by Olena

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie (Video)

by Olena

5 from 3 reviews

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is a healthy Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash broiled with cheese on top, and filled with ground turkey, corn, peas and chickpeas.

Cozy and healthy comfort food like lazy cabbage rolls and chicken pot pie are often the answer to a “bad day”.

Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is essentially a dog pile of veggies, ground turkey and topped with cauliflower mash. Then broiled until cheese becomes golden and forms a crust. It is a healthier take on traditional Shepherd’s pie with beef or lamb (actually!) and mashed potatoes.

And just to forewarn you – I’m not a potato hater but rather a lover. Just to be clear there is absolutely nothing unhealthy about original Shepherd’s pie. How can I be Ukrainian and hate potatoes when we ate them every day?! Potatoes are not bad for you. I just wanted to have fun with cauliflower.

Kids loved the cauliflower version of Shepherd’s pie more than sweet potato Shepherd’s pie.

Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie served on a plate with fork and spoon

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Cauliflower: I used a whole head of cauliflower to make my most popular recipe – cauliflower mashed potatoes. It makes low carb faux potato crust. Easy peasy.
  • Ground turkey: In the filling, I used half ground turkey and half chickpeas. You can use canned or if you have magic Instant Pot, cook your own to save money and avoid BPA and sodium. The philosophy behind this step is to eat less meat. You can sub extra ground turkey for the beans though.
  • Frozen vegetables: Bagged frozen mix of peas, corn and carrots is perfect to make Shepherd’s pie.
  • Cheese: Grated mozzarella or cheddar go on top of cauliflower mash to make golden irresistible crust.

How to Make Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

I used wide and deep cast iron skillet/Dutch oven or any ovenproof skillet works. You can also cook meat sauce in regular skillet and then assemble pie in a baking dish for broiling.

  • Cook chopped cauliflower and whole clove of garlic (adds flavor!) in a pot with water for 10 minutes after it came to a boil.
  • Cook ground turkey while cauliflower is simmering by sauteing garlic first and then ground turkey, stirring often and breaking meat into pieces.
  • Make the sauce by whisking cold (!) stock and milk, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Then pour over turkey and let it simmer until thickened, for 5 minutes.
  • Make cauliflower mash while meat is simmering away in yummy sauce. Drain cooked cauliflower (do not discard garlic), add butter, salt and pepper and puree until smooth with an immersion blender.
  • Now add frozen (!) veggies and chickpeas to the skillet with meat sauce. Garbanzo beans are a perfect candidate to innocently blend in with delicious sauce, corn, peas and meat.
  • Dollop cauliflower mash on top of filling, spread with spatula and it’s OK if it doesn’t cover entire skillet.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and broil for 5 minutes.

Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie with golden crust and saucy filling

How to Store, Freeze, Reheat and Make Ahead

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To reheat, simply transfer casserole to a small baking dish and bake at 375 degrees F until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes.

Freeze in portions. Simply cook, cool, divide between containers and freeze for up to 3 months. This healthy Shepherd’s pie is perfect for Sunday meal prep. Thaw on a counter overnight before reheating.

To make ahead, cook cauliflower mash and filling. Refrigerate separately for up to 2 days. When ready to enjoy, you will have to bake the casserole because ingredients will be cold straight from the fridge. Assemble in a casserole dish or cast iron skillet and bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Then sprinkle with cheese and broil until golden brown.

More Healthy Comfort Food Recipes

Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie garnished with green onion on white plate

Print

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

5 from 3 reviews

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is a healthy Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash broiled with cheese on top, and filled with ground turkey, corn, peas and chickpeas.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Stove + Oven
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

Mashed Cauliflower Crust:

  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Filling:

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups any milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 oz can low sodium chickpeas, drained & rinsed (I cook my own)
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or fresh
  • 2 cups peas, frozen or fresh

Instructions

  1. Separate cauliflower into florets and cut in smaller chunks.
  2. In a medium pot, combine cauliflower, garlic and enough cold water to cover. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Drain.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking, preheat large deep cast iron skillet or wide dutch oven on medium heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. Add turkey and cook for 8-10 minutes or until brown, breaking into small pieces with spatula.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together stock and milk (cold!), cornstarch, salt and pepper. Pour over turkey, stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.
  6. While meat sauce is cooking, to a pot with cauliflower add butter or olive oil, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, process until very smooth consistency. Set aside.
  7. Add chickpeas, corn and peas to the meat sauce and stir well.
  8. Place dollops of mashed cauliflower on top and level with spatula. It might not cover entire skillet.
  9. Sprinkle with cheese and place under broiler for 5 minutes (rotating if necessary) or until cheese has melted. Serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To reheat, simply transfer casserole to a small baking dish and bake at 375 degrees F until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
  • Freeze in portions. Simply cook, cool, divide between containers and freeze for up to 3 months. This healthy Shepherd’s pie is perfect for Sunday meal prep. Thaw on a counter overnight before reheating.
  • To make ahead, cook cauliflower mash and filling. Refrigerate separately for up to 2 days. When ready to enjoy, you will have to bake the casserole because ingredients will be cold straight from the fridge. Assemble in a casserole dish or cast iron skillet and bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Then sprinkle with cheese and broil until golden brown.
  • If you don’t own any cast iron skillet, make meat sauce in a skillet with a lid and then transfer to a baking dish before broiling.
  • Instead of frozen corn and peas you can use frozen mixed veggies.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

8 comments on “Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie (Video)

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  1. It was delish. I used low fat oat milk and cheated with Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower mashed potatoes but did add the garlic to those. It didn’t thicken enough so I added 1 more TBS of corn starch.

  2. To make this vegetarian should I simply leave the ground turkey out or should I also double up on the veggies and/or chickpeas?

  3. This was my first time trying cauliflower other than just steaming it or stir frying it. Made this tonight and the family LOVED IT!! I love that your recipes are big enough to feed my large family (5 kids, 3 are teens)

    1. Wow, Sharon. You are fast!:) If I’m already messing up the kitchen I might as well make a lot of food. I would rather have leftovers than an empty fridge.:) Glad everyone was happy. 5 kids. WOW! I was crying yesterday that 2 is too much as my 5 year old keeps acting like a 2 year old.

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