Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Comfort foods. Who doesn’t love them?? When it is cold and rainy (or snowy) you crave them for some mysterious reason. One of my husband’s favorites is Shepherd’s Pie. If Shepherd’s Pie is on the menu at any restaurant, he is going to order it. It is always overflowing with creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and rich gravy. The meat is always tender because of it’s fat content. He wants me to make it at home and I cringe at the thought of serving (and eating) such a decadent dish. So I decided to come up with a healthy version that is still oh so comforting!

I don’t like to use 93% ground beef for anything! I find it to be too dry and cardboard-like in texture. Even with gravy, I just don’t like it. So with some research I discovered that if you mix it with a little baking soda, it will become tender and juicer. I don’t understand all the science to it but it has something to do with raising the PH!

I also substitute mashed cauliflower instead of buttery mashed potatoes. You can also use sweet potatoes. I find that you don’t need to add all that butter and cream to cauliflower or sweet potatoes like you do with regular potatoes and it will be just as delicious. Here are my recipes for both. I hope you enjoy them!

Mashed Cauliflower

I large head of cauliflower cut into flowerets
1/3 Cup of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 Cup of grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Steam the cauliflower until it is fork tender and transfer the flowerets into a food processor bowl. While it is still hot, add the rest of the ingredients keeping in mind the parmesan cheese is salty. Blend until smooth and taste. Add more salt if necessary. Set aside or serve as is.

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

1 1/2 lbs. 93% lean ground beef
2 tbs water
1/2 tsp baking soda
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix baking soda and water together and pour over the beef. Season with salt and pepper and mix lightly with a fork to combine, breaking up the beef. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.

A little oil for sautéing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Cup mushrooms (I like Cremini) chopped in large pieces
1 Cup chopped carrots (about 2 carrots)
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs whole wheat flour
2-3 tbs port wine (you can use red wine if you don’t have port)
2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 tsp dry
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dry, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 Cups beef broth (I like Better Than Bouillon paste mixed with water)
1 Cup frozen peas
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water
Salt and Pepper to taste

While the beef rests, heat the oil and add the onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until almost tender.

Add the tomato paste and garlic. Sauté for about 30 seconds.

Add the flour and Sauté for another 30 seconds.

Add the thyme, rosemary, and the bay leaf. Add the Worcestershire and the port. Mix it around and add the broth scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef a little at a time flaking it into the pan with a fork into small pieces. Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes until the beef is cooked through.

Stir in the peas and the cornstarch slurry. Let simmer for a few more minutes and turn off the heat. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Remove Thyme sprigs, and bay leaf.

Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray (or individual heat proof bowls) and top it with the mashed cauliflower. Spray the tops with a little cooking spray. Broil until browned.

This can be made ahead and baked at 350 for about 30-45 minutes until bubbly and the top is browned. Makes 4 big servings.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I love Shepard pie! Thanks for the tips to make a healthy version!

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