Vegan Shepherd’s Pie in portobello mushroom caps

A dish that’s so tasty you won’t miss the meat!

The more I learn about preparing vegan food, the more I am genuinely learning to love it. I’ll probably always be an omnivore but it feels great to serve up appealing meatless meals a few times each week and I am finding that quite often, good vegan recipes are so delicious and satisfying that I honestly don’t miss the meat one bit. I developed this recipe for my carnivorous husband, who has a lifelong love of Shepherd’s Pie. His overwhelmingly positive reaction to these lentil, walnut and vegetable stuffed Portobellos made me really happy and I suspect this dish is one I’ll be making again and again. I think it would even be a fun appetizer, in cremini mushrooms (which are, in fact, baby Portobellos). Look for nicely rounded Portobellos (almost bowl-shaped) which will hold a generous amount of filling. I’ve offered some make-ahead tips below as well. This dish is delightful on its own, or served with a side salad.

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with a flavourful lentil mixture and topped with mashed potatoes make a rich, satisfying vegan dish that appeals to meat lovers as well.



  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grated carrot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) dry green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups (500 mL) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons / 10 mL) fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) frozen green peas
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Potato topping:

  • 3 medium sized white potatoes
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) vegan butter (use regular butter if not making vegan version)


  • 4 large, rounded Portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) thinly sliced green onion tops (for garnish)


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil then sauté onions and carrots, stirring often, until softened (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more, stirring often.
  • Add lentils, stock, thyme, walnuts and tomato paste. Stir to blend then cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so the mixture is just simmering then cook until lentils are tender (about 35 – 40 minutes). The mixture should still appear quite moist; if it’s dry, add a tablespoon or three of stock or water.
  • At this point the mixture can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Add 3 – 4 tablespoons (45 – 60 mL) of stock or water when you are ready to proceed with stuffing the mushrooms later as they lentils will have absorbed all the excess moisture.
  • Add frozen peas and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While filling is cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
  • Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add just enough cold water to cover. Add salt then put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly while maintaining a gentle boil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain off the water and mash the potatoes thoroughly, adding butter and blending it well.
  • While potatoes are cooking, remove the stems from the Portobellos and scrape out a little of the interior to make a deeper cavity for the filling (a grapefruit spoon is great for this), being careful not to break or pierce the mushroom.
  • Spoon the lentil filling into the mushrooms, distributing evenly between all four.
  • Top with potato mixture, taking care to thoroughly cover the lentil mixture so it does not dry out during baking.
  • Place filled Portobellos on a small baking sheet. At this point they can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F. Bake stuffed mushrooms for 20 – 25 minutes, until filling is bubbling hot and potatoes are nicely browned on top.
  • Garnish with green onions and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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