This amazing vegan pot pie recipe combines a lentil vegetable gravy with a flaky puff pastry crust topping, then baked until golden brown and crispy. The perfect vegan main dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or a delicious comfort food recipe for Sunday night dinner that your whole family will love.
I am craving all the comfort food right now and since I had a package of puff pastry waiting for me in the freezer, I used it to make this vegan lentil pot pie and it was amazing!
I just love all the homey gravy-type dishes when the cold weather hits the East Coast. These vegan Swedish meatballs have been a classic for us to enjoy during the holiday season and this mushroom corn stroganoff is always a hit, even with our kids, especially when served over a big pile of mashed potatoes.
But this time I was inspired by my vegan lentil shepherd's pie and made this rich, creamy and savory lentil pot pie using vegan puff pastry for a change. Grabbing a box from the freezer is super convenient and will save lots of time, which can be handy for a weeknight dinner or if there is a lot going on for dinner, such as on Christmas or Thanksgiving nights.
The puff pastry crust becomes super flaky, light and crispy while baking, which really contrasts perfectly with the saucy lentil gravy. This dish actually is pretty easy to make and can feed a few people.
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy recipe and convenient, thanks to store-bought puff pastry
- Makes for a delicious Christmas or Thanksgiving main dish
- Perfect meat-less alternative for your vegan and vegetarian guests during the holiday season
- Loaded with earthy and savory flavors
- The lentil stew can be made ahead, then when it is time to eat, then simply cover it with puff pastry and bake!
- Versatile recipe that's easy to adapt to your taste
Ingredients you will need
- Lentils: if you can get a hand on canned lentils, then this would be perfect here. Otherwise, you can use brown lentils or green lentils.
- Onion, celery and carrot: browning these veggies adds a tremendous amount of flavor to the stew.
- Butternut squash: we absolutely loved squash in this recipe. It adds a mild sweet flavor and a nice pop of color too. You can swap for sweet potatoes.
- Garlic: I used 4 large cloves of garlic, which added so much flavor. Use more or less depending on your taste.
- Dried herbs: use your favorite ones! I like thyme and oregano for that kind of earthy saucy dish, but rosemary, basil and Italian mix would work too.
- Flour: will thicken the broth to a gravy consistency. You can use regular all-purpose flour or choose gluten-free flour if necessary.
- Vegetable broth: low-sodium works well here. Use your favorite brand of broth.
- Plant-based milk: helps the gravy be super creamy and rich. I used oat milk from Oatly, but almond milk, cashew milk or soy milk are fine. Make sure it is unsweetened and unflavored!
- Frozen peas: they are sweet and add a nice soft and popping texture to the stew.
- Nutritional yeast: optional if you don't have it, but it deepens the flavor of the gravy so much, I highly recommend adding it!
- Soy sauce: adds a nice umami flavor to balance the overall taste of the gravy.
- Spinach: I used baby spinach, you can swap for baby kale as well.
- Puff pastry: oddly, store-bought puff pastry often is vegan! Just check on the ingredient list to make sure it is not made with regular butter. You can find vegan puff pastry in most grocery stores, I used the vegan puff pastry from the brand Pepperidge Farm. You can even make your own vegan puff pastry from scratch!
How to make vegan lentil pot pie
Between making the lentil gravy and baking in the oven, this recipe can take up to 60 minutes to come together, although there is a lot of hands-off time.
Make sure to thaw the puff pastry ahead of time, ideally the day before in the fridge, but it also thaw fairly quickly at room temperature within 1-2 hours.
Start by preheating the oven to 375º, then prepare and chop all the vegetables.
Cook the lentils
To a medium saucepan, add the rinsed lentils and cover with water (about 4 cups). Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover and keep cooking until the lentils are tender but still al dente, about 15-20 minutes. Once done, drain the excess water.
Make the lentil vegetable stew
Meanwhile, warm up a little olive oil (or oil-spray) in a medium-large skillet (use an oven-safe deep-bottom dish if you can such as a cast iron or dutch oven). Then, add the onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes stirring often.
Add the butternut squash, garlic and dried herbs, then stir. Keep cooking for another 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat them evenly. Cook for about 1-2 minutes (cooking the flour helps add more flavor), then pour the veggie broth over alongside the soy sauce and nutritional yeast. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
It should thicken quickly once it simmers, then add the plant-based milk, cooked lentils, frozen peas and spinach. Stir and keep cooking on medium heat until the peas are thawed and the spinach wilted. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then remove from the heat.
Cover with puff pastry and bake
While the stew is cooking, prep the dough. Transfer and unfold the sheet of puff pastry over a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to expand and roll the dough to just a little wider than your dish (about ¼ inch thick).
Gently transfer the rolled dough right over the lentil filling in the dish, then fold the dough towards the center if there are pieces hanging on the side.
Create some openings over the dough with a sharp knife so the steam can escape, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is puffy and golden brown.
Other kinds of crust you can use
There are different ways that you can cover the dish if you don't have or don't want to use a puff pastry:
- Mashed potatoes: this would make for a shepherd's pie kind of dish, which would be delicious and a little healthier than using puff pastry, if this is something you are looking for.
- Pie crust: I have a recipe for a vegan pie crust that you can use as well. The result won't be as flaky and puffy, but it will be delicious.
- Vegan biscuits: You can place a few dollops of vegan biscuit dough over the lentil stew and then scoop them with the lentil stew underneath when serving.
- Individual puff pastry dough: you can also use the single-portion puff pastry shells you can also find in the freezer section at the grocery store.
- Canned lentils would work well for this recipe if you can find them (harder to find in the United States, but if you live in Canada, then look for them).
- Don't forget to thaw the dough: ideally overnight in the fridge. If you forgot, then take it out and leave it on the counter while you make the rest and unfold it whenever possible to speed up the thawing process.
- You can brush some oil or plant-based milk over the dough just before baking, although not necessary as puff pastry turns golden brown pretty easily.
- Make sure you use a pan or dish that can go in the oven. The size doesn't matter that much, simply adjust how wide you roll the dough depending on the size of your dish (or aim for about ¼ inch thick). If you don't have an oven-safe dish, then simply make the stew in a non-stick pan, then transfer the lentil mixture to a casserole dish before covering it with the dough.
This elegant vegetable lentil pot pie recipe makes for such a delicious main dish to serve at the holiday table, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. It would be great served serve with:
- Mashed potatoes
- Vegan cauliflower gratin
- Onion gravy
- Harissa potatoes
- Purple sweet potato mash
- Green salad
- Smoky ketchup
- Vegan twice bakes potatoes
- Garlic white bean mash
- Homemade wheat rolls
Variations to the recipe
To make the lentil gravy, you can add other veggies if you want such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans
Feel free to play around with the flavorful ingredients as well and add some red wine, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme), tomato paste, miso paste and for a smoky flavor, add a few dashes of some smoked paprika.
This dish is best when enjoyed right away for the best flaky and crispy texture. Once it has rested for a little while, the dough tends to become softer, although still delicious.
If you have leftovers, then keep them in an airtight container for up to 3 days and reheat using the stove to try to bring back some crispiness or use the microwave if in a pinch.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Most store-bought puff pastry brands aren't GF, so to make this recipe GF, then I recommend making your own vegan puff pastry using GF flour. If that's easier, you can use a store-bought GF pie crust, which is more available. Also, swap the soy sauce for GF tamari sauce and use GF flour when making the gravy.
Is this recipe healthy?
The homemade lentil vegetable gravy? yes, absolutely. The puff pastry topping? not so much. Using puff pastry is just so convenient and makes this dish super easy and quicker to make. Plus, it makes it such a treat! You can keep it for special occasions such as Sunday dinners or to serve during the holiday season. For a healthier crust, you can also make your own pastry or swap the topping for healthy mashed potatoes!
Related plant-based recipes
- Vegan lentil coq au vin
- Vegan lentil shepherd's pie
- Vegan lentil sloppy joes
- Vegan meatballs in gravy
- Lentil mushroom meatloaf
I hope you like this vegan lentil pot pie recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Lentil Pot Pie with Puff Pastry and Squash
- 1 cup dry lentils - brown, green, French, or even black lentils work, see notes
- 1 large onion - diced
- 2 celery stems - diced
- 2 carrots - diced
- 2 cups butternut squash or sweet potatoes - diced
- 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ cup plant-based milk - unsweetened and unflavored
- 1½ cup frozen peas
- 3 cups baby spinach
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 sheet vegan puff pastry dough - I used the puff pastry from the brand Pepperidge, see notes for alternatives
- Thaw the puff pastry overnight in the fridge or for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
- Cook the lentils in plenty of water, then drain the excess water. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, warm up a large skillet (oven-safe) with a little oil (I like using oil-spray), then add the onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Add the squash (or sweet potatoes), garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 more minutes stirring often. Add a little splash of water if it sticks to the bottom.
- Then, sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for another 1-2 minutes stirring often. This will help cook the flour and enhance the flavor.
- Pour the broth, soy sauce and nutritional yeast over and stir/whisk vigorously until smooth. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat to medium. Keep simmering stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and the stew thicker, about 10 minutes (uncovered).
- Add the milk, peas, spinach and cooked lentils, stir to combine. Let it cook for a few minutes until the peas are thawed and the spinach wilted. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. The mixture should be very saucy.
- While the stew is cooking, then preheat the oven to 375º and take the puff pastry dough out of the fridge. Transfer the sheet of dough onto a clean and lightly floured counter. Roll into a large square that roughly fits the size of your skillet (about ¼ inch thick).
- Once the stew is done, then turn the heat off and place the sheet of dough over. You can fold the extra dough towards the center that falls on the side. Use a knife to make a few openings over the dough.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Storage: the lentil pot pie is better enjoyed when just out of the oven for the best crispy and flaky texture. If you have some leftovers, then keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven if possible to get some of the crispiness back, but it is ok to use the microwave if in a pinch.
- If you can find a can of cooked lentils, then use this instead of cooking your own dry lentils to save some time.
- If you cannot find a vegan puff pastry at your grocery stores, then know that you can make it from scratch as well. Here is a vegan puff pastry recipe you should check out. You can also simply cover the lentil gravy with a regular pie crust if there is a recipe you are used to making and using for baking, that would work well here too. If you are looking for a healthier and lower-in-fat option, then I would recommend topping it with mashed potatoes and turning this recipe into a shepherd's pie!