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Vegetarian Shepard's Pie

Shepards pie

Carrots! Parsnips! Sweet potatoes! Root vegetables are in season and we should be eating these wholesome - and economical - gems. All root vegetables are a good source of fiber and potassium. Sweet potatoes and carrots have the added benefit of being a rich source of vitamin A. Root vegetables are extremely versatile - you can simply roast them, feature them in soups, bake them as an alternative to chips, or incorporate them in a hearty grain salad.

To demonstrate their versatility, let's try a new take on a classic comfort food: Shepard's Pie. The flavor comes from the herbs and aromatic vegetables making it a natural meatless meal. While this recipe may appear a little laborious, it freezes well and prepares enough for leftovers making it one of my go-to winter recipes.

Vegetarian Shepard's Pie

Serves 8


  • 1.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup low fat milk
  • 2 T chopped parsley
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided in half
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced evenly
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced evenly
  • 2 ribs celery, diced evenly
  • 6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups French green lentils, dry
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot in cold water with at least 1 inch of water over the vegetables. Salt water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow potatoes and parsnips to cook both vegetables are fork tender, approximately 25 minutes. Drain, return the vegetables to the pot, and add 1/3 cup milk, 2 tbsp olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash well with a potato masher or fork. If you need more milk, add the remaining 1/3 cup. Set the mashed potatoes and parsnips aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 cup lentils and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce and simmer until lentils are tender and have absorbed all liquid, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, sweet potato, and celery and cook until both vegetables are tender, approximately 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes before adding the lentils, rosemary, thyme, and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Simmer the mixture, stirring well to incorporate flavors. Add more liquid as needed. When everything is warm and well mixed, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lentils.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Place lentil mixture in a large casserole dish. Spread the parsnip and potato mash on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are browning. Sprinkle with extra rosemary, if desired, and serve.