Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Garlic Potatoes

I’ve been a vegetarian for 13 years and I can honestly say, I never miss eating meat. However, I do miss the heartier dishes such as pot pie and shepherd’s pie especially when the weather is growing cooler and snow can be expected any day. And since I was so used to eating both pot pie and shepherd’s pie with meat, I was not too sure how to make the vegetarian variety.


Recently, I was watching “Chuck’s Day Off” on the Food Network and was elated when he made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie. But it was not just any shepherd’s pie! The mashed potato topping has a whole head of roasted garlic, a block of goat cheese and a decent amount of cream! And under the layer of potatoes is a fantastic, flavourful layer of roasted spaghetti squash. And the final layer, veggies (I substituted zucchini for the mushrooms) and lentils in a herb sauce. I made this meal for my family & I would venture to say that everyone loved it. NOTE: this makes a large pan of shepherd’s pie which lends itself to a lot of leftovers.



  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (60 ml)
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (500 ml)
  • 1 cup milk (250 ml)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts (60 ml)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon flat parsley, chopped (15 ml)
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (60 ml)
  • 1/2 cup smooth goat cheese (125 ml)
  • 1 cup 35% cream (250 ml)
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cups wild mushrooms (you can substitute zucchini)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dried Du Puys lentils, cooked (250 ml) (could use kidney beans or chickpeas)
  • Fried shallots to garnish
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to 300 °F (150 °C).
  2. First, cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 ½ hours. As an alternative, place on a plate and cook in the microwave on high for about 20 minutes.
  3. Put the garlic head on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the garlic is very tender.
  4. In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Mix in the pine nuts, the eggs and herbs. Put aside.
  5. Mash the potatoes with the butter, goat cheese, cooked garlic puree and cream to make them nice and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the spaghetti squash flesh with a fork and put it in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450 °F (230 °C).
  8. Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and saute the onions, carrots and celery over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms (or zucchini) and continue cooking until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cooked lentils and the bread mixture. Stir and put aside.
  9. In an 8 x 11 inches (20 x 28 cm) baking dish, spoon the vegetable mixture onto the bottom. Layer with the spaghetti squash, then the potatoes and smooth them down. Cook in oven for 30 minutes or so until top is slightly browned. Garnish with fried shallots to taste.


Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 70 minutes
Yield: 8


  1. Jeanette says

    thank you for this wonderful recipe , something for every one in this dish, very well rounded out !!! Five forks!

  2. Jenny says

    Going to try this tonight for Thanksgiving (in Canada) but wondering if I’m missing where your “print” button is for your recipes? I can print the whole page but was just curious if you have a handy “print” button. Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!!! Off to the store now :)

    • thefigtree says

      Hey Jenny! I apologize for not having a print option on that recipe. I have transferred all of my other recipes to a platform with a print option. I forgot to do that one! Thank you so much for bringing it up :) Hope you enjoyed the recipe! xo

      • Jenny says

        No problem and thanks for getting back to me. I ended up making it that day but had no clue how long the whole recipe actually took so you’ll laugh, but we had to order pizza that night! Then we had so much pizza we had it last night as well so tonight is FINALLY the night to try this yumminess. It’s been in the fridge two days but I can’t imagine that’ll impact it’s yumminess! Off to heat it up now. :)

  3. Kim says

    Hello, the recipe for Vegetarian Shepards Pie sounds Awesome!! Can the entire meal be made a day ahead of time , kept in the fridge and bake on Thanksgiving Day? Thank you- Kim

    • thefigtree says

      Although I haven’t made it ahead of time, I do think it would be okay to keep in the fridge overnight before baking on Thanksgiving Day :) Hope you enjoy it!

  4. says

    Ah, the ultimate comfort food! This would be a perfect dish for a vegetarian Thanksgiving. I posted a link to this page on my post about Thanksgiving, I hope that is all right with you! Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I don’t miss eating meat either ;)

  5. Asha says

    Just found this recipe for my vegetarian guests. Sounds fabulous and can’t wait to try it!
    Some of my guests don’t eat eggs. What can I substitute for eggs in this recipe or can I just leave it out?

    • thefigtree says

      Hey Asha, I would replace the eggs with 2 tablespoons of corn starch or arrowroot powder mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. This will act as a binder with the breadcrumbs. Hope you enjoy it :)

  6. Laura says

    this looks soooo delicious, but I am allergic to squash. What would you recommend as a substitute? I really want to make this for thanksgiving!

    • thefigtree says

      Hello! :) I think you could just omit the squash. This dish is very hearty to begin with, so I don’t think you’d miss the squash. The mashed potato topping alone makes this dish! Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!


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