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Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time. 

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

I didn’t know I liked shepherd’s pie until recently. I was intrigued by a recipe that my friends over at Fat Loss Foodies shared a few months ago and decided to give it a go. We LOVED it! I think we were both surprised by how much we loved it. It’s the perfect winter comfort food with the bonus that it a) is a one-dish meal, b) can be prepped ahead of time, c) lends itself to easily become gluten-free/Paleo/Whole30-friendly and d) gives you amazing leftovers.

I’ve made quite a few modifications to the original recipe so I’m sharing my twist with this Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping recipe that I’m sharing with you today.

Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

Let’s address the obvious first. This is definitely one of those meals that looks a bit like a hot mess but you gotta trust me that it all comes together in the most perfect and delicious way.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

You start by sauteing the meat and veggies. This recipe is versatile. I’ve used a variety of veggies including potatoes, carrots, leeks, celery, mushrooms, peas, turnips and more. You can get creative with what you have on hand. I’ve also used both ground beef and ground lamb. You could also do chicken or turkey.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

While the veggies are cooking, you boil your cauliflower for the topping.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

The meat and veggie mixture is thickened with a blend of chicken broth and arrowroot four. It’s a gluten-free thickener that can be used in place of cornstarch.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

You can see how thick the meat and veggie mixture got with the addition of the arrowroot and broth.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

The meat mixture goes into a big casserole dish. I love my Le Creuset Oval Covered Casserole. I’m a bit of a Le Creuset fanatic and can confidently say that it’s worth the investment after cooking with it for 10+  years.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

The cauliflower goes into the blender with some garlic and salt.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

And then on top of the casserole.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

Let’s talk about why mashed cauliflower, because you can definitely do mashed potatoes on the Whole30. I opted to include diced potatoes in my meat and veggie mix and go with a lighter cauliflower topping. I love the taste and texture of the cauliflower on top. It feels hearty but not too, too heavy.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

At this point you can either bake it or stick it in the fridge to bake later.

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

And this is what you get after about 30-40 minutes in the oven. I wish you could dip a fork through the screen because this Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie is so wonderful.

Again, this recipe lends itself naturally to being Paleo/Whole30 friendly but it should NOT stop you from making it if you don’t choose to follow either of those styles of eating. It’s just straight up good no matter what your preferences!

Try it and let me know what you think! 🙂

Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping

From at

https://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/1.26.17caulitopping.jpg
Prep: Cook: Yield: 4 servings Total:

A recipe for Whole30 Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping that is hearty, delicious and easy to prep ahead of time.

You'll Need...

  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 4 small red or yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 small or one large purple top turnip, diced (you can also use more potatoes in place of the turnips)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 leek, white part sliced thin
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken or ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Arrowroot flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • FOR THE MASHED CAULIFLOWER TOPPING
  • 1 head cauliflower, quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-3 quart casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the cauliflower.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, turnips, carrots, leeks, celery and mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften. Give this about 6-7 minutes. Give it a good dose of salt and pepper.
  4. When vegetables begin to soften, add garlic, meat of choice, and Italian seasoning. Break up meat with a spoon.
  5. While the meat is cooking, place the cauliflower in the pot of salted water along with the two peeled garlic cloves. Boil until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain, reserving garlic.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together Arrowroot flour and broth until smooth.
  7. Once the meat is browned and no longer pink, add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add broth mixture and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Spread the meat and veggie mixture in prepared baking dish.
  9. Place the drained cauliflower and garlic into the blender or food processor with a generous dash of salt. Note that you'll want to make sure to vent the cauliflower if you're using a blender. Start on low and work up to a higher speed, until mixture is creamy. I usually don't need any additional liquid here but if you do, add a little broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Using a spatula, spread the mashed cauliflower over the meat and vegetable mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until starting to brown and bubble.

Additional Notes

Recipe adapted from Fat Loss Foodies.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Nathalie Cone January 26, 2017, 2:57 pm

    I’ve never seen such beautifully smooth cauliflower mash before. Can’t wait to try this out. Thank you!

  • Emma January 26, 2017, 5:16 pm

    Not sure if you already know this but as it’s a British national dish & I’m from England, I have to share it! If you use lamb mince it’s a Shepherd’s Pie, if you use beef mince it’s a Cottage Pie and if you use lentils to veggie it up a little it’s a Shepherdess Pie. All delicious. 🙂

  • Jamie January 28, 2017, 12:24 pm

    Made this last night with ground bison and we all loved it! SO many delicious vegetables in the mix! I don’t cook with turnips often so that was also a nice change for us. We aren’t Whole30 or Paleo so I did add a little cheese and whole milk into the cauliflower…b/c I couldn’t help myself 😉 I have also recently made your spiced chicken and chicken curry and my family and I enjoyed those as well. Thanks for sharing all of those recipes! We love mixing it up and trying new dishes <3

  • Noel May 30, 2017, 10:12 pm

    Any specific suggestions on the mashed cauliflower? I am anxious to try this and have been wanting to make homemade shepherds pie but from my reading on mashed cauliflower it is such a lengthly process on draining and squeezing it in cheese cloth over and over again before blending it. You didn’t mention doing that, so I am curious if I can skip that with how you made it? Oh and I am thrilled you used your blender since I do not have a food processor that most recipes require.

    • Coley2123 October 16, 2017, 1:39 pm

      I’ve simply steamed or boiled, drained and mashed with no issue – this type of pie is very forgiving so I’d say give it a try. Depending upon your diet restrictions/preferences, you could use cheese in the cauliflower – that’s what I do to fool the kids and they love this dish… I just can’t let them see me making it or it’s all over (LOL)

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