Lightened-Up Shepherd’s Pie

lightened-up shepherd's pie

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This lightened-up shepherd’s pie has cauliflower mash instead of potatoes and lean ground turkey instead of beef, but still serves up all the cozy comfort on a cold night.



For the Cauliflower Mash

  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Filling

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas


How to Make the Cauliflower Mash

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower florets for 10 to 15 minutes or until the are fork tender. Drain the florets and place them back in the same pot. Lower the heat to medium-low heat and, using a potato masher, mash the florets until they have broken down.
  2. Add the butter, sour cream and milk. Continue mashing the cauliflower until the butter is melted and the milk and sour cream are combined. Add 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and mash again until it’s melted into the cauliflower. Give it a good stir and remove the pot from the heat and set it aside while you make the filling.

How to Make the Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic and rosemary and cook them in the butter until they start to soften about five minutes.
  3. Add the turkey, salt and pepper. Cook the turkey, breaking it up with your spatula, until it’s no longer pink, about five minutes or so.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the turkey and vegetables. Add the vegetable stock and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and bring it all to a simmer until the vegetable stock starts to thicken a bit, about five minutes. Add the frozen peas and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer the filling to a baking dish. Spoon the cauliflower mash over the top and smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake the shepherd’s pie for 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s bubbling around the edges. If you want to toast the top turn the oven to broil and place the baking dish under it. Broil it for a few minutes or until the cauliflower mash turns golden in spots.


  • This recipe is heavy on the cauliflower mash, so if you want a little less I recommend cutting the cauliflower mash part of the recipe in half. This will yield enough mash to top your shepherd’s pie with a thin layer.


Keywords: lightened-up shepherd's pie, cauliflower mash