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Shortcut Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Updated: Mar 2

Serves 6 to 8

Gluten-free, peanut-free, nut-free, oil-free, soy-free,

Let's give a grateful nod to the Irish for creating the original shepherd's pie, a well-known dish with a stew-like meat filling topped with creamy potatoes. Using that combination as inspiration, this Shortcut Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie leaves out the meat, butter, and cream and instead, invites some delicious and healthy ingredients to shine. To make it a shortcut recipe, I call for canned lentils (or your favorite beans) and frozen peas + carrots. Of course, you can cook your lentils from scratch and chop your carrots, if you prefer!

Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, this Shortcut Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is a simple, nutritious, and scrumptious dish anytime you need a little comfort in a bowl.



2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

Optional garnishes: chopped parsley, or for crunch, try chopped walnuts, pecans, or roasted pumpkin seeds


10 ounces button mushrooms, quartered or sliced

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced/grated/pressed (or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder)

2 (15-ounce) cans of lentils with liquid (or substitute white beans or chickpeas)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or vegan Worcestershire Sauce)

1 tablespoon soy sauce (or GF tamari or coconut aminos, or use 1 teaspoon salt)

3 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour) + 3 tablespoons water

2 cups frozen pea and carrot mix

1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary (omit if you can’t get fresh rosemary, dried rosemary can be bitter)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or use 2 teaspoons dried thyme)

Ground black pepper


  1. Make the topping: Add sweet potatoes and salt to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Be mindful not to overcook. Turn off the heat and set aside.

  2. Make the filling: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt. Let them cook untouched for 3 to 4 minutes then stir them. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are fragrant and nicely browned.

  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic. Cook while stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

  4. Tip the cans of lentils with their liquid into the skillet. Stir in tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.

  5. In a small bowl or cup, make a slurry by stirring together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the skillet and cook while stirring as the filling thickens, about 2 minutes. Mix in the peas and carrots. Add the rosemary, thyme, and black pepper.

  6. Finish the topping: Strain the sweet potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them with a potato masher. A fork will also work if you don’t have a masher. Taste and, if you like, add a sprinkle of salt.

  7. To finish and serve: Scoop big spoonfuls of mashed sweet potatoes over the filling in the skillet. Evenly spread the sweet potatoes with the back of a spoon or offset spatula then finish by dragging a fork horizontally and vertically to create a design. Garnish with parsley or nuts. For an even easier way to serve, spoon the filling into bowls and finish with a big dollop of sweet potatoes on top. Garnish. To make ahead, transfer the filling to a casserole dish, top it with the sweet potatoes, then refrigerate. Baked at 375ºF for about 30 minutes out of the fridge. The dish can also be frozen and heated up at 350ºF for about an hour.

Nutrition Notes:

We want to enjoy our food because it tastes good, not just because it’s good for us but you should be aware of some of the wonderful health benefits of these ingredients.

Sweet potatoes are chock-full of nutrients like beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber which protect eye health, support heart health, and promote good digestion. Their gentle sweetness and vibrant color pair perfectly with the dark, rich filling. And because they’re so flavorful, I saw no need to add plant-based butter or milk. If you prefer to use white potatoes for your topping and want to make them plant-based, try vegetable broth or salted cooking water to thin instead of milk. (White potatoes get a bad rap but they’re rich in vitamin C and potassium!) And if you aren't following a low-fat/oil-free diet, a little vegan butter can be used here.

Mushrooms not only make this dish extra hearty, but they can also boost your immune system and support brain health, among many other things. Button mushrooms are the most economical, but portobello and shiitake are also delicious in this dish.

Make lentils your new best friend! Not only are they versatile and ready to transform into meatless meatballs and meatloaf, but they're delightfully earthy on their own in soups, stews, atop grain bowls, and in salads. Make good friends because you'll benefit from their fiber, protein, and essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc.

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