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


Brilliant! I had a half can of coconut milk open so I used the fat to cook the veggies and the liquid for the mashed potatoes and added a T. of vegan coconut-nut butter (Miyoko's Creamery) for the mashed potatoes. I also subbed out some of the garam masala with curry powder. I had the split peas already cooked so it came together really quickly. It was delicious and a great new item for our meal rotation.


I love it when you post recipes for main dishes. I try them no matter what else I have planned that week. This was a big hit with the hubby who loves mashed potatoes and samosas both. So... a good marriage of flavors. YUM!


I was tickled to see you post this dish. I began making keema mattar shepherd's pie about 10 years ago. I had the idea the first time I prepared keema mattar, an Indian dish of lamb or beef with heavenly spices and peas and lemon. It seemed like a dish that would be elevated by a crown of mashed potatoes. I've been making it that way ever since. It's a favorite.


This was amazing. I used dried shitakes that I had around, and accidentally made WAY too many green split peas (I was assuming that, like lentils, they wouldn't expand - whoops!), but it was still great. I had a jar of homemade tamarind chutney kicking around the fridge that a friend gave me a while back, and wow did that elevate this into the stratosphere. Any other suggestions for toppings?


I made this last night and my fiancee and I both loved it! Really tasted like a samosa! I used French Lentils (cooked 2/3 of a cup to yield about 2 cups) and put a bit of turmeric in the potatoes and a dash of cayenne in the lentil / pea mix. I topped with scallion, cilantro, and some purple radish microgreens. Great dish I'll definitely make again!


I made this with red lentils because I had them in the pantry, but toasted them in olive oil first so that they retained texture. Turned out really well!


@Deb - I think it could probably freeze well. When I was in college, my mom would make shepherd's pie for me (to take back to my apartment) in single serve baking dishes and freeze them (without first baking them). They were great and I don't remember the potatoes suffering any ill effect, I would have probably added a little butter to them. I have not made this recipe yet, but I had already considered the possibility of freezing this in the future. :)


Hi Heidi, It looks so delicious, mine is also being prepared as we speak! Thanks for the video, though I have to say my rabbits jump in fright and start thumping when they hear the music :-) I absolutely love your dress (shirt?) and was wondering if you wouldn't mine telling the brand and where you got it. Thanks so much and also for years of inspiring recipes. HS: Hi Tal! Thanks for the note, and say hi to the bunnie for me ;) - I bought the dress at last year. I remember it being a bit spendy, but I love the colors, and it has totally held up (I'm hard on clothes because I'm always in the kitchen, or moving stuff around w/ the shop and all)....


Heidi, I made this dish today and it is absolutely delicious! I went with sweet potatoes and the little French green lentils. Sweet potatoes and coconut milk is heavenly! I will be making this again very soon. Thank you so much!


You hit it out of the park with this one: quick, easy, delicious and healthy. Thanks!

HS: Thanks Terry!


I readied this dish yesterday and plan to make it tomorrow night. How I had any potatoes left for the topping is a miracle--because Coconut Milk mashed potatoes are a revelation!!! Don't think I'll ever eat them with dairy again! Thank you, Heidi, for your endless inspiration. And now, fun videos!


What is the best method for cooking the lentils or split peas?

HS: Hi Maria - cover them in and inch or two of water and simmer until they are nice and tender. Season with salt towards the end, and again after draining (to taste)...

Maria Blackburn

Can you suggest a replacement for mushrooms?

HS: Hi Erin - Another reader suggested eggplant - In summer you could try zucchini...or a medley of favorite vegetables.


Looks fabulous, thank you! For those avoiding heavy doses of saturated fat, can you recommend a replacement for the coconut milk? Thank you! HS: Hi Jillian - You can experiment with all kinds of liquids - milk, buttermilk, nut milks, etc. Have fun!


I love this idea! I've just made it with amped up spices. I felt it needed more. I added 1tsp each cumin seed, coriander, 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne, seeds from 4 cardamom pods & a thumb sized piece of ginger & a red chili. It tastes great! I also did mashed cauliflower as the topping instead of potatoes to keep it lighter. Simply mashed cauliflower with a bit of salt & coconut oil. Yum!


Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! The only small change I made was to add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric to the potatoes. Delicious. Thank you.

Nicole Pearce

Amazing recipe!!

Mahee Ferlini

This is so good - and it got even better when I remembered I had a jar of homemade tamarind chutney from a friend in the fridge!


Is this also gluten free? It sounds interesting and I'd like to share the recipe with a friend who is vegan, but is also gluten-free due to allergies.

HS: Hi Stephanie - it is! :)


Made this last night, and it was incredible. For a girl raised on Indian food, this is exactly how I love to cook and eat!


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