Whenever I think of comfort food, Shepard’s Pie is one of the dishes that always comes to mind. It has a little bit of everything in it, seasoned meat, veggies, cheese, and mashed potatoes. And I know from many years of eating this growing up that people make a few mistakes when making Shepard’s Pie. The biggest one would be the meat and veggie base is too watery and under-seasoned. When you scoop it out like that, you’re left with a liquidy mess in the bottom of the pan and you don’t get all the meat and veggies you want! The solution to this? Tomato paste! It adds a great deep, rich flavor, and helps bring all that yummy filling together so you can get a whole scoop of everything! The second thing people do wrong is they don’t add enough seasonings and you’re left with a bland base. Well, we’ve upped the flavor game there too! As for my comfort food twist, out topper is not just your traditional mashed potatoes, we’ve added a whole head of cauliflower, to make it a little healthier, but also add a nice texture! All this together will give you the best Shepard’s Pie you’ve ever had! Trust me, this recipe is a keeper! So get this in the oven and enjoy a dish that is 100% comfort on this cold and windy weekend!
*Tips: If you want to make this Keto, Whole 30, or Paleo, just use all Cauliflower instead of potatoes. I just think potatoes add a nice creaminess to the dish!
If you double the base recipe, you can freeze half and all you’ll have to do is mash some potatoes and cauliflower another night for the top, instant dinner!
Shepard's Pie w/ Cheesy Cauliflower Top
For the Filling
- 2 tbsp Butter for sautéing
- 1 whole Sweet Onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 whole Bell Pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 4 whole Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Garlic Salt add more/less to taste
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes add more/less for heat preference
- 1/2 16 oz bag Frozen Peas and Carrots
- 1/2 16 oz bag Frozen Cut Green Beans
- 1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
- 2 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese To be sprinkled on top of filling
For Cheesy Cauliflower Top
- 3 whole Medium Sized Golden Potatoes, cut into inch pieces I leave skins on, feel free to peel if you'd prefer
- 1 head Cauliflower, large bottom stem and leaves removed, florets cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup Grated Parm
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a large pan, turn onto medium high heat and add butter to skillet. Once melted, add garlic, chopped peppers, onions, ground beef, and spices. Break up beef. Once cooked, add frozen peas, carrots, and green beans. Stir until well combined and cooked. Mix in tomato paste until everything is combined evenly. There should not be any liquid left in bottom of the pan. Set aside. In a large pot, add cut up potatoes and cauliflower. Fill with water until about 1/2 inch over potatoes/cauliflower. Put on stove on high heat until it boils, then add salt to water and reduce head to simmer until potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender. Drain. **Tip: to ensure your mashed potato topping isn't watery, place back on burner after drained for a minute to 'steam off' extra liquid. Next, add cream cheese, grated parm, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Hand mash until smooth. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Evenly spread meat and veggie filling in the bottom. Sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Spread potato cauliflower mixture over the top, spreading evenly. Use the back of a spoon to add pretty 'swirls' in potatoes. Place in oven on middle pan and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until potato cauliflower mixture is golden brown and cheese has melted. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes, and then serve immediately. Enjoy!