Healthy Shepherd's Pie
A healthy twist to the classic comfort food. Make the ultimate comfort food for your family with this fairly simple hearty and traditional meal with a new twist. Regardless of what you call it, a shepherd's pie (also known as cottage pie) is basically a casserole with a layer of cooked meat and savory vegetables, topped with mashed creamy goodness that's baked to perfection. Making the best Shepherd’s Pie is not difficult. But, there are a few steps to it. You have to make the meat mixture, the mashed topping, assemble the casserole, and bake it. I find that the easiest way to make this dish is to make the whole recipe ahead of time. Just assemble the casserole, cover the dish, and keep it in the refrigerator (a max of 3 days ahead) until you are ready to bake it. When you are ready to bake it, take it out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before you need to bake it, to let it start coming to room temperature. Uncover it, and bake. You can even make this dish and freeze it: Freezer instructions - Prepare as directed in the recipe, right up to the final baking step. Wrap well with aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 2 months. When reheating from frozen, no need to defrost, remove foil, and increase the baking time by 20 minutes following the remaining directions below.
Shepherd's Pie: Makes 4 servings
For Mashed Cauliflower Topping:
3 cup cauliflower riced
2 laughing cow light cheese wedges
1 Tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt
¼ tsp Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
For Base for Shepherd's Pie:
2.5 lbs ultra lean 98% or higher ground meat (uncooked) making 28oz cooked
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Low Sodium when possible)
½ cup low sodium broth
1 Tbsp light low Sodium soy sauce
1.5tsp minced garlic
½ Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
1 cup green beans chopped
1 cup chopped colored bell peppers (variety of colors)
For Assembly of Pie:
1 cup of low fat shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff - it melts better) [Pictured I decreased the amount of parmesan and added some shredded Mexican blend cheese, but it's healthiest to stick with just parm]
¼ tsp Paprika
½ Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine (garnish)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 1 - Prepare Mashed Cauliflower for Topping
You can skip this step if you use frozen cauliflower rice (just cooked it before continuing). Place cauliflower in a large pot covered with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook with lid on for 8 - 10 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drain well. Put the cauliflower back in pot with lid on and let stand for 5 minutes. This ensures the cauliflower doesn't get watery. Don't skip this step when using fresh cauliflower.
Place cooked cauliflower in the food processor, blender or magic bullet with laughing cow, yogurt, and spices. Pulse until it becomes whipped/consistency of mashed potatoes (you might want to do it in two batches depending on size machine you are using). Set aside.
Step 2 - Prepare Base for Pie
Brown the ground beef over medium heat. Set aside.
In a separate pan, add 1/4 cup broth, garlic, and mushrooms over medium heat for a few minutes until reduced. Add green beans and peppers, in for 10 minutes or so.
Add browned ground beef, Worcestershire, remaining broth, soy sauce, and parsley to the mixture. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes until cooked through and some of the juice has cooked off (so it's not runny- this is a critical step).
Step 3 - Assemble and Bake Pie
Spread the meat mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with mashed cauliflower. I dolloped it out evenly over the top and then smoothed it down with the back of a spoon to evenly distribute it over the top. Sprinkle with paprika and shredded Parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes until bubbling and cheese is melted.
Broil cheese for a couple of minutes if it doesn't crisp up - it will depend on the type of cheese you use.
Let stand for 5 -10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Divide into 4 equal parts, garnish with remaining parsley and serve.
This is a great dish to do individually in ramekins and customize for different tastes of those you are serving, for example you could add corn for the kiddos. So get creative and make this a family favorite crowd pleaser.
Did you know studies show: overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight? In recent years, an estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to obesity epidemic. Potatoes have a higher glycemic index than table SUGAR, eating potatoes has almost double the effect as eating pure table sugar. Potatoes may not be considered sweet or "sugary" but they are a starchy vegetable. The starch in potatoes is converted to sugar in your body. For that reason, potatoes can have a more significant effect on blood glucose than table sugar, which will increase a person's blood sugar levels. There's around 19 teaspoons of sugar in an average potato, which is more than seven teaspoons in a can of Coke. So long story short cauliflower is a great healthy substitute for potatoes that doesn't create huge spikes in blood sugar.
Ok, now it’s your turn! Make your own healthy casserole with this recipe and take a photo and tag us so we can check it out!
Remember it's not about depriving yourself of delicious food, it's about being mindful of your choices, portion sizes, and coming up with healthier alternatives that are just as good if not better. The goal with these healthy recipes is to show that eating healthy doesn't have to be a struggle and can be delicious and good for you and the kiddos simultaneously. Thus, our mission is to not only guide you to improving your physical health but also create a healthy mindset.
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