Make Ahead Vegan Samosa Shepherd’s Pie

Imagine a Shepherd's Pie with the flavors of an Indian samosa - that's what's going on here. Vegan, make-ahead, one-dish meal with a split pea (or lentil) base, mashed potato crust, and spices.

Make Ahead Vegan Samosa Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe uses a number of my favorite techniques: mashing, slathering, and drizzling. Imagine a Shepherd's pie meeting the flavors of an Indian samosa. That's where we're headed. Shepherd's pies are typically lamb or meat based, but this is a veg-friendly version.
Make Ahead Vegan Samosa Shepherd's Pie

The Process

Here's how this shepherd's pie comes together. It's pretty straight-forward. You make a hearty, flavor-packed, vegan base using split peas (or lentils), chopped mushrooms, spices, and crushed tomatoes. Layer this under a thick slather of mashed potatoes and baked until the top is golden and a bit crusted. If I know the week ahead is going to be a crusher, I'll assemble everything over the weekend, and all I have to do is pop it in the oven a bit later in the week. Give it a go, this has been on repeat all winter.


I forget to mention this in the video, but you can certainly create smaller, individual pies - they're cute, and people love getting their own. And you can absolutely swap in sweet potatoes, just give them a quick peel first.

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Make Ahead Vegan Samosa Shepherd's Pie

4.15 from 34 votes

Cold-weather comfort food, without a lot of the trappings. You can make the "crust" with sweet potatoes, potatoes, or a blend of the two. You can prepare ahead of time, and bake just before serving. If you use sweet potatoes, peel them.

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 cups cooked yellow or green split peas
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • To serve: a drizzle of melted coconut oil with chopped serrano chiles, micro greens, scallions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F with a rack in the center.
  2. Place the potatoes/sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, salt as you would pasta water, and bring to a boil for about ten minutes, or until tender. Drain, and return to saucepan over heat for a minute or so to dry out a bit. Add the coconut milk, and the salt, and mash together. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the coconut oil with the onion and garlic, and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes, until onions are translucent, and then turn the heat up and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the mushrooms release their water, and start to brown. Add the tomatoes and spices. Stir well, then add the cooked split peas and peas. Cook for another minute or two, taste, and adjust with more garam masala or salt if needed.
  4. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a 8-inch baking dish (or equivalent), spreading it across in a somewhat even layer. Dollop the potatoes across the top, and gently push them around until they cover the entire top of the casserole, run the tines of a fork across the top if you like a bit of texture.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, and finish under a broiler to add a bit of extra color and texture to the top. Serve as-is, or sprinkled with any (or all) of the suggested toppings.

Serves 6.

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


Do you think you could freeze this? Or would the potatoes get weird?

HS: Hi Deb - I haven't tried freezing. Report back if you give it a try!


having lived a decade in london, i've been long dreamt of working out a veg version of shephard's pie - with the potato topping and vegetables cooked in, it was just waiting to happen. now that you've done it, with your usual panache, i am delighted to sit back and enjoy. thank you!

Laura Plumb

I stirred some raw cashews into the split pea mixture in the last step. The coconut milk in the topping is fantastic.


I love, love these videos Heidi!

HS: Thanks Kate :)! Hope all is well with you. xo!


Excited to try this, but have a mushroom allergy! Can definitely just leave them out, but do you have any suggestions for a potential substitute that might work well?


Hi Heidi, Thank you for posting this. In the oven now...cannot wait. I used 2 cups of the smaller French lentils and wondered if I should have used less than 2 cups? Seemed like a lot of lentils. We'll see. Thanks for any help!


This looks amazingly delicious! So, is it split peas that measure 2 cups when cooked? Or cook 2 cups dry?

HS: Hi Elizabeth - measure out 2 cups of cooked. :)

Elizabeth Schmidt

I happened to have all the ingredients on hand so I made this for dinner last night. Loved it - will keep as part of our regular rotation. Followed the recipe except used a bit of almond milk & "Melt" (vegan butter) with the potatoes for a more authentic mashed potato taste. Loved the heat of the serranos w/ microgreens! Wondering what other ideas you might suggest to take this in a different direction besides Indian? Thank you!


Aaah, this is such a good idea! I love samosas, but I can't be bothered to make the dough. This is perfect.


Perfect comfort food for a swedish winter. Love the indian twist, definitely trying this one. Thanks!


This looks amazing but I am allergic to tomatoes. With the Indian flavors, do you think crushed roasted red peppers would be a workable substitution in this? Thanks so much.

HS: Hi Valerie - You could certainly try it - the base is infinitely adaptable.


Shepherds pie is an absolute favorite from my childhood that I've wanted to veganize for years. I am going to try this with herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano in place of the Indian spices, and then finish it with a healthy slather of Magic Sauce. Thanks for this!

HS: Thanks Brit - love this idea!


This is just what I was looking for! It's in the oven and my family will be very excited to dig in for tonight's supper. Thanks a million for making it vegan, too....we are vegetarians who are trying to eat vegan more often, so I'm always on the lookout for creative recipes like this.


Looks great -- how should one cook the split peas and how much uncooked yields two cups cooked?

Maria Blackburn

Thanks for all of the recent vegan recipes! I've been missing your lovely recipes since I stopped eating dairy and eggs!

Elana Sifry

This looks great! And i love the idea of doing it ahead. But, did i read correctly that you don't cook the split peas first? I've found that they take a while on the stove, so i'm a bit surprised they'd be done in the oven in 25 min...

HS: Hi Liz! You're definitely going to want to use cooked split peas (or lentils.


Wow! Such a clever but simple idea, Heidi! I'll definitely be giving this one a whirl

Liberty Browne

Hi Heidi, this looks delicious! I look forward to making it soon.


This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Do you think I can replace the split peas with red lentils?

HS: Hi Melanie - red lentils have a tendency to go to mush on me. You can totally use them, but given the choice, I'd opt for any pulse or lentil that holds its shape a bit better...Enjoy!


Well this is just genius--the flavor of samosas without frying!


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