Vegan Shepherd’s pie, Umami rich comfort food

The perfect winter food, this vegan shepherd’s pie. It warms you up with all it’s comfort. This recipe is made with the original shepherds pie in mind. I aimed to get the rich, deep umami flavours, while trying to stay close to it’s original basic feel. But of course a 100% plant based.

shepherds pie whole

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

🥘 Main ingredients

shepherds pie main ingredients
  • onions
  • carrot
  • celery sticks
  • green peas
  • mushrooms
  • potato russet
  • garlic
  • lentils
  • red wine
  • vegetable stock
  • dairy free milk
  • dark soy sauce
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Tomato paste
  • thyme, rosemary & parsley
  • paprika powder & bayleaf
  • nutritional yeast
  • cornflour

💭 Thoughts & tips

Whenever you start any recipe with many ingredients. Just make your life easy by preparing all the ingredients before you start cooking. Less chance of forgetting.

When I made this recipe my aim was really to stay as close as possible to the original shepherd’s pie flavours. Which of course is not easy as the original gets all it’s flavour from the meat used in the recipe. But with an English husband, therefore ‘taste-tester’, I could not get too much off-track.

So, I tried to get as much as possible of the umami flavours by using the mushroom mixture (which adds also to the texture), with the soy and balsamic vinegar.

Other good options could be;

  • the use of a teaspoon of miso paste
  • season with very finely grated dried mushrooms
  • or add some finely chopped walnuts to the mushroom mixture
  • If you really want to get fine tuned, get the ‘plant-based gourmet’ cook book from Chef Suzi Gerber, who is a star in making plant based beef marinates, lamb marinates, chicken marinates and so on.

Other good winter dishes, full of richness and umami, are the classic vegan bourguignon, or a hearty vegan stroganoff soup. Yum… Let the winter roll-on!

For further instructions; 🎥 Watch the 3 minute ‘step by step’ video in the recipe card.

📖 Variations

There are many variations possible, according your own personal taste. Think of for example, using small roughly chopped mushrooms, instead of the very finely (blended) mixture. This will still give umami, but with a complete different texture experience.

Or for those who like a really crispy top on their shepherds pie… Add some breadcrumbs on the top, or even some herby breadcrumbs for a more herby flavour. You could as well mix the breadcrumbs with nutritional yeast and create a slight cheesiness in your crunch.

Add more wine for more gravy.

Or mix some other herbs in, like sage. Which would go well with this. Many additional options available. Please feel free to comment with your own ideas.

🍷 Wine pairing

clear wine glass with red wine

I think this dish can handle a good dry medium red. Thinking of a Bordeaux, or a Rioja, but I think a Chianti can be really nice too.

Maybe a chateau-Neuf-de-pape would be a bit too heavy, but in the same region a Cotes de Rhone village could be very suitable. But the classic Languedoc blend of syrah, mouvedre, grenache would suit this dish better. A faugeres, Terrase de Larzac, or a pic-saint-loup.

More then enough choice!

I hope this recipe finds you at the right moment, in which you need some comforting warming dishes. Even though it has many ingredients, it is really easy to make. And is easy adjustable to anyone particular liking. Add @haricoco1 to your instagram posts when using this recipe. So we can share our creativity!

📋 Recipe

vegan shepherds pie portion

Vegan shepherd’s pie

a delicious umami rich plant based shepherd's pie
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • onions finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped in halve circles
  • 2 celery sticks finely chopped
  • 120 grams (1 cup) green peas can be frozen when not in season
  • 2 large mushrooms, or 4 small finely chopped, or shortly blended in food-processor
  • 2 large potato russet, approx. 800 grams peeled, and chopped roughly
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely sliced
  • 1 tin lentils, or pre-cooked
  • 120 ml (½cup) red wine
  • 360 ml (1½cup) vegetable stock
  • 120 ml (½cup) dairy free milk
  • 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoon cornflour, or maizena
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Firstly start with measuring, chopping and preparing all your ingredients, this makes the cooking so much easier
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C / 356 F
  • Boil your peeled, washed and chopped potato in salted water for about 15 minutes (until well cooked). Drain the potatoes and let them steam dry.
  • Prepare the mushroom mixture by sauteing the finely chopped mushrooms (or shortly blended) on high heat. Add a little salt to help the release the moisture. Once the mushrooms release their moisture, continue on high heat until they are completely dry. Turn the heat off, add the chopped parsley and set aside for later.
  • Heat 1 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, and saute the chopped onions on medium heat. Soften the onions without browning them, after approx. 8 minutes add the sliced garlic and give it a good stir.
  • Now add the thyme and sprig of Rosemary and stir it through the onion/garlic mixture, so the aromas release
  • Add the paprika power and tomato paste, and stir well. Be careful not the burn anything, keep on medium heat.
  • Pour in the wine, balsamic and soy sauce, and bring to a rolling simmer.
  • Let the liquid reduce to at least ⅓ of the original amount. You should have a very aromatic base for your dish now.
  • Add the chopped carrots and celery, and pour the vegetable stock in. Bring to a simmer, and let the veggies cook for about 10 / 15 minutes with the lid on. Until they are cooked, but still a bit firm.
  • Meanwhile you can mash your potatoes, with about 4 Tablespoons of olive oil (or use vegan butter), and the dairy free milk. Add the 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and mash/stir it well into the potato mash. Add more liquid for a creamier mash, or less if you like your mash more rustic.
  • Remove the rosemary and bayleaf, and stir the lentils and peas into the vegetable mixture, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes, without the lid on.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of corn flour (mixed with water) to the vegetable mixture to create more of a gravy type of texture to the stew.
  • Stir in the mushroom/parsley mixture, and mix well.
  • Now taste, and season. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. You might as well decide to add a bit more balsamic vinegar. Taste again, until you are happy with the seasoning.
  • Pour your vegetable mixture in a oven dish, mine was 27x19cm (10,6×7,5 inches). Top carefully with the mash potato, don't push too hard as the vegetable mixture can overflow on the sides.
  • Drizzle some extra olive oil over the mash, and season with some extra black pepper
  • Put in the hot oven for approx. 10 / 12 minutes, and I always like to finish the dish with another 5 minutes under the grill so you get a lightly browned top.
  • Cool down for a few minutes and serve with some extra herbs for decoration.



You can substitute the olive oil with vegan butter, and the dairy free milk with dairy free cream to get a creamier mash.
You can add more red wine, and reduce less, to get even more of a gravy-like texture.
The soy can be replaced by tamari. Be careful not to add too much salt in all the individual steps, because the soy will add to the saltiness as well.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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