who is having a baby soon. Would you suggest defrosting before she heats it in the oven? Thanks so much!

  3. This dish was absolutely delicious! It was a hit. My family (inclusive of 2 teens🙈) and I collectively decided to eat a plant based diet for 4 days of the week, so I’m on your website almost daily. Thanks so much!

    Your recipes, pics of your dishes, and the website itself, just makes me want to eat healthily! I refer many of my friends to your site to encourage them to increase their plant-based food intake.

    You’re my inspiration!!

    1. I love this Ursula! 4 days a week sounds very doable and a nice balance. Thanks so much!

  4. One of our staples in the house! I do usually end up doubling all the spices though. And there’s a bit too much mashed potato to fit in the pan (doesn’t matter if I use my 11 or 12 in, I think 1.5lb would be enough for the purpose) but it’s tasty on its own.

  5. I have made this recipe so many times over the last few years and everyone loves it every time. This is one of the best recipe websites on the internet!

  6. This dish is amazing,the flavors are great. It does use a lot of dishes but well worth it. You can also make some steps ahead of time which I will do next. Very filling. Great comfort food. Feasting at Home has inspired to again!

  7. Loved the flavors in this dish! I shall venture out using more curry in the potatoes when I make this again…used 1/2 teas (hubby isn’t a fan of curry) This is time consuming and will use every pot in your kitchen but well worth the energy! As one other poster mentioned, it will get easier each time not having to refer back to all the steps involved. Thanks again for another great and flavorful recipe, Sylvia!

  8. So good, and moorish. My wife and I both loved it, guessing the kids will too if I can get them to try it (always the trick). Love the black lentils just wish they were easier to find. Also had to leave out the fenugeek leaves as they’re another thing I’ve had difficulty finding. Didn’t seem to matter (still delicious) but I’ll continue to search for them. I’ve tried a lot of your recipes but this is one of my favorites. Will definitely be making it again.

  9. I’ve made this twice now and it is definitely becoming a favorite! The second time I did yukon potatoes and sweet potatoes and it was a tasty combo! The spices are divine.

  10. So fun to make and absolutely delicious! I subbed leeks for celery and hemp hearts for lentils. So comforting on a cold day!

  11. Made this last night and it’s unbelievably yummy! It’s a bit complicated but I think after you make it a few times it won’t seem so tricky. There was s a bit of cleanup but it’s definitely worth the effort. Unfortunately I got distracted and forgot to add the peas (and I love peas!). Loved the curry with the potatoes. Great flavors. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! #feastingathome.com

  12. I’ve just made this for about the 6th time in a year and I wanted to say how much I love it. Such great autumn/winter comfort food.