A healthy shepherds pie recipe with lots of vegetables, olive oil mashed potatoes, a kick of cayenne, and just enough meat. [gluten-free and dairy free]
Shepherds pie is a savory meat pie with a mashed potato crust. I love that concept!!
The recipe originated in Britain in the mid 1800’s as an affordable dish for the poor. Back in the day it was a practical recipe – a way to make use of leftover cooked meat.
When made with beef, it’s was called “cottage pie” (named for the small cottages the poor folks lived in) and with lamb it was, fittingly, called shepherds’ pie. The meat was minced and topped with potatoes, which had become a reliable and affordable crop.
These once lowly meat pies are now widely adored and are served even in palaces. According to longtime royal cook Darren McGrady, this dish has been a lifelong favorite of prince William, who began eating it as a puree when he was just a baby.
I’ve made some changes to the traditional shepherds pie recipe to take the calories and unhealthy fats down and amp up the flavor.
This healthy shepherds pie is packed the pie with chopped carrots, onions and red peppers. The veggies are sautéed to bring out their natural sweetness, mixed with ground lamb and topped with a fluffy layer of mashed potatoes (made with no cream or butter).
The pie is gluten-free and dairy-free.
There are enough vegetables in this dish to make it a perfect well-balanced one pot dinner.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY SPICY SHEPHERDS PIE
Here’s how to do it, including some time-saving tips to streamline the process.
- If you have a food processor, it makes chopping the vegetables a breeze.
- Chop each vegetable with just a few pulses: Zucchini, carrots, red peppers and onions.
- Boil the potatoes and mash with chicken broth, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- To save time and mess, use an immersion blender to puree the potatoes right in the pot.
- Sauté the meat and the veggies.
- Add broth, tomato paste, herbs and spices.
- Spread the mashed potatoes out on top of the meat and vegetables and use the back of a fork to make swirly patterns.
If you have a large cast iron skillet you can do all the sautéing in it plus use it to assemble and bake your shepherds pie.
A standard casserole dish will also work well.
- Bake the shepherds pie in a 400ºF oven for about 25 minutes, until it’s heated through.
- Let the casserole rest for ten minutes and then cut it into squares and enjoy!
Comfort food without the guilt!
Many people talk comfort food as being something their mother cooked for them when they were little – a dish that brings back warm happy feelings.
I’ve think of it as food that I adore but feel guilty eating, a dish that’s outrageously delicious because it’s filled with tons of decadent, fattening, tasty, unhealthy ingredients.
But that doesn’t have to be the case! The part about being “outrageously delicious” is still crucial, but for a dish to be truly comforting, it has to be healthy, too!
This shepherds pie has gotten as many raves as anything I’ve ever cooked for my family.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Here’s the royal recipe for cottage pie – the way Prince William likes it.
If you’re interested in more healthy comforting recipes, check out these 80 Healthy Casseroles from Cooking Light
Here’s the recipe for Healthy Spicy Shepherds Pie. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
Healthy Spicy Shepherds Pie
A healthy spiced-up version of Classic Shepherds Pie, with lots of vegetables, olive oil mashed potatoes. Gluten free and dairy free.
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Yield: 4-5 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: British
- For the Mashed Potatoes
- 2 1/2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 -to 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 3/4 cup low salt chicken broth (plus you’ll need another cup of broth for the casserole)
- 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- Several grinds of fresh black pepper, to taste
- For the Vegetables and Meat
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb (substitute beef, chicken or turkey, if you prefer)
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups chopped)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, chopped
- 2 small or 1 large zucchini, chopped or finely diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
- 1 cup low-salt chicken broth (I recommend Swanson’s low salt)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I recommend organic or San Marzano)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
- Several grinds of black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup frozen petit peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed (I recommend organic)
Equipment: A large (12-inch) cast iron skillet or a standard casserole dish.
- Make the Potatoes Place potatoes in pot covered with cold water by an inch, over high heat. Boil for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain and mash with ¾cup broth, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1½ teaspoons salt and several grinds of pepper.
- Sauté the Meat: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large (preferably cast iron) skillet, over medium heat. Cook lamb and cook, stirring, until it loses its pinkness. With a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a bowl. Pour off remaining fat from the skillet.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. Cook onions, carrots and bell pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they get fairly dry and start to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and zucchini. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Return the lamb to the skillet. Add 1 cup broth, tomato paste, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the corn and peas. Remove from heat.
- Assemble and Bake the Casserole If using a cast iron skillet, simply even out the ingredients in the skillet using a spatula, and spread the mashed potatoes on top, using a butter knife to even them out. If using a casserole dish, spread the meat and veggies out evenly and top with mashed potatoes.
- Place the skillet or casserole in the top third of the preheated oven and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the potatoes are golden brown in spots. Remove from the oven and let the casserole rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice into pieces and serve.
Time Saving Tips:
- Make this whole recipe in a cast iron skillet, from sautéing the ingredients to assembling and baking the casserole.
- Use a food processor to chop the veggies with just a few pulses.
- Use an immersion blender to mash the potatoes right in the pot.
Reheating: This shepherds pie is delicious the next day. Store it in the fridge and reheat, covered with foil, in a 325ºF oven, until heated through – about 40 minutes.
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a the advice of a professional nutritionist.
Keywords: Cottage pie, shepherds pie
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