Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Squash Crust

My choir had a Thanksgiving potluck this weekend full of great food, good company, booze, and surprising musical talents. I wanted to bring a shepherd’s pie (my favourite fall food) but with the surfeit of potato I went for a different crust. Basically, I combined and simplified a lentil shepherd’s pie recipe from my favourite vegan blog (It Ain’t Meat, Babe) with a squash mash from new, awesome find Really Nice Recipes. Here’s the combo:

Serves 3-4
Prep + Cook time (parallelized): 90 min


  • 400g squash (1 acorn, but the less sweet the better; use more for larger casserole dishes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup brown lentils (black beans are great for a larger grain texture; adjust water and cooking time)
  • 1/3 cup barley,
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup broth


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cover the squash in olive oil, place a garlic clove in each half and sprinkle with oregano, and dashes of salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven and bake until soft (~30 min).
  2. Boil the lentils (use 2-3 cups of broth, 20+ minutes if starting from dry lentils) and add barley, bay leaf, rosemary, and vinegar ~10 minutes before ready.
  3. Slice the celery and onions, and cut the carrots in 1″ (2cm) quarter-circle wedges. Sauté to softish (coincidentally, ~10 minutes!).
  4. Combine the lentils and veggies, leave to simmer. The squash should be done by now – remove from oven, scoop the soft flesh in to a mash-friendly container, then mash away.
  5. The lentils should be soft and fillingy by now. Pour in to a casserole dish then glob squash mash to cover. You should bake for a while to get the squash a bit drier, but that isn’t strictly necessary. You can also put this in the fridge at this stage where it’ll probably keep well for days, but remember to leave plenty of time for reheat as it has quite a bit of thermal mass.

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