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.
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.
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.
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
- Zucchini lasagna
- Santa fe chicken and lentil casserole
- Chicken zucchini casserole
- Black bean quinoa casserole
- Spaghetti squash casserole
- Healthy sweet potato casserole
Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie
Mashed Cauliflower Crust:
- 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
- Separate cauliflower into florets and cut in smaller chunks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add turkey and cook for 8-10 minutes or until brown, breaking into small pieces with spatula.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add chickpeas, corn and peas to the meat sauce and stir well.
- Place dollops of mashed cauliflower on top and level with spatula. It might not cover entire skillet.
- 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.
- 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.
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