Simple & Comforting Shepherd’s Pie (Vegan Friendly)

Vegetarian shepherd's pie (via Welcome to another edition of Emma-makes-two-meals-at-once-and-freezes-one. Also tagged as “freezer meals” on the blog. This is like passive income—work hard now and you can reap the benefits later.

I was listening to a Smart Passive Income podcast earlier today, so that may or may not be why my references are weird. 🙂

The weather seems to have finally gotten winter cold here in southern Missouri where I live. This puts me in the mood for pasta, casseroles and all manner of warm, creamy carbs.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie (via But this doesn’t mean we can’t make a super comforting meal that is also packed with plants and nutrition. 🙂 This meal has both going on, and it’s delicious! Not to mention the half and half potato situation makes it pretty cute too.

Best shepherd's pie recipeSimple & Comforting Shepherd’s Pie, makes 4 servings, which we’ll be dividing in two (freezing one for later).
Adapted from Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Shepherd’s Pie

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 cups once peeled and cubed)
3-4 small to medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 cups once peeled and cubed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped onion
6 cloves of garlic
8 oz. tempeh
1 1/2 cups frozen veggie mix (mine had carrots, peas, green beans and corn)
2 tablespoons vegan butter (or regular if you don’t care about being vegan)
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or gluten free if you need)
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (I used blood oranges.)
3 tablespoons almond milk
salt + pepper throughout
a few tablespoons chopped parsley for the tops

First, peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in lightly salted water in a medium size pot for 12-15 minutes until very tender.

Veggie shepherd's pie fillingIn the meantime, cook the onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium heat. Cube the tempeh (it’s OK if it crumbles some) and add that to the pan along with the frozen vegetables. Continue to cook over medium heat, seasoning with a little salt and pepper, until the vegetables have warmed through.

In a small saucepan or pot, heat the vegan butter over low/medium heat. Whisk in the flour so a paste forms. Whisk in half of the vegetable stock until a thick gravy begins to form (2-4 minutes depending on your heat). Turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining stock. We’re making a thin gravy, so adjust your heat or cook time as needed. Season with a little salt and pepper. (Taste first. Most stocks tend to be well salted, but see what you think it needs.)

Vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe (via the potatoes are done, drain and transfer each to a separate mixing bowl. Add the orange juice to the sweet potatoes and mash until smooth. Add the almond milk to the russet potatoes and mash until smooth. Taste each and add salt and pepper as needed.

Now you’re ready to assemble everything! Combine the tempeh mix with the gravy. Transfer this to two ramekins or small baking dishes and one freezer-friendly, small baking pan. You could also make one big shepherd’s pie from this recipe, in which case you could add everything to a pie pan. Top with the mashed potatoes.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie (via If you are baking the two ramekins that day, simply bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes. This won’t take long because most of your ingredients are probably still warm from cooking. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy!

For the freezer version, on the day you plan to enjoy this, transfer from the freezer to the refrigerator 8-10 hours before you plan to bake. Then bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes. Top with fresh parsley before serving. Happy make-ahead dinners! xo. Emma

P.S. If you don’t care about keeping it vegan, feel free to top with cheese before baking or add a dollop of sour cream before serving … in case that hadn’t occurred to you already. 🙂

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Hey Emma!

    This is my second recipe that I’ve tried from you 🙂 I’ve been a reader for a few years now (you guys are fun!). Tonight I made this for my family and omg all burners were on at the same time. I don’t cook too much so this was a lot for me. Overall I loved it! I felt so proud when I was done. I put a little ‘E’ made out of onion on the top of the potatoes before I put it in the oven (my name is Emma too). My favorite side was definitely the sweet potato. Thank you for putting this together! I enjoyed actually making a dish that you shared. Btw, thank you for the reheat instructions. I know that will be handy next time I make this.

  • This looks sooooo yummy! Sheppard’s pie is one of my favorites, and no see a no meat version is really refreshing! This is a definite must try 🙂

    xoxo. Holly Erinn

  • Cottage pie is just beef instead of lamb, not sure there is actually a veggie one without it just being a vegetable pie!

  • Just one question. Do you half of the top coverded with sweetpotatoe mash en half with the other or is the sweetpotatoe over half of the regular potatoe mash? Couldn’t make that out. Other than that is sounds delicious en like something I would very much enjoy

  • It’s just a balsamic vinegar reduction. I put it on EVERYTHING. 🙂 You can google how to make it. It’s one of those things that the name is also the directions.


  • This all looks so yummy and cute! But I’m also super curious about the dressing on your arugula salad! Did you make that as well Emma?

    Thank you!

  • I’m a vegetarian and my recipe rotation could definitely use some sprucing up, this looks so interesting! I’ll try it out tonight! Thanks for the dinner inspiration!

  • Love the idea of using tempeh for the protein – I never would have thought of that. Of course, I’m the only weirdo in the world who doesn’t like sweet potatoes, but that’s an easy fix. Can’t wait to add this to my premade food for the week!

  • I just wanted to say that when you said “most stocks are well salted” you might have meant broth. Stocks don’t have any salt added to them since they are usually used further in cooking, rather than a broth which is salted. c:

  • It looks very cute with the two types of mashed potatoes. Personally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to comfort food like shephard’s pie so “steak, corn and mash” is what I love most! However, I may very well try to use sweet potatoes instead of the regular kind the next time I make it 🙂 Also, at first, I thought you had put corriander on top of your pie because you used the parsley kind that looks like that dreadfull herb and I judged you for a minute (I’m sorry……It just seems like it’s the biggest fad right now to put corriander on everything……I can’t go to a restaurant without having it in almost all of the plates I try…….yuk people, YUK!). But you didn’t, you used parsley like a decent human being (I know, I know, I’m exagerating and I know some people love that stuff…….but they’re crazy!)!

  • yesss i’m all about the carbs and super comforting meals! i’ve been trying to eliminate dairy from my diet (meat is already out of the picture!), so this vegan version sounds amazing!

    Monica – Mocha and Moccasins

  • This looks so yummy! I’m vegetarian, so I am always looking for comfort food recipes that don’t have the meat and are still healthy. This fits all of those categories! Today in Vermont it feels like Spring, but I know this won’t last long. I will be ready to make this recipe when the temp drops again 🙂

  • I remember from growing up in England that we always called a shepards pie with no meat “cottage pie”.

  • Hello 🙂 That looks amazing – definitely trying that!
    I just ordered a 2016 planner from you guys (woho!!), and I was just wondering if you know when it will come? I live in the UK, so I guess it will take a while. I could’t find any info online.
    Thank you 🙂 xx

  • I’m inviting veggie friends this week-end and wasn’t sure about the meal – but this sherpherd’s pie will be perfect. I’m much looking forward to try sweet potato with bloody orange flavour, it’s intriguing. Plus, it looks so simple to cook – Heaven !

    Sweet potato isn’t common in France but I discovered it this winter while traveling in New Zealand, where it’s called kumara, a Maori name. Sweet potato chips with aioli are amazing !

  • This looks absolutely amazing! I used to love Shephard’s Pie when I was little but now that I’m a vegetarian I haven’t had it for years. I may have to may have to make this over the weekend 🙂

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