George’s Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie

(without the sheep, obv)

By George Dryden | Serves 3-4

For the filling

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (or more if needed to prevent sticking)
  • 2 medium-sized leeks, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp each of dried mint, basil and thyme
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • ½ tbsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. dark miso
  • 2 tbsp Tamari
  • 1 tbsp Liquid aminos (Braggs or Marigold)
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce, e.g. Biona organic
  • Generous splash Big Tom spicy tomato juice (several, as needed)
  • 1 bag vegan mince of your choice (e.g. Linda McCartney or Meet the Alternative Beef Mince)
  • 40g each red and green lentils, UNCOOKED, rinsed and drained
  • 6 shitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can plum tomatoes

For the topping

  • 3 medium-sized white potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
  • 125ml carton soya cream
  • Generous glug truffle oil
  • 2 tbsp in total dried herbs of your choice, e.g. tarragon, mint, basil
  • Small handful of finely chopped watercress
  • Small, sweet tomatoes, sliced
  • Melted coconut oil
  • Pumpkin seeds


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180.
  2. Steam white potatoes and sweet potatoes until cooked (about 15 minutes for white potato, 10 minutes for sweet potato (stagger the cooking times)
  3. Set aside in a bowl and cover.
  4. Melt the coconut oil on a low heat, then add the leeks, and allow to soften, still over a low heat.
  5. Next, add the celery, and allow to soften.
  6. Add all herbs and spices: miso, tamari, aminos, Worcester Sauce, bay leaves, basil, mint, thyme, cayenne and celery seeds. Cook for a few minutes with the lid on. You may need to add a little more coconut oil if the mixture is sticking.
  7. Add the lentils, mix well, then add the vegan mince and mix together.
  8. Add a generous glug of Big Tom to prevent sticking, adding more as it is absorbed.
  9. Add the shitake mushrooms.
  10. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, followed by the tinned plum tomatoes. Roughly break down the whole tomatoes, but not so much that there are no large chunks remaining (this adds texture).
  11. Add more Big Tom to achieve a thick yet fluid consistency, like a bolognese.
  12. Simmer on a low heat for 3-5 minutes, covered, or until lentils are cooked. Make sure at this stage that there is enough liquid in the mixture, or the lentils will remain hard.
  13. Once lentils are soft, pour the mixture into a deep ceramic oven dish, leaving a generous gap at the top for the potato. Set aside.
  14. Add a the soya cream in stages to the set aside potato in the bowl, and a generous glug truffle oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer).
  15. Add the dried herbs of your choice, mix roughly with a spoon, then mash vigorously until lump-free. Add more cream if needed.
  16. Add finely chopped watercress and fold into the mixture, so evenly distributed.
  17. Top the filling in the oven dish with the potato, then cover with the sliced tomatoes and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.
  18. Gently melt some coconut oil and then brush over the top.
  19. Place in the centre of the oven, on a baking tray, for 30 minutes.

TIP: I always serve this with gently steamed petit pois, and a dollop of HP sauce on the side. (Throwback to childhood. It’s a thing.).

TIP: Any leftover topping or filling freezes really well, so you could have enough of both left for a smaller pie next time. Just defrost, assemble, and it’s done!

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by George

I’m George Dryden - a slightly-off-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way journalist, blogger and almost-raw vegan. In April 2014, I graduated as a Certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute, in Florida, USA (more about George)

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