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Healthier Shepard’s Pie

Katie Wilson
Feb. 27, 2024 / VASA Admin
Healthier Shepard’s Pie

In the realm of comfort foods, Shepherd’s Pie is a staple loved by many. However, traditional recipes often come laden with calories and heavy carbohydrates. For those seeking a healthier alternative, we’ve crafted a modern twist on this classic dish that not only satisfies your stomach but also nourishes the body with vitamin-rich vegetables.  


Potato-cauliflower topping: 

  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting the cooking water 
  • 8 oz cauliflower florets (2 heaping cups) 
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk 
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese 


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 2 large carrots, diced 
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced 
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (substitute chicken broth, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


Shepard's Pie on a plate



  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Put the potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover by 2 inches with cold water and about 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. After 3 minutes at a full boil, add cauliflower and cook for another 4-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender enough to easily slide a knife through. Drain well and return to the cooking pot.
  4. Add the olive oil, milk, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Use a potato masher to blend everything into a creamy mash. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, thyme, beef, salt, and a generous shower of freshly ground black pepper. Sauté until the meat is crumbly and no longer pink. Add the peas, tomato paste, wine, chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Adjust the heat to a simmer.
  7. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces slightly and the flavors brighten, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  8. Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture to a baking dish.
  9. Spoon the cauliflower/potato mash evenly over the beef. Scatter the cheese on top and bake for 25 minutes.