Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

By Marla Hertzman, HCTP May 2017

This is the perfect re-creation of a classic dish with a healthy twist! Shepherd’s pie is typically made with rich decadent ingredients, like potatoes, butter, and meat, that can leave you feeling inflamed and overstuffed. Instead of anticipating the dreaded feelings that follow the feast, this lightened-up version uses lighter ingredients, like cauliflower, lentils, and greens, that will leave you with room for dessert!



  • 1/2 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 to 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened rice milk or other nondairy milk, more if needed
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp dry red wine, optional
  • 1 to 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • dash of hot sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder mixed with enough water to make a smooth paste
  • 1 cup baby spinach or Swiss chard, chopped and packed
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, or fresh if in season
  • Sprinkle of paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large saucepan, add cauliflower and parsnip and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor.
  3. Add vegan butter and rice milk and process until smooth. Season with salt, taste, and adjust seasoning. Set aside until needed.
  4. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onions and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until mushrooms are soft and start to release their liquid.
  5. Add lentils, wine, soy sauce, thyme, hot sauce, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch paste and stir into lentil mixture. Bring to a simmer, just until the mixture begins to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Add spinach and frozen peas. Remove from heat.
  7. Pour lentil mixture into 6 small tinfoil pans or a 9″ x 13″ glass pan, then spoon the cauliflower parsnip mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle with paprika.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top begins to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. To freeze: Cool for about 10 minutes, then cover with foil, label, and store in freezer until ready to use.


  • You can always make this with mashed potatoes instead of cauliflower.
  • Frozen corn works well in this recipe.
  • From freezer: Defrost when ready to eat and bake in oven at 400°F for about 30 minutes, or until hot. You can also put in oven without defrosting and bake for about 50 minutes, checking halfway.
  • You can make this in a 9″ x 13″ glass pan or two smaller pans.

Marla Hertzman’s love of food grew from watching her mother in the kitchen cooking and hosting for family and friends. She continues to share her mother’s passion for food, with a healthier approach to ingredients. Marla has been classically culinary trained but adjusted her style of cooking to incorporate plant-based whole foods. Her background in photography inspired her to create her blog, Love Thy Carrot, where you can find delicious and beautiful recipes. Find more from Marla on her website and Instagram.


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