Chris’ Slap-Up Ultimate Vegan Cottage / Shepherd’s Pie (VG, GF Option, Oil-Free)

I have wanted to make this for a LONG TIME.

For anyone who doesn’t know – traditionally in the UK we have 2 very famous national dishes (with a very important distinction that some Brits will fight you over). A cottage pie. which is made with beef, and a shepherd’s pie which is made with lamb – sorry to break that to you F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I have 3 very important statements to convey about these dishes though:

  1. Meat, ew.
  2. They are not traditional pies because they are topped with mashed potato instead of surrounded by a pastry case and/or lid which never made me think, but looking back i find odd.
  3. Importantly – This dish hits the same so long as there is ample potatoes and it has a strong savory taste.

I grew up eating cottage pie and shepherd’s pie, they are a staple and usually very simple to make – but of course a few years ago I went vegan which means that the distinction has been lost for me. It doesn’t however stop me craving the one thing that both of these dishes represent: warm, comforting, stodgy, delicious, savory, wonderful food.

With that in mind I set out on one of my most exciting vegan quests yet. The quest to conquer Vegan Cottage Pie. I found a lot of recipes online and many of them used vegan mince alternatives – now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the vegan mince and I use it myself, but I felt like I needed this one to also be verging on healthy. I decided to make it all out of whole food ingredients with zero oil but all the flavor.

And THIS was the result:

Without a doubt one of the nicest things I have made in a LONG time and y’know it was actually super cheap. The cost for all of the ingredients is staggeringly low because it just uses cheap vegetables, and if you replace the red wine with stock instead it’ll be even cheaper! Make this on a Sunday or Monday night and it can easily last out the week. You could even serve it with other vegetables and get more portions out of it and it’ll still feel rich, warming and indulgent!

So without further ado, here’s how I went from this:

to this:

*Slight Caveat: I actually realized part way through the recipe that I had WAY too many ingredients, so the recipe below is accurate, don’t trust the pictures 100%!

Healthy Vegan, GF and Oil-Free Cottage or Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A warming weeknight winter winner that is healthy to boot!



For the mixture:

  • 1 large Red Onion, finely diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3-4 large carrots, finely diced
  • 3 large parsnips, finely diced
  • 4 large Portobello Mushrooms (or 8/9 Chestnut Mushrooms), roughly chopped
  • 100ml Vegan Red Wine (if making alcohol free, swap in 100-150ml of Mushroom or Vegetable Stock)
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 heaped tsp English (Yellow) Mustard
  • 5 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Mixed Herbs
  • 1 tsp Garlic Granules
  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce (or Tamari for Gluten Free)
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tins Green Lentils (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1-2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (to preference – i went with a couple of “glugs”)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 handfuls Garden Green Peas (Optional)

For the mash:

  • 6 medium-large potatoes, quartered
  • 5-6 tbsp Plant Milk of your choosing
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Garlic Granules
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Mixed Herbs
  • 1 tsp English (Yellow) Mustard


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C fan or 220C conventional and separately bring enough water for the potatoes to the boil
  2. In a non-stick pan on a medium-high heat cook the red onion (if needed add a tbsp of water to help fry) – cook for approx. 4-5 minutes until it starts to brown
  3. Whilst this is cooking, salt the water and add the potatoes, allow to cook for 15 minutes
  4. Add the garlic, carrots, parsnips, garlic granules, salt, paprika, herbs, pepper and cumin to the onion and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so that nothing burns / sticks to the pan
  5. Add the maple syrup, cider vinegar and soy sauce (or tamari) and cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom of the pan is de-glazed and you have a nice steam going on
  6. Transfer the mixture to a heavy bottom pot or big pan on a low heat, adding the mushrooms, lentils, red wine, mustard, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and stirring until all incorporated together
  7. Put the lid on the pan and allow to cook in the pot for 15 minutes on low until most of the liquid has been cooked off, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sticking – taste half way and add additional salt/pepper/wine/mustard/Worcestershire sauce as required
  8. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and add the ingredients for the mash, using a strong potato masher to get as creamy a consistency as possible, if needed add extra plant milk for more “fluff”
  9. If adding green peas, add into the mixture now and stir through, allowing to cook for an additional minute
  10. Into a large dish tip the mixture and flatten out, then top with the mash potato – I like to put dollops of potato around the top of the mixture so as not to weigh it down, then use a palette knife to spread
  11. Bake the vegan “pie” for 20-25 minutes in the center of your oven until a nice golden crust has formed on top of the potato
  12. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving

Buon Appetito!

The world is a pretty crazy place at the moment so hopefully this post inspires you, and we would love to hear what you’re cooking and also we’d love to see your attempts at the above dish and how you change it to be yours, so tweet us @rockinblues and @PlantBasedSQL on Twitter and let us know your snug story!