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Trying to save money and eat less meat? You need this Vegetarian Cottage Pie recipe (with an unexpected secret ingredient!)
Simple store cupboard ingredients and a quick and easy method, this meat-free pie recipe is full of flavour and packed with goodness.
I always try to make sure my vegetarian recipes are perfect for the whole family to enjoy, so that meat eaters, vegetarians, or those who simply want to cut back on eating meat can come together around the table.
That means plenty of texture, flavour and satisfaction, and this Vegetarian Cottage Pie (or Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie if you prefer!) dishes that up by the bucketload.
Quite simply, it’s hearty, comforting and utterly delicious. It’s also packed with vegetables and goodness, and a secret ingredient of Marmite. Yes, that’s right… MARMITE!
Even if you’re usually a Marmite hater, here it adds a rich savoury depth of flavour that usually comes from meat. Please do try it!
Why you’ll love this easy Cottage Pie recipe
⭐️ Hearty, rich and comforting
⭐️ Simple, inexpensive ingredients
⭐️ Easy and full of goodness
About this Vegetarian Cottage Pie with Lentils
We all know by now that traditionally Cottage Pie is made with beef mince and Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb mince (and if you didn’t, now you do!) So while this is a vegetarian version of our favourite pie recipe, it’s technical neither.
So why are we calling this one Vegetarian Cottage Pie rather than a Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie? I’m really not quite sure – maybe it’s more cottagey than shepherdy?! Either way, the veggies and lentil filling really are a wonderful meat alternative for this dish.
Other meat-free similar dishes to this you could try are my Easy Fish Pie, my Cheesy Vegetarian Pie or my Vegetarian Moussaka.
Vegetarian Cottage Pie/Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients
- Onion – You can use fresh or frozen, pre-chopped for this
- Garlic – Same again, you can use fresh or jar/paste/frozen. Your choice.
- Chestnut mushrooms – I find Chestnut have more flavour than white mushrooms.
- Dried thyme
- Dried rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tinned green lentils
- Tomato purée
- Vegetable stock
- Henderson’s Relish – Or Worcestershire sauce
For the topping:
- White potatoes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make Vegetarian Cottage Pie
1. Fry the vegetable mix, add the herbs and seasoning, lentils, stock, tomato puree Marmite and Henderson’s. Cook as per the recipe below.
2. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft and mash with butter and salt and pepper.
3. Put the sauce filling in a pie dish, allow to cool a little and add the mash topping evenly.
4. Smooth the mash over the Shepherd’s Pie with the back of a fork to allow the topping to get a golden brown crisp. Bake as per the recipe below.
Lentil Cottage Pie Substitutions
- Vegetables – Feel free to change up your ingredients here according to what you have in or prefer. For example, frozen peas, swede, leeks or sweetcorn would work well.
- Mash potato – You can swap the white potatoes for a sweet potato topping if you prefer.
How to Reheat Vegetarian Cottage Pie
This is a fantastic batch cook recipe and freezes well for a hands-off dinner another day.
Make ahead for the fridge Cook up to step 5 in the recipe below and you can keep this recipe in the fridge for 2 days. Then bake as normal.
Make ahead for the freezer Once your pie is assembled (step 5 in the recipe below) you can chill and then freeze for up to one month. When you are ready to use the pie, defrost in the fridge overnight, then bake as normal (step 6). It may take a little longer than normal to bake, as always, check it is piping hot inside before serving.
Technically, it can also be cooked from frozen – cook at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins until piping hot in the centre. I have to say I prefer to defrost overnight first as the pie won’t dry out as much.
Cooked leftovers You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat fully in the microwave or oven before serving. You can also freeze cooked leftovers. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.
Top tips for Veggie Cottage Pie/Shepherd’s Pie
HACK: Frozen mixed vegetable base
You can replace the individual carrots, celery and onion ingredients for a frozen bag of ‘soffritto’, which comes already pre-chopped and all together in one bag. (I love this cheat for lots of recipes!) It might be called ‘vegetable base mix’ or something similar in some supermarkets.
If you’re batch cooking this and you don’t want a pie dish out of action in the freezer, or you’re cooking a few batches, you can use foil trays with lids, like these ones from Amazon.
This lovely enamelware baking dish is what I use to cook the pies in. I swear by these!
Easy Creamy Mashed Potato
To make life easier, use a ricer-style potato masher to get your mash just right. I think this one is brilliant and makes it so much easier.
The trick here is to make sure your sauce is a little firm and not too watery, and let it cool for a while before you add your potatoes on top.
Yes! It’s full of goodness from plenty of vegetables hidden in the sauce, plus protein and fibre from the lentils.
Yes. To make this recipe gluten free, substitute the plain flour for cornflour (check your packaging to ensure it is gluten free) or any gluten free flour. Check all other ingredients too of course.
Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.
Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).
Vegetarian Cottage Pie
- 2 tsp Olive oil
- 1 Onion, Finely chopped
- 3 Cloves garlic, Peeled and crushed
- 3 Carrots, Finely chopped
- 3 Celery sticks, Finely chopped
- 250 g Chestnut mushrooms, Finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 1 tsp Dried thyme
- 1 tsp Dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 800 g Green lentils , 2 x 400g tins, drained and rinsed
- 4 tbsp Tomato purée
- 750 ml Vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp Marmite
- 2 tbsp Henderson's Relish
For the topping:
- 1 kg White potatoes
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a saute pan, oven a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and fry for 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms in for another 5 minutes.
- Add the flour, thyme, rosemary, pepper and fry for 3-5 minutes until everything is well coated.
- Add in the lentils, tomato purée, stock, Marmite and Henderson's Relish. Cook for 30 minutes until the sauce is rich and thick.
- Meanwhile, boil up the potatoes until soft enough to mash. Mash with butter and salt and pepper.
- Top the base with the mash potato, then smooth over with the back of a fork to create grooves. Bake at 200C for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.