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bowl of healthy shepherds pie

Healthy Shepherd's Pie

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 4-5 1x


A healthier version of Classic Shepherd's Pie, deliciously spiced with extra veggies and olive oil mashed potatoes. Gluten free and dairy free.



For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 ½ pounds russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 -to 1 ½ inch chunks
  • ¾ 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 ½ cups chopped)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 ½ cups chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini, chopped or finely diced (1 ½ 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)
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt or more, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
  • Several grinds of black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup frozen petit peas, thawed
  • ½ cup frozen sweet corn, thawed (I recommend organic)


Equipment: A large (12-inch) cast iron skillet or a standard casserole dish.

  1. Cover potatoes with cold water in a large pot and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain and mash with ¾ cup broth, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1½ teaspoons salt and several grinds of black pepper, to taste.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 400ºF. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large (preferably cast iron) skillet, over medium heat. Cook lamb (or other ground meat), stirring, until it loses its pinkness. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and pour off fat from the skillet.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. Cook onions, carrots and bell pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fairly dry and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini and cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Return lamb to the skillet. Add 1 cup broth, 3 tablespoons tomato paste,  ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste, and bay leaf. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the corn and peas and remove from heat. Correct the seasoning with more salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. To assemble the pie, use a spatula to smooth out the meat filling in the bottom of the skillet or casserole. Spread the mashed potatoes out evenly on top and use the tines of a fork to make swirly patterns in the potatoes, if you like.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in the top third of the oven for 25 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown in spots. Rest casserole for 10-15 minutes. Slice into pieces and serve.


Time Saving Tips:

  • Make this recipe in a cast iron skillet. Use it to sauté the meat and vegetables and to assemble and bake your shepherd's pie.
  • Use a food processor to chop the carrots, onion, pepper, zucchini and garlic, with just a few pulses.
  • Use an immersion blender to mash the potatoes right in the same pot you use to cook them.

Reheating Instructions: This shepherd's pie is delicious the next day. Store it in the fridge covered 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 the advice of a professional nutritionist. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, please reduce the amount of salt in this recipe, as needed.

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British

Keywords: Cottage pie, shepherds pie, spicy shepherd's pie, dairy free shepherd's pie, gluten free shepherd's pie