Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes

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Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes | @naturallyella

This recipe is in partnership with Frontier Co-op. See below for more details.

I'm always hesitant to share a recipe that has been done many times before. There are countless recipes for lentil Shepherd's pie floating around but I'm really in love with my version. The major differences: no mushrooms (sorry to the mushroom lovers) and bulgur. I love bulgur as a meat-swap. Most notably, in this chili. Bulgur, combined with lentils, a mirepoix and Frontier Co-op's garlic powder, make for a stellar and hearty filling. Perfect for a Shepherd's pie!


Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes

A hearty vegetarian main dish, this lentil shepherd's pie using French lentils cooked with bulgur to add texture and heft to the overall dish. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 70 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course




  • 1/2 cup French (Le Puy) Lentils
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup bulgur

Sweet Potato Topping

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (minced)
  • 2 stalks celery (minced)
  • 2 medium carrots (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour (or unbleached all purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Frontier Co-op Organic garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth


  1. In a medium pot, combine the lentils with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the bulgur, cover, and cook for another 10 to 15- until the lentils and bulgur are tender and water is gone. 
  2. While lentils are cooking, peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook sweet potatoes until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Add cream and salt then mash until smooth. Set aside. 
  3. Heat oven to 425˚ F and set aside a casserole dish. 
  4. Heat a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the minced onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are fragrant and soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute more then add the salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and lentil mixture. Stir until well combined then add the broth. Bring to a boil and let thicken for a couple minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes. 
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are browning and the filling is bubbling. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and freshly cracked black pepper. 


Tips & Tricks: Look for vegan Worcestershire- my favorite brand is Annie’s.

Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: bulgur, lentils, sweet potatoes.

Nutrition: see the information.


  • Calories: 375
  • Sugar: 11
  • Sodium: 693
  • Fat: 9.6
  • Carbohydrates: 64.3
  • Fiber: 10.9
  • Protein: 11.1
  • Cholesterol: 20.4

Step by Step

Lentil Shepherd's Pie


This is one of those recipes that I'm pretty staunch in how I make it. The bulgur/lentil combination is perfect for me and I'm not shy about using heavy cream. However, there are a few options for those wanting to go a vegan/gluten-free route.

Vegan/Gluten-free: To make vegan, simply replace the heavy cream with non-dairy butter or an almond creamer. I’d shy away from using coconut milk/cream as the flavor wouldn’t work well with the filling.

Gluten-Free: It’s hard to have a gluten-free comparison for the bulgur so you could leave it out completely for substitute millet or quinoa- just account for the increased cooking time. Then replace the flour with a gluten-free alternative.

Root Vegetables: The traditional topping for Shepherd’s pie is regular whipped potatoes. This is great but I love sneaking more vegetables into the topping. Try mashed rutabaga, parsnips, or even cauliflower.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes and Bulgur | @naturallyella

Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Frontier Co-op. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It's content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week.

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18 comments on “Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes”

  1. Hi. What would you recommend as a substitute for the lentils? My husband is pretty opposed to them. Thanks!

  2. Your recipe doesn't add the lentils back in...looks delicious! I'm not against garlic powder...but 2 tsp seems like a lot!

      1. 5 stars
        Also missing the instruction to put the garlic powder in the dish! I hadn't realized till after and now will not know how much of a difference it makes until next time haha 😛

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I just made it and it is SO GOOD! Thank you so much!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious with a capital D! As an avid vegetarian always on the lookout for yummy and versatile recipes, this one is a keeper. Thank you! ?

  5. This looks delicious, I can't wait to try!
    Do you think it would keep well to prepare everything the night before and just pop the compiled dish in the oven for the last 20-25 minutes of baking the next evening?

      1. 5 stars
        You're right, I tried it this weekend and it turned out perfectly. Looking forward to leftovers today 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I just served this and really loved it! The perfect fall/winter meal.

    The only change I made was adding an extra carrot, because I love carrots. Also, I thought the lentils and bulgur were done (I cooked them the recommended time), but when I added them to the veggie mix, I realized the lentils were still a little hard. So I added some extra water and cooked them a bit longer in the mix. Just something to keep an eye on while you're making it.

    Thanks for the recipe!


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

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