Healthy shepherd’s pie incorporates healthy vegetables into the meat mixture and is topped with creamy mashed cauliflower instead of the traditional potatoes.
I love how this healthy shepherd’s pie is just as delicious as the traditional pie. Yet it is so much better for you. Another big plus: it’s easy to make, and leftovers taste great!
What is shepherd’s pie?
It’s a simple, hearty casserole. In the traditional recipes, ground meat (typically lamb) is browned with vegetables and seasonings, then topped with mashed potatoes and baked.
How do you make a healthy shepherd’s pie?
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions. My very flavorful version departs from tradition. I use healthy spinach, tomato paste, and nontraditional seasonings such as smoked paprika and cumin, which I love for their depth and warmth.
I use ground beef in this recipe because one of us does not like the taste of lamb. And I top the beef mixture with mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
To speed things up, I skip the traditional step of adding broth to the beef then reducing the broth. And I also skip baking the casserole for 30 minutes. I just broil it for a few minutes, so it’s ready fast – and really, it’s just as good.
Try to resist the temptation to make it even lighter by skimping on the butter or egg yolk for the mashed cauliflower. Both add incredible flavor and creaminess.
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power.
Other ground beef recipes that you might like
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Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 large cauliflower head (1 lb. after trimming)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (85/15)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (8oz)
- 8 oz frozen whole leaf spinach
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 egg yolk
- Cut the cauliflower into chunks or florets. Place in a large, microwave-safe bowl, add 1/2 cup water, cover, and microwave until very tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the beef, onions, spinach and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat as you cook, until beef is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Turn heat off.
- Puree the hot cauliflower in your food processor with the remaining salt and pepper, butter and garlic powder. When very smooth, add the egg yolk and process for a few more seconds, until fluffy.
- Place the beef mixture in a square 8-inch, broiler safe baking dish, or a baking dish of a similar capacity. Spread the mashed cauliflower on top. Broil, 6 inches away from heat (NOT directly under the heat element), just until cauliflower is browned, about 5 minutes. Allow to rest and set for 5 minutes before serving.