Being of Irish/Scottish descent, the adjustment away from potatoes was a tough one! I used to make shepherd’s pie regularly 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’s/cottage pie is a meat and vegetable casserole with gravy, topped with mashed potato (or cauliflower), and baked in the oven. 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 of time and heat up when you are ready to eat. The leftovers taste even better than the first night (unlike the potato version… I’ve never liked the texture of reheated potatoes).
Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1½ tsp salt (divided)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 heads cauliflower (or 3 bags frozen cauliflower)
- 4 TBSP butter
- 4 oz cream cheese (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, optional)
- In a large skillet, cook the meat and onion until the meat is browned and cooked through.
- Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the remaining spices and set aside.
- Pour the frozen mixed veggies into the skillet and heat over low heat until warmed, removing from heat when done.
- While the vegetables are heating, bring several cups of water in a large pot to a boil.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and add it to the boiling water.
- Cover and cook until soft enough to mash.
- Remove the pot from the heat, drain the cauliflower, and add the butter, cream cheese, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Mash the cauliflower mixture with a hand blender to make it really smooth.
- Return the browned meat and onions back to the skillet with the mixed veggies and mix in the egg.
- Pour the meat/vegetable mixture into the bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
- Spread the mashed cauliflower mixture over the top.
- Bake at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes.
- If using shredded cheese, sprinkle it over the top and bake 5 additional minutes until cheese is melted (optional).
Now I just have to figure out a recipe for a good stout homebrew and I’ll be one happy Irish lass!
Ever made shepherds pie? How did it go?
Discussion (36 Comments)
Just made this tonight and it was SO yummy! Thanks for the awesome recipe:)
Added some curry paste to the ground turkey! Amazing flavor!
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!
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!”
Can this be assembled and freeze for later?
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!
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.
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.
Omg that sounds so good! My step father was born and raised in Scotland and had to have rutabaga in his potatoes and Shepard’s pie (my mom had it down)! How do you make mashed potatoes with it? I haven’t had it since he passed several years ago!!
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.
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 (:
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!