Quick to make and easy for meal prep, this Potato & Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is a better for you version of everyone’s favorite comfort food. Warm and hearty, it’s a kid-friendly recipe that is full of vegetables and protein. Prepare it for a weeknight dinner, or make a big batch for fast meals all week long!
What Is Shepherd’s Pie?
Originally created out of the need to repurpose leftovers, shepherd’s pie has now become a beloved comfort food and is enjoyed by many all over the world! However, the exact origins of the dish remain largely unknown.
This recipe is part of our fast meals month, meaning from start to finish, it’s ready in 45-minutes or less!
First called a cottage pie, the dish has diverged into two categories with cottage pies and shepherd’s pies being two different but similar meals. Today, cottage pies are made with beef while shepherd’s pies are typically made with lamb. Also referred to as an Irish pie, shepherd’s pies are made up of three layers and come in many variations.
However, all versions contain some form of meat and potatoes. Keep reading here for more information about the origins and different versions of shepherd’s p
Did You Know? Shepherd’s pies were first made by Irish housewives in the 1700 and 1800s as a way to prevent food waste and feed their families!
Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie
Although original recipes were made with a wide variety of fillings, the meat and potatoes remained largely the same. However, this version is made with a combination of potatoes and cauliflower to form a slightly lower carb gluten free shepherd’s pie that’s full of nutrients and fiber! Plus, you won’t be able to taste the cauliflower at all. So, the picky eaters in your life won’t even realize they are eating extra veggies!
How to Make Gluten Free Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower
For this potato & cauliflower shepherd’s pie, we’ve done our best to make it as simple and as versatile as possible so you can adapt it to fit your dietary needs and lifestyle. Keep reading to learn how we build this basic gluten free shepherd’s pie, find flavor variations, meal prep tips, and more!
Basic Ingredients You’ll Need
- Golden Potatoes
- Ground Turkey
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Tomato Paste
Note: You’ll also need some basic seasonings and kitchen staples such as olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and more. So, be sure to read the full recipe below!
Vegan Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie Option
Looking for a vegan alternative? Feel free to replace the turkey with a plant-based protein source or veggies such as carrots or green peas.
Foodie Swap: If you aren’t necessarily vegan but still want to swap out the turkey, ground beef, lamb, and chicken all work as well!
- Prepare the Potato and Cauliflower Topping. To begin, heat the potatoes in the microwave until they are tender. Do the same with the cauliflower. Then, add them to a blender or food processor along with the milk and spices.
- Blend the ingredients together until they are smooth and thick.
Pro-Tip: For an extra creamy mash topping, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk!
- Sauté the Turkey. In a large pan, sauté the turkey on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until it is browned.
- Sweat the Mushrooms. Next, remove the turkey from the pan, but be sure to keep the fat as it adds flavor. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan, and sautee them for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to sweat and reduce.
- Add Ingredients. Add the turkey back to the pan along with the remaining ingredients, and mix until they are well-combined. Cover the pan, and let the ingredients simmer for 5 minutes or until the turkey is completely cooked.
- Layer. Add the potato and cauliflower mixture on top of the meat and mushrooms, spreading it evenly, and place your cauliflower shepherd’s pie in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
- Garnish. Add chopped parsley and cheese on top to garnish, and dig in!
Make it Fast! For a super quick meal, prepare the cauliflower & potato mash the day before. Then, all you have to do is layer your ingredients, and pop them in the oven for a warm meal in about 30 minutes! Or, use leftovers you may have on hand.
Easy Baking Tips and Tricks
How to Fix Runny Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
There are several reasons why your shepherd’s pie might be runny. For instance, not allowing the meat mixture to simmer or adding too much liquid to the cauliflower and potato mixture can create a runny consistency. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to fix when you add cornstarch, gluten free flour, or even arrowroot starch. However, it is crucial to add these ingredients at the right stage of cooking! For more details, keep reading here.
How to Prevent Gluten Free Shepherd’s Pie from Sinking
The best way to prevent the potato and cauliflower mash topping from sinking into the rest of your shepherd’s pie is to allow the meat filling to cool completely before layering the ingredients together.
Storage Options (Perfect for Meal Prep!)
One reason why I love this potato & cauliflower shepherd’s pie is that it can last all week and it is easily stored, making it the perfect option for meal prep!
Fridge: When stored in an airtight container, leftovers will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Freezer: Once your shepherd’s pie is completely cooked and assembled, it can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Just be sure to let it cool first!
Hungry for more?: Serving Suggestions
In my opinion, this recipe is a complete meal all on its own. However, I’m commonly asked what to serve with it. So, if you’re feeding a large group or just want extra options, try pairing your cauliflower shepherd’s pie with sides such as:
Potato & Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 5 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
Make this Potato & Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie for a lower carb comfort food recipe that is ready in minutes for the perfect meal prep recipe or family dinner!
- 1 pound golden potatoes, diced
- 3 cups cauliflower florets, steamed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5–6 Tablespoons almond milk (or non-dairy milk)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 pound ground turkey sausage or turkey
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari (or coconut aminos for a soy-free option)
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Optional ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- Parsley to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish, and add 2 Tablespoons of broth or water. Cook the potatoes in the microwave for 6-8 minutes on high heat or until they are tender.
- Remove the potatoes from the dish, and replace them with the cauliflower, microwaving for 3-4 minutes or until it is tender. (See notes)
- Place the potatoes and cauliflower in a blender or food processor. Add the oil, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend the ingredients until they are thick and well-combined. (*See notes)
- Remove the potato and cauliflower mixture from the blender, add salt and pepper to taste, and set it aside.
- In a large oven-safe pan, brown the turkey on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes. Remove the turkey from the pan, but keep the fat.
- Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan, and saute them on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to sweat and reduce.
- Add the turkey back into the pan with the tomato paste, molasses, tamari, smoked paprika, chill, and stir until the ingredients are well-combined.
- Cover the pan, and let the ingredients simmer for 5 minutes or until the turkey is thoroughly cooked. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Add the potato and cauliflower mixture on top of the meat, spreading it evenly.
- Place the pan in the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes or until the peaks of the potatoes turn golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool. Add parsley and cheese for garnish, if desired, and serve!
Make Ahead – Prepare the potato and cauliflower mash and the turkey and mushroom mixture ahead of time. When ready to eat, layer the ingredients, and bake them for 20 minutes. Just be sure to reheat the two layers separately before combining them to ensure they spread evenly!
For a microwave alternative, boil the potatoes and cauliflower separately on the stove top, and drain them completely.
No blender? Use a bowl to mash and mix the potato and cauliflower along with the milk and spices.
For a smoother potato and cauliflower mixture, add an additional 1-2 more Tablespoons of milk or broth.
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Main
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: ⅕th Pie
- Calories: 295
- Sugar: 7.8 g
- Sodium: 312.1 mg
- Fat: 12.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 26.3 g
- Fiber: 4.1 g
- Protein: 22.3 g
- Cholesterol: 67.3 mg
Keywords: shepherd’s pie, dinner, low carb, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, comfort food dairy free
This recipe is one of our whole team’s favorites and is requested often. We can’t wait for you to try it, too! Also, if you do, we would love it if you let us know in the comments below.
Besides trading the potatoes for sweet potatoes, what can I use in place of the tomato paste to make this nightshade free?
Hi Kim! Have you checked out our nightshade free post about substitutes? I also have a nomato sauce recipe that you could make and use in place of tomato sauce! https://www.cottercrunch.com/nomato-sauce-nightshade-free/
And this might help https://www.cottercrunch.com/nightshade-free-recipes-intro/
Thank you. Haven’t quite gotten around the nomato sauce thing yet, always forget that as an option. Thank you again
This was a brilliant use of cauliflower, we loved it so much.
So glad! Thanks for feedback Cathy!
Thank you for lightening this up! This is even better than the traditional!!!
Oh I am glad you think so too. 😉