Shepherds Pie Recipe

Shepherds Pie

Being of Irish/Scottish descent, the adjustment away from potatoes was a tough one! I used to make regular Shepards Pie every couple of weeks because it was easy and the kids loved it. When we first got rid of grains, potatoes, and sugars, I thought this was a recipe I would have to forget, until a pregnancy induced craving prompted me to find a healthy alternative. I thought about using sweet potatoes, but then it dawned on me- Cauliflower! I’d used this in place of mashed potatoes and rice before, so why not in this recipe? It was also a great way to sneak an extra vegetable in for the kids.

For those not familiar with it, Shepherd/Cottage Pie is a meat and potato (or Cauliflower) dish. From my understanding, Shepherd’s pie is made with Lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef or other meat. I’ve always used the terms interchangeably. This is an easy recipe to prepare ahead and heat when you are ready to eat, and the leftovers taste better than the first night (unlike the potato version.. I’ve never liked the texture of reheated potatoes).

Shepherds Pie

3 votes


Shepherds Pie Recipe




Yield 6 +

Shepherds pie with a cauliflower topping instead of the traditional potato topping to sneak in some extra vegetables.


  • 2 (or more) pounds of ground beef, turkey or other meat
  • 2-3 heads of cauliflower or 3-4 bags of frozen cauliflower
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (no corn! It's not a veggie!)
  • 1-2 onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon each of basil, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and a little cayenne
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese (optional)
  • Cheese to top (optional)


  1. Brown meat in large skillet and season to taste when cooked. Set aside.
  2. Saute diced onion in skillet until somewhat soft. Set aside with meat.
  3. Pour mixed veggies in the skillet to heat on low heat and in the meantime...
  4. In large pot, boil several cups of water. Add cauliflower, cover, and cook until soft enough to mash.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat, pour off the water, and add butter and cream cheese to the pot.
  6. Add spices and mash. (I use a hand blender to make it really smooth).
  7. Mixed veggies should be cooked by now.
  8. Mix the meat, onions mixed veggies, raw egg and any additional seasonings and put in bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
  9. Spread mashed cauliflower mixture over it until smooth.
  10. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.
  11. Add cheese and bake 5 additional minutes (optional).
  12. Serve warm (or reheat later).

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Ever made shepherds pie? How did it go?

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Reader Comments

  1. We had this tonight–yum! My kids approved too with helping after helping!! I used ricotta instead of cream chz ’cause I had it on hand, and that worked just fine.

    My husband (who’s had real deal in Ireland–lucky duck!) wished it had more textural difference…will work on that for next time 😀

    • Glad you liked it! Keep me posted if you find any improvements!

  2. That sounds like a great idea (: I’ve served mashed cauliflower instead of potato with liver and onions too, makes for a less rich dish!

    I just did a shepherd’s pie with an Indian twist, and your twist on shepherd’s pie sounds yummy and light too! I’ll try that as a topping for pie next time (:

  3. Now that is interesting! I may just have to try sometime, although I’d probably have to try to keep the cauliflower a secret from my husband (who loves his taters) and I’m not sure it would work. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Made this with mashed rutabaga! Turnips and rutabaga are my new favorite potato substitute, they are much fluffier than cauliflower when they’re mashed. YUM!

    • Great idea! I’m going to try those! What a great way to incorporate some root veggies that most people don’t eat.

  5. I don’t buy/use frozen veggies, so wondering what the amount is in fresh? 

     Btw, I’m not easily inspired by recipes (lazy cook that I am), but this one is one I want to try!  Think I’m going to try the rutabaga/turnip strategy too, since they’re abundant (and less expensive than organic cauliflower) this time of year.  Great suggestion!

    • It is usually a couple heads of cauliflower, or a few large turnips. Enjoy!

      • Thanks for replying, Wellness Mama, but I was referring to the other veggies, not the potato substitute ones.  

        • I know this is probably a year old, but I was also wondering that. I don’t like to use the frozen stuff either.

  6. I just made this tonight mainly for lunch tomorrow.   Soooo Yummy.  I did mix in an egg into the cauliflower mash and  it held together perfectly.  Bringing some for my coworker tomorrow.  This is my new favorite lowcarb site.  Thanks!

  7. Made this tonight, A-MA-ZING! I used leftover prime rib roast cut into small chunks and a 750g bag of frozen mixed veggies. Can’t even really tell there’s no potatoes and still feels like a comfort food. Best part is, its husband approved…his words “this is better than regular shepards pie!”

  8. This is GOOD STUFF. I didn’t have beef bouillon, and my husband doesn’t like cream cheese, so we left those out. Topped with Organic Valley raw milk sharp cheddar cheese. It will be going in my regular rotation–mashed cauliflower is wonderful! THANK YOU!

  9. Added some curry paste to the ground turkey! Amazing flavor!

  10. Just made this tonight and it was SO yummy! Thanks for the awesome recipe:)

  11. Hey Katie,

    Question- Whats your deal with corn and peanuts (saw in another post it’s not a nut)? I know corn is severely over used in almost everything but why is it so bad for you on its own? And peanuts aren’t a real nut? Its in the name? 🙂 As a huge fan of bbq’d corn on the cob and Allen’s only peanut ‘all natural’ Peanut Butter I would love to know.


  12. I realize that almost all recipes call for onions and sometimes garlic as ingredients and seasonings, but I have an allergy to them. Any suggestions for substitutions?

    • I too am allergic to them and sometime use an Indian spice called asafetida. It has to be activated by browning in something oily (not watery) then add the meat. One caveat though it smells terrible until incorporated so have a good fan running and seal in a tight sealing glass jar.
      A lot of times though I just put in a lot of other seasonings that I typically use like sage, thyme, coriander, cumin, etc. Experiment to see what you like best.

  13. Hi Katie, Have been making different versions of Shepherd’s Pie for years. One of my favorite is to cook the meat and onions, add organic tomato soup, a teaspoon of dill seed and continue as stated. The tomato soup and dill seed give the dish a whole new taste. Blessings

  14. This sounds great, I can’t wait to try it! Has anyone done anything different to eliminate the cheese?

  15. I make this too, but instead of topping with cheese I top with mashed buttery roast squash.

  16. I plan on making this within the next week. I was wondering if adding only one turnip or rutabaga root would impact the taste. My husband doesn’t like cooked turnip roots. He eats them like apples raw, but won’t touch them cooked. The kids pick up on this and won’t eat them either. I was hoping to sneak some in without really impacting the flavor. I was also going to add a small red potato or two. I’m pregnant and have had to increase my carb intake slightly or else I feel dizzy and tired all the time.

    Would this freeze well? Usually before the baby arrives, I make a few freezer meals. Since we can’t do grains anymore, I am at a loss for what I could make and freeze. Your chicken pot pie recipe froze really well, and I plan to make two of those. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

    • It does freeze well. I would think you could sneak in some extra root veggies.

      • Thanks:-)

    • Magnesium for the dizziness. Blessings

  17. Love! Quick question, do you add the spice mixture to the cauliflower or the meat and veggies? I normally spice the meat and use only butter, cream cheese and pepper to the potatoes ( when I ate them, we do not anymore). I would think the cauliflower would be overally seasoned????

    Thanks love your site, how helpful with sugar busters!

  18. Great recipe! The kids loved it. I made them in individual ramekins and I did not have cream cheese so I put a few table spoons of plain full fat yogurt. I also could not find mixed veggies without corn so I used the one with corn. Thanks, I will be making this again.

  19. My family absolutely loved this version of Shepherd’s pie. I will definitely make this again. Thank you!

  20. This sounds so good. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to give this a go.


  21. Do you freeze before or after cooking?

    I’m trying to make some food for a sick friend and need something healthy and portable. Thanks