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Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

November 9, 2021
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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This layered vegan shepherd's pie has a sweet and savory topping of mashed butternut squash and sweet potatoes: a hearty + flavor-packed combo that will fit perfectly on your holiday table!

Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

This Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is a delicious vegan Thanksgiving entree that boasts of it's hearty, flavor-packed, and cozy vibes. It consists of plant-based meat, tomato paste for a deep rich color + taste, herbs + seasonings, and a veggie-packed filling. Truly a masterpiece for any occasion. All dairy-free + vegan. Gluten-free option.

Shepherd's pie in a plate with a fork, side of drinks, and bread.

There are so many classic holiday recipes that involve meat. From turkey to roast beef, it's hard to find a vegan or vegetarian-friendly entree that feels as decadent as a traditional holiday meal. That's why I decided to develop this Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie recipe for a fully vegan and gluten-free (see FAQ for this option) comfort food dish that taste just like the traditional version without the meat and dairy.

This pie is topped with a vitamin-packed mash of sweet potatoes and butternut squash for an ultra seasonal flavor. The filling gets protein from plant-based ground meat and so many veggies. Even non-vegans will be coming back for seconds! This recipes of my favorite winter comfort food dishes and it's truly so easy to whip together. Plus, if you're into butternut squash then you'll love this Maple Herb Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and Vegan Pumpkin Curry Butternut Squash. Elevate your weeknight dinners with our Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta, a delightful blend of seasonal ingredients that's both family-friendly and irresistibly creamy.

The awesome part about this recipe is that it's bold and rich in flavors with the healthy factor----which makes even the kids enjoy it. You'll definitely impress your family or guests with this shepherd's pie as a holiday main dish or for an easy winter dinner on any given day. Either way, it's a win, win! Make your fall and winter holiday table shine with our Wild + Brown Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash-- This hearty and heartwarming dish blends earthy squash with a hearty wild rice stuffing.

Overall, this one pot recipe is super easy to makecan be prepped and made ahead for greater ease, adjustable to the ingredients used, only uses a handful of ingredients, comes with a gluten-free option (See my FAQ section below) and it's one that the entire family will love (kids + adults alike)!

What is Shepherd's Pie Made of?

Traditionally, Shepherd's pie originated in England, and is normally made with lamb or mutton as the filling. However, in the United States, it is most often made with ground beef instead. With this recipe, because it's a vegan version----I used plant-based "beefless" crumbles to give it the heartiness as the traditional dish along with the usual veggies like carrots, peas, and corn, as well as white wine, tomato paste, veggie stock, onion, garlic, and herbs + seasonings.

Jump to:
Ingredients on a brown wood table.

How to Make Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This vegan butternut squash sweet potato shepherd's pie is loaded with tons of veggies for a nutrient-dense meal and a form of heartiness that's undeniable.

When it comes to making this comforting recipe, the process comes in 5 easy steps:

  • Begin by prepping your butternut squash + sweet potatoes first! In this step, you'll peel your butternut squash + sweet potatoes past the out layer, and then cut and cube them into medium-sized chunks.
  • Add them to a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil.
  • Finally, you add add the olive oil, seasonings, and bake, and wallah. It’s magic!
  • Then you'll mash the roasted veggies together until creamy (adding a bit of veggie stock or plant-based milk works wonders).
  • Lastly, you'll make the filling over the stovetop, assemble, bake again for a final bubble and browning, and that's it!
Chopped veggies on a cutting board with a knife.

Butternut-Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie Ingredients

First, prepare the topping for your vegan shepherd's pie. You'll need:

  • Butternut squash. A small squash should be perfect for this recipe.
  • Sweet potatoes. You can use yams or orange sweet potatoes.
  • Olive oil. You can also sub with avocado oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil.
  • Herbs + seasonings. You'll need a handful of herbs + seasonings for a nice burst of flavor.
  • Veggie stock or milk. For a nice smooth texture, I like to add a bit of veggie stock or unsweetened plant-based milk while mashing the roasted veggies to perfection!

Shepherd's Pie Filling

This vegan shepherd's pie has a hint of spice from the bit of chili powder and tons of seasonal fall vegetables. Here's what you ned:

  • Plant-based meat crumbles. Use any ground meat substitute you like, such as Gardein or Beyond Meat. You can also use crumbled tempeh or quinoa for a nice "hearty feel", if you'd like.
  • Red onion
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs + seasonings. You'll need a handful of herbs + seasonings to bring together the flavors of each layer---including salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, basil, and chili powder.
  • Tomato paste
  • Flour. This acts as a thickening agent for the filling for that creamy, hearty feel. You can sub with arrowroot starch (a great GF-friendly option), cornstarch, tapioca flour, etc.
  • Vegetable stock. You can also make your own veggie stock or use low-sodium store-bought stock.
  • Frozen peas and corn. Fresh will also work, but if you're making this in the winter or  fall, frozen might be better.
Mashed sweet potato + butternut squash in a bowl being stirred together.

Thanksgiving Tips + Tricks

If you're gearing up to host a Thanksgiving feast that caters to all diets or searching for vegan Thanksgiving recipes for a traditional family gathering or a Friendsgiving celebration, I've got you covered! Check out these articles I've penned for some handy tips, tricks, and a deep dive into plant-based options to make your Thanksgiving day a breeze.

Is Butternut Squash Healthy?

Absolutely, butternut squash is not only a delicious addition to your holiday table but also a healthy one. It's packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making it a fantastic choice! Plus, embracing seasonal eating with butternut squash means you're savoring the freshest flavors fall has to offer. Check out my guide to The Best Pantry Foods To Stock For Fall.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Rich in vitamin A: Butternut squash is loaded with vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, promoting healthy skin and vision.
  • High in dietary fiber: Aids digestion + promotes a feeling of fullness!
  • A great source of vitamin C: An antioxidant that boosts the immune system and promotes healthy skin.
  • Essential minerals: Butternut squash provides important minerals like potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, and manganese, vital for bone health.
  • Antioxidant-rich: Packed with antioxidants, it helps combat oxidative stress and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Provides sustained energy and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels!

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Starting your day with a serving of sweet potatoes is more than just delicious. These root veggies are also great for your health. Some important health benefits of sweet potatoes include:

  • Improved digestion. They actually contain more fiber than regular potatoes! Sweet potatoes are also a great source of magnesium, which helps aid digestion.
  • Boost Your Immune System. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene (a major antioxidant). This fuels your immune system to help protect your body against illness and foreign invaders. You'll also find plenty of vitamin C and B-complex, iron, and phosphorus in these tubers.
  • Treat Stomach Ulcers. Sweet Potatoes can help soothe and repair the stomach and intestines. The immune-boosting vitamins also help cure stomach ulcers. In addition, the dietary fiber helps prevent constipation and acid formation. This can reduce the risk of ulcers.
  • Other Benefits. Sweet potatoes are also naturally anti-inflammatory and can reduce arthritis, pain.
Baked shepherd's pie in a black skillet.

What You Need to Roast Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato

Butternut squash + sweet potato can be roasted in different ways: halved, in slices, or cubed. The method you choose depends on your recipe. In this particular one, we'll be cubing the squash + potatoes.

To roast butternut squash + sweet potatoes, you'll need an oven, one or two baking sheets, or a baking dish, and a large sharp knife + high-quality vegetable peeler to remove the tough skin.

Ingredients Swaps and Substitutions

If you don't have all of the ingredients for this recipe, no worries. These swaps and substitutions work well:

  • Use sweet or yellow onion instead of red onion for the filling.
  • Substitute fresh garlic in the filling with ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • If you're not vegetarian or vegan, you can replace the plant-based meat with real ground beef or chicken or keep things traditional with lamb.
  • Likewise, you can use chicken stock instead of veggie stock, if you prefer.
  • Other frozen veggies, such as green beans or diced bell pepper, will also work----fresh or frozen.
  • For the topping, you can keep things traditional with regular mashed potatoes or add a bit of cauliflower to the mix for a nice twist.

What White Wine is Best in this Shepherd's Pie?

I tend to use a lot of white cooking wine, which is easiest for me. However, I do occasionally add quality white wine to my dishes and I recommend using a dry white wine.

A dry white wine will add the right amount of acidity rather than sweetness, which will better compliment your dish like this Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. In general, any of the following dry white wines work great in this dish:

Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, and dry sparkling wines.

Baked shepherd's pie in a black skillet with a gold spoon.

What to Serve with Vegan Shepherd's Pie?

This dish is a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving table or any meal, really. It's a versatile plant-based main dish that pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes, like...

Common Q + A's for this Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

How to store + reheat leftovers?

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, it's best to do so in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through. However, for a quick warm up---the microwave works too!

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Absolutely! The vegetable mash topping and filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in separate tightly sealed containers. Bringer everything to room temperature, assemble and bake as directed, adding 10 minutes or so to the bake time.

Can I make a larger batch Shepherd's Pie?

Of course! When it comes to this Vegan Shepherd's pie, I used a small (1lb.) butternut squash and 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, which fit nicely in a standard 10-inch medium skillet and serves about 6. However, you can definitely make a larger batch by doubling or even tripling the ingredients (including the amount of butternut squash + sweet potatoes) if you're entertaining a larger crowd and put everything in a large 9x13 or so baking dish!

Can I use other types of squash for this Shepherd's pie? Or is butternut squash the best choice?

While butternut squash is best for it's sweet and nutty flavor, you can certainly use other types of squash like acorn, kabocha, or delicata. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture may vary slightly.

Do I have to use butternut squash or sweet potatoes for the mashed topping?

Not at all! You can definitely keep things traditional by making regular mashed potatoes using Russet, Yellow, or Yukon potatoes. You can also add cauliflower (roasted) to the mix for a nice switch up and creaminess factor.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes! To ensure that it's entirely gluten-free, simply substitute the flour with a GF-friendly option like arrowroot starch, cornstarch, or tapioca flour as well as ensure that the veggie stock is GF-friendly as well as the plant-based meat crumbles---which can also be subbed with quinoa.

More Vegan + Vegetarian Holiday Dishes to Try Next!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Shepherd's pie scooped out of skillet with two gold forks, side of drink + bread.
Shepherd's pie scooped out of skillet with two gold forks, side of drink + bread.

Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

November 9, 2021
5 from 3 votes
This layered vegan shepherd's pie has a sweet and savory topping of mashed butternut squash and sweet potatoes: a hearty + flavor-packed combo that will fit perfectly on your holiday table!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 6 Servings

Ingredients

TOPPING:

  • 1-2 lbs. butternut squash, organic
  • 4 cups cubed sweet potatoes (That's about 3-4 medium potatoes)
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock or plant-based milk

FILLING:

  • 1 (14 oz.) package plant-based beef-less ground crumbles (I love using Gardein)
  • 2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsps tomato paste, organic
  • 2 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled + chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 cups organic vegetable stock, low-sodium
  • 3 Tbsps white cooking wine (You can also sub with veggie stock)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, organic (You can also use a frozen veggie mix as well)
  • ½ cup frozen green peas, organic

Instructions

TO ROAST THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH + SWEET POTATO:

MAKE THE FILLING:

  • Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-safe high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add the flour, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, chili powder, and basil and stir to combine.
  • Add the plant-based meat crumble and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the veggie stock, white cooking wine, tomato paste, and stir until combined and the tomato paste is dissolved. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the frozen corn and peas and stir until well incorporated. Simmer until the vegetables are slightly tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

MASH, ASSEMBLE + BAKE:

  • When the squash and sweet potatoes are ready, transfer them to a large bowl (or you can mash directly on the baking sheet). Mash with a fork or potato masher until completely broken up and smooth with a few chunks. Add the ¼ cup of veggie stock or plant-based milk and continue to stir until smooth in texture. Spread the mash over the filling until evenly covered, leaving a little bit of a border so you can still see the filling.
  • Place the skillet on the baking sheet. Bake uncovered until the top is golden-brown and the edges are bubbling, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more dried parsley, if desired. 
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • MAKE AHEAD: The vegetable mash and filling can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in separate containers. Assemble and bake as directed, adding 10 minutes or so to the bake time.
  • FAQ: See FAQ section for all common questions about this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 1357mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 5917IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

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Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Shanika

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  1. Saw this last week on the kitchn. Made it for dinner last night. Sooo delicious!!! Thank you so much! Will definitely make again soon’

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