This vegan lentil hotpot makes the most delicious and wholesome meat-free version of a classic British meal. The rich, hearty lentil filling is topped with crispy potatoes, and ready in just over an hour with minimal cooking time making this cozy weeknight a staple your whole family will love.
Naturally gluten-free and suitable for a vegan diet, this vegan hotpot is an absolute staple in my household (even if my toddler does like to just nibble off all the crispy potatoes!).
It’s a delicious and hearty plant-based take on the classic British hotpot, and gives the same wholesome vibes as my lentil bolognese, this filling vegan chilli recipe, and this classic plant-based shepherd’s pie.
What Is A Hotpot?
The British hotpot originates from Lancashire (often known as a Lancashire hotpot) and traditionally contains diced lamb and onions in a savoury stock topped with sliced potatoes. It’s a classic British comfort food, so it’s nice to be able to still enjoy this hearty and wholesome meal on a meat-free diet.
Ingredient Notes & Equipment Needed
Below are all the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe. Make sure you scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions and quantities at the bottom of this post.
In terms of equipment, I often make this vegan hotpot into a one-pot recipe by using my cast iron skillet. You can simply cook the lentil ragu in the skillet, top it with your thinly spiced potato, and then pop the skillet in the oven to bake.
Alternatively, you can cook your lentils in any saucepan you own, and then transfer them to a baking dish before topping with the potatoes and baking.
Ingredients Needed for Lentil Hotpot:
- White onion: I like to take the extra time to dice my white onion very finely for this hotpot. It’s worth that extra bit of effort for the improvement in texture.
- Carrots: Carrots all up the vegetable count in this dish. You could also add celery for a traditional vegetable sofrito base, although it’s not necessarily traditional to a hotpot recipe.
- Garlic: My rules regarding garlic in any recipe tend to be: use as much as you can handle! Two minced cloves are perfect for this recipe.
- Red lentils: This lentil hotpot recipe uses dried red lentils which we simply rinse before adding to the sauce. Red lentils have the best shape and texture for a hearty ragu that goes perfectly in this vegan hotpot. I’ve listed some potential alternatives in the next section.
- Chopped tomatoes: While adding chopped tomatoes may not necessarily feature in the most traditional of hotpot recipes, they help add flavour and moisture to the lentil sauce in this vegan alternative.
- Vegetable stock cube: I use the Kallo stock cubes and simply add boiling water to combine.
- Tomato puree
- Tamari sauce: This adds a lovely depth to the lentil hotpot sauce, similar to Worchester sauce (which is not vegan). You could omit this if you don’t have it.
- Seasoning: This vegan hotpot recipe uses bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper for seasoning.
- Corn flour: This simply helps to thicken up the lentil sauce so that it doesn’t soak the potato topping. You could also use corn flour.
- Potatoes: Aim to use relatively similar potatoes so your slices are all evenly sized. Wash and peel your potatoes, and chop them into very thin slices. You could use a mandolin for this, but I just use a knife and chopping board!
Substitutions and Alternative Versions
Here are a few swaps and adjustments you could make to this vegan hotpot if you can’t find and/or eat one of the ingredients listed above.
- If you can’t find red lentils, green lentils could also work as a substitution. You could either use the ready-cooked tinned green lentils, or cook the dried green lentil variety. You may need to increase the cooking time and stock added to the recipe. Be aware that green lentils don’t break down into a ‘sauce’ as much as red lentils.
- If you don’t have corn flour, you could use plain flour. Just be aware that this will then mean that the lentil hotpot isn’t gluten-free.
- You can top the lentil sauce with mashed potatoes to turn this recipe into a meat-free shepherd’s pie instead.
- To up the vegetable content, you could add diced celery, mushrooms, parsnips, and other root vegetables to the recipe.
- Add a splash of red wine to your lentil ragu for a deeper, richer flavour.
How To Make This Lentil Hotpot
Here’s an overview on making this vegan lentil hotpot. Again, the exact ingredient quantities and step-by-step directions are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this page if you want to follow along while cooking!
Step 1) Make Your Lentil Sauce
To make the lentil sauce, you start by adding your diced onions and carrots to your skillet or pan, sauting for a few minutes (4-5 minutes) until the vegetables have begun to soften.
Add the garlic, followed by the tomato puree and tamari, seasonings, stock, tomatoes, and rinsed red lentils. Bring the mix to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, adding more water if needed.
Step 2) Add the potatoes
While the lentil sauce is simmering, wash, peel, and thinly slice your potatoes. Some people prefer to use a mandolin to slice the potatoes for an even and uniform size. However, I always just stick to carefully slicing the potatoes with a sharp knife and chopping board.
One good tip I like to use is to slice the underside of the potato just slightly so that it lays on a flat surface, which makes it much easier (and safer) to hold to slice thinly.
Once you’ve removed the lentil sauce from the heat, you can either keep it in the skillet if using, or transfer your lentil sauce to your baking dish. Then, arrange the thinly sliced potatoes on top of the dish. A slightly overlapping pattern moving in rings from the outside to the inside adds a nice aesthetic to the dish.
Step 3) Bake Your Vegan Lentil Hotpot
Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil, black pepper, and thyme, and then cover the dish with foil. Bake your hotpot for 30 minutes with the foil on, and then another 20 minutes with the foil removed to crisp up the potatoes into a golden and crunchy topping.
Storing Your Lentil Hotpot
If you have leftovers, you can simply cover the whole baking dish with foil and store your leftover vegan hotpot in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I would recommend reheating the dish by popping it in the oven with the foil on for 15 minutes and then giving it a final 5-10 minutes with the foil off. Be aware that the lentil sauce may dry out slightly upon reheating.
You could also prepare the vegan hotpot up until the point where you layer on the potatoes, and then freeze for a later date. Cover the top in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow the dish to defrost fully in the refrigerator before cooking according to the directions above.
Similar Recipes You’ll Love
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hotpot?
A hotpot is a simple stew (traditionally lamb or mutton) topped with sliced potatoes and baked in the oven. It is thought to have originated in Lancashire originally. This vegan version of a hotpot uses red lentils in place of meat.
Is lentil hotpot suitable for batch cooking?
Yes, absolutely. A great trick is to make the lentil ragu in advance (I, for example, made a big batch to have as bolognese one night, and then used the leftovers to transform into this delicious vegan hotpot the night after).
How much cooking time is required for this recipe?
Despite this recipe being fairly lengthy, the total hands-on time is only around 15 minutes max – the rest of the time the sauce and then the hotpot is just cooking away on its own, letting all those lovely flavours blend and meld together.
How many calories are in this vegan lentil hotpot?
This vegan lentil and potato hotpot comes in at under 300 calories per serving, making it a delicious and healthy weeknight dinner choice.
Can I use mashed potatoes instead of sliced potatoes?
You can certainly use mashed potatoes to top this recipe instead of sliced potatoes. However, just know that this will be closer to a shepherd’s pie than a hotpot! Have a look at my vegan shepherd’s pie recipe for some inspiration.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 2 medium-large carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 250 g dried red lentils
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 vegetable stock cube + 400 ml water
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp oregano
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly into discs
- Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees C | 350 degrees F.
- Dice your onion and carrot, then add to your skillet or pan with the olive oil and saute for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes, then add the corn flour.
- Add your herbs and spices, tomato puree, tamari, red lentils, chopped tomatoes and half the stock to your pan. Mix everything and bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes, adding more stock as needed. Remove the sauce from the heat when the lentils have cooked and the sauce has reduced.
- While the lentil sauce is simmering, peel and slice your potatoes very thinly (>0.5cm).
- If you are using a baking dish, transfer the lentil sauce to it and use your spoon to level the sauce.
- Arrange your sliced potatoes in a slightly overlapping pattern over the lentil sauce, ensuring there are no major gaps.
- Drizzle the potatoes in a little olive oil, black pepper, and thyme, before covering your dish (or skillet) with foil.
- Bake the dish for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the potato topping is golden and crispy.
- Serve immediately
You’ll know the lentil sauce is ready when the lentils are soft and beginning to breakdown. If the top of the potatoes are beginning to brown but are not yet cooked, cover the dish with foil again for the remaining cooking time.
This recipe will keep great in the fridge for about 3-5 days. You could also make it ahead of time and cover it with foil - then when you're ready, just preheat your oven and pop your lentil hotpot in! This recipe also freezes well, simply cover the dish tightly with foil before freezing. Make sure it's defrosted fully before cooking.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 698mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 13gSugar: 7gProtein: 13g
Nutritional information is not always 100% accurate.