Shepherd’s pie is an easy dish to convert to the Paleo lifestyle. Mashed cauliflower takes the place of potatoes as the top layer, and the bottom layer is given extra flavor with cinnamon and ground cloves. There are a few extra steps to making comforting and flavorful shepherd’s pie, but when it comes steaming out of the oven you know that your effort has been worth it.
Technically this recipe should be called cottage pie, since it is made with ground beef. Shepherd’s pie was normally made with ground lamb or mutton. I am calling my version shepherd’s pie simply because more people are familiar with the name. But feel free to make it a true shepherd’s pie and substitute lamb for beef in the recipe.
Start by preparing the top layer of the pie. Steam the cauliflower until tender, and then blend with some ghee and mustard to make it creamy.
I usually blend cauliflower right in the pot with an immersion blender. While the cauliflower steams, you could start sautéing the vegetables for the base of the pie. Once the vegetables start to soften the meat can be mixed in. Broth and spices add a depth of flavor to the meat mixture, and once most of the broth is evaporated the dish is ready to be assembled.
I made my shepherd’s pie into individual serving sizes by dividing it up into ramekins. You could also put everything together in one large baking dish. The meat goes into the ramekins first, and then is topped with the cauliflower puree.
You can use the tines of a fork to create extra texture in the cauliflower, which browns nicely under the broiler. The pie is only in the oven for 5 minutes or so, mainly to crisp up the cauliflower layer. Then a hearty serving of this comforting dish is ready for you to dive into.
- For the top layer
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tbsp ghee, melted
- 1 tsp spicy Paleo mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, to garnish
- For the bottom layer
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place a couple inches of water in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, place steamer insert and then cauliflower florets into the pot and cover. Steam for 12-14 minutes, until tender. Drain and return cauliflower to the pot.
- Add the ghee, mustard, salt, and pepper to the cauliflower. Using an immersion blender or food processor, combine the ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned.
- Stir the tomato paste, chicken broth, and remaining spices into the meat mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Distribute the meat mixture evenly among four ramekins and spread the pureed cauliflower on top. Use a fork to create texture in the cauliflower and drizzle with olive oil. Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes until the top turns golden. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.
More Good Paleo Shepherd’s Pie Recipes
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
For the puree:
1 pounds sweet potatoes, washed
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp chili flakes
¼ tsp sweet pepper
For the filling:
½ pound cauliflower florets
1 cup raw walnuts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp chili flakes
1 tbs dried oregano
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium red pepper, cubed
1 medium green pepper, cubed
1 small zucchini, cubed
¼ cup chopped celery
3 cups chopped tomatoes
salt, pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut potatoes in half and place them on a baking dish. Pierce each sweet potato halves several times with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets, walnuts, garlic cloves, dried oregano, coconut aminos, sweet smoked paprika, chili flakes in a food processor and blent to a fine meal.
2. In a large pan heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cauliflower mixture and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the peppers, zucchini, celery and tomatoes and mix well to combine. Cook for 40 minutes more, stirring often or until all the veggies are cook. If necessary, add a small amount of water during cooking to prevent burning. Season to taste and remove from the heat.
3. Scoop the flesh from baked potatoes, add the almond milk and olive oil and make the puree. Season to taste.
4. Transfer the filling into a baking dish and spread the sweet potato puree evenly over the filling.
5. Sprinkle with sweet paprika and chili flakes and bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 30 minutes.