I made this dish on a wet and rainy day. We’ve been lucky enough to have lots of warm dry days so we were definitely due for the wet spring weather. I’m not complaining, this was perfect for me to spend a little time playing in the kitchen. I try to get the kids out as much as possible when the weather permits so my go to meals are ones that take minimal prep and cook time. This was a nice change of pace. Nothing fancy here but rather a dish with a handful of steps to create the finished product. I was thoroughly enjoying myself making a pile of dirty dishes in the process. Especially with no time constraints around dinner hour, baths, bed time, etc..
The thing I love about sepherd’s pie is there are plenty of opportunities for variety. For instance, here I use ground beef, but you could use ground chicken or turkey instead. Or even ground lamb. Also I don’t love mashed potatoes so normally when I make shepherd’s pie I use mashed sweet potatoes. This time I switched it up to mashed cauliflower. I’ll be the first one to admit this doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as sweet or regular potatoes. But trust me, it works. So well in fact Josh didn’t realize he had eaten mashed cauliflower (and not mashed potatoes) until I mentioned it to him. I added in plenty of other vegetables to the mix – onion, garlic, celery, carrot, yellow squash, zucchini, and asparagus. I try to keep our meals loaded with veggies, and we all know I’m all about the one pot meal! I seasoned this version with fresh rosemary and coconut aminos. But use what you like – thyme, oregano, or even cinnamon and all spice. Make it your own.
Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower, serves 8
- 1 very large head of cauliflower
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (canned)
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2-3 carrot stalks, chopped
- 2 small zucchini, chopped
- 2 small yellow squash, chopped
- small handful of asparagus spears, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (~1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- olive oil
- coconut oil or bacon grease
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Chop cauliflower into florets and steam until very tender. Place cauliflower in a bowl and add ghee, coconut milk, garlic powder, and s&p. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Set aside.
- Meanwhile heat up a teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet and brown ground beef. Season with s&p and set aside.
- In same skillet add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion cooking for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir in the garlic, celery, carrot, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, and rosemary. Season with s&p and cook for 5 minutes until veggies are just starting to soften. Mix in parsley, coconut aminos, and tomato paste. Lastly add the browned beef to the veggies mixing well.
- Grease a 9×13 pan with coconut oil or bacon grease. Add the veggie beef mixture to the dish. Top with the mashed cauliflower.
- Bake 30 minutes until top is browned and sides are bubbling.
* Side note: due to using plenty of vegetables my filling was not dry. But if yours appears to be, mix in 1/4 cup of beef broth before baking.
* Also I made this dairy free due to being on the Whole30, but don’t hesitate to add grated pecorino romano to the mashed cauliflower or grated cheddar cheese on top.