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This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower: Recipe

Now, it’s not everyday that I write up on a recipe so soon after I make it. It’s also not everyday that I try out a new dish, and, upon tasting it, yell out in joyful disbelief into an empty kitchen. 

This recipe just needs to be in the world; it just needs to be shared. 



I’m a “free-spirited eater” (read: I will eat it all), but since Mr. Butt Toast is all about that vegetables and health stuff, I often find myself enjoying the challenge of “vegetarianizing” a dish. 

To all the meat-lovers out there: I know, I know, it just doesn’t taste the same without all the cut up animal carcasses. I don’t disagree with that. However, I’ve also found that many of these vegetarian versions are just as delicious (if not more so!), albeit a bit different. 

And this here, my friends, is a prime example. 



This Shepherd’s pie is not only full vegetarian, it also uses mashed cauliflowers instead of mashed potatoes. +10 health points. 

Actually, this mushy white goodness is the reason I shouted out in glee like a crazy person. I steamed it, blended it up, all the while doubtfully anticipating the outcome. But that moment when I put my finger into the mash and the mash into my mouth, the tastebuds of my heart exploded into rainbows of one hundred colours. 

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t hype it up that much. Just know that it was surprisingly delicious and not-veg-ish. In fact, the only difference my humble tongue could discern between this mashed cauliflower and mashed potatoes is that potatoes have a slightly smoother and drier texture. 


Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Mashed Cauliflowers
Serves 3
This Shepherd's pie is not only full vegetarian, it also uses mashed cauliflowers instead of mashed potatoes. Guilt-free eating at its most delicious!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
For the mash
  1. 1/2 head of cauliflower
  2. 2 cloves of garlic
  3. 1 Tbsp butter
  4. 2 Tbsp whipping cream, heavy cream, or milk
  5. 1 tsp paprika
  6. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 1 cup shredded cheese (Note 1)
For the filling
  1. 1/2 cup of dried lentils
  2. 1/2 cup carrots, diced (about 1 carrot)
  3. 1/2 cup celery, diced (about 2-3 stalks)
  4. 1/2 cup brown (cremini) mushrooms, diced
  5. 1/3 cup green peas
  6. 1/3 cup brown onion, diced (about 1/2 of an onion)
  7. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  8. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  9. 1 tsp dried thyme
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika
  11. 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste (or 2 Tbsp ketchup)
  12. 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  13. Salt and pepper, to taste
  14. Parsley, finely chopped.
Making the mash
  1. 1. Prepare the cauliflowers first. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Wash and roughly cut up the florets. Peel the 2 cloves of garlic. When the water is boiled, toss in the cauliflower and garlic. Cook until cauliflower is fork-tender.
  2. 2. When the cauliflower is cooked, drain and let it cool a little bit, until it is safe to handle. Using a hand blender or food processor, blend the cauliflower and garlic with all the other mash ingredients (butter, cream, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper). Also add in 1/2 cup of the cheese.
Making the filling
  1. 1. Boil another pot of water and cook the lentils until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. 2. While the cauliflower and lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables for the filling. Dice the carrot, celery, mushrooms, and onion into equal-sized pieces. Mince the garlic.
  3. 3. Heat the 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. 4. Add in the carrot, celery, and mushrooms. Stir fry until ingredients start to soften, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. 5. Add in the green peas and cooked lentils. Stir to combine.
  6. 6. Add in the thyme, paprika, tomato paste, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavours combine.
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. 2. Pour the filling ingredients into the bottom of a casserole dish. (Note 2)
  3. 3. Spread the mash over the top of the fillings. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over top.
  4. 4. Bake for 15 minutes, then switch to broiling for 5 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.
  5. 5. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional).
  1. Note 1: You can use any cheese you like. I used Mozarella for mine.
  2. Note 2: I used a 7" glass dish for my shepherd's pie.
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