This tasty keto shepherd's pie incorporates spinach and onions into the meat mixture.
It's topped with creamy mashed cauliflower instead of the traditional mashed potatoes. It's wonderfully flavorful and satiating!
I love making hearty casseroles, and this is one of my favorites. It's wonderfully filling, my entire family loves it, and it makes a complete meal, so I don't have to bother with sides (unless I want to).
Plus, I love how this keto shepherd's pie is just (OK, almost) as delicious as the traditional pie. Another big plus: it's very easy to make, and the leftovers keep well for several days and taste great!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty casserole. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Vegetables: Cauliflower, onion, garlic, and spinach.
Fats: Olive oil and butter.
Ground beef: Traditionally, shepherd's pie is made with ground lamb while cottage pie is made with ground beef. Since the young ones in my family are not fans of lamb, I use lean ground beef (85/15) in this recipe. I don't recommend going any leaner than that.
To season: Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and garlic powder.
Egg yolks: For the mashed cauliflower. They make it extra creamy!
Making my version of this pie is easy, although admittedly this recipe is more complex than most of my recipes.
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions. Here's an overview of the steps:
You start by preparing the mashed cauliflower topping. Steam cauliflower florets in the microwave, drain them, then mash them in your food processor with butter, seasonings, and egg yolks.
Next, make the pie filling. Cook ground beef, onions, and spinach in some olive oil. You'll need to add the spinach in batches. Drain, then season the mixture and cook briefly to meld the flavors.
Transfer the beef mixture to a baking dish, top it with the mashed cauliflower, and bake until the cauliflower begins to brown, about 20 minutes in a 400°F oven. Let the pie rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
If your baking dish is broiler-safe, you can speed things up by broiling the casserole instead of baking it.
If you opt for broiling, broil it 6 inches below the heating element (not directly below) just until the cauliflower begins to brown. In my oven, this takes about 5 minutes.
Frequently asked questions
It's a simple, hearty casserole of meat and potatoes. In traditional recipes, ground meat (typically lamb) is browned with vegetables and seasonings, then topped with mashed potatoes and baked.
My keto version replaces the potatoes with mashed cauliflower and uses low-carb vegetables.
I should note that if you use ground beef rather than lamb, as I do here, you're actually making a "cottage pie."
In my version of this recipe, there's no need for any flour. I simply saute the ground beef in oil with vegetables. Since I don't add liquids (such as beef broth), there's no need to thicken the mixture.
You can try using celery root, but the nutrition information will obviously change. You'll need to boil it until tender, then mash it with butter and seasonings.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use ground lamb, ground chicken, or ground turkey instead of ground beef. If using poultry, make sure to use dark meat and not the white meat, which is too dry.
- Instead of spinach, you can incorporate cut green beans into the beef mixture.
- You can mash the cauliflower with softened cream cheese instead of butter.
This pie is a complete meal, much like a casserole. So you don't really need to serve it with any side dishes.
Although sometimes I do serve it with a simple arugula salad (which nicely balances out the richness of the dish), or with any of these vegetable sides:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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Keto Shepherd's Pie
- 1.5 lb. cauliflower florets
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt divided (or 1 teaspoon sea salt, also divided)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic granules
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lb. lean ground beef 85/15
- 1 cup diced onions
- 5 oz fresh spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Prepare the topping:
- Place the cauliflower florets in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Add ½ cup water, cover, and microwave until very tender, about 7 minutes.
- Drain the cauliflower. Puree the hot cauliflower in your food processor with butter, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and garlic granules. This should take about 1 minute. When very smooth, add the egg yolks and process for a few more seconds, until fluffy. Set aside.
Prepare the filling:
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and onions. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat as you cook, about 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach leaves in batches and keep stirring. Cook until the beef is browned, 4-5 more minutes. If the skillet gets too hot, lower the heat to medium.
- Drain the beef mixture, then add it back to the hot pan. Add the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, smoked paprika, and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
Assemble and bake the pie:
- Place the beef mixture in a 11 X 7-inch baking dish or a baking dish of a similar capacity. Spread the mashed cauliflower on top, smoothing it out with a spatula. Make sure to seal the edges of the casserole with the cauliflower mash.
- Place the baking dish on the prepared baking sheet (meant to catch any spills). Bake the pie until the cauliflower begins to brown, 20-30 minutes. Allow it to rest and set for 5-10 minutes before serving.