Take the traditional shepherd's pie and give it a makeover with this delicious cauliflower shepherd's pie. It's easy to make, feeds a large family, and takes less than an hour to make. This is one dinner recipe you don't want to miss out on!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Who doesn't love the combination of mash and cheese?? It's heavenly!
And when you add an irresistible beef mixture that is rich and meaty into the equation, you know the meal is gonna be tasty.
This shepherd's pie with cauliflower mash is exactly that and more. It has layers of flavors from the thick succulent mixture of lamb and beef, topped with cream cheese cauliflower mash, and finished with a layer of shredded cheese for good measure.
This comfort food is the perfect way to impress your family for dinner no matter the weather outside - and it's so easy to make for home cooks as you only need a skillet and a casserole dish... Plus, an hour of your time!
What's better is that you can make two of them and freeze one for next week to save you time and give you a ready-made meal for quick midweek dinners.
Try this cauliflower shepherd's pie recipe if you're looking to add a delicious low-carb option to your weekly meal plan that will feed your family on a budget without compromising flavor and quality.
🍽 Key ingredients
Using fresh ingredients and quality ground meat is essential for this irresistible cauliflower shepherd's pie.
Meat - Using a mixture of ground beef and ground lamb for the meat filling produces a wonderful flavor.
Mashed cauliflower topping - We're using cauliflower as a low-carb alternative and turning it into a creamy mash by blending them with butter and cream cheese.
Seasonings - Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper is all you need to flavor the meat.
Meat filling - For the base flavor, use garlic, onion, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and tomato paste to give it richness, and chopped green beans to make it hearty.
Cheese - To cover the mashed cauliflower, you will need a strong-flavored cheese, like cheddar cheese, that will melt into gooey goodness and provide a sharp taste to the dish.
If you don't have any Italian seasoning on hand to give the meat flavor, use a sprinkle of dried rosemary or thyme.
An equal substitute instead of cream cheese is sour cream for the mashed cauliflower. The sour cream still gives the mash a lovely creamy flavor and
You can use a mixture of shredded cheese to make the topping really cheesy and flavorful instead of just cheddar. Monterrey Jack, mozzarella, parmesan, and Colby cheese are all excellent substitutions.
Add more veg to the shepherd's pie by throwing in some frozen veg to save on prep time. Frozen peas, carrots, corn, and broccoli are great options.
🔪 How to make
Cauliflower shepherd's pie is easy to make and takes 15-20 minutes to prepare the succulent meat filling and mashed cauliflower and 40 minutes to bake it with a golden cheese top.
Finely dice the onion and garlic.
Wash and cut the florets from the cauliflower.
Grate the cheddar cheese block for the topping.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius and place the oven rack in the middle.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place the cauliflower florets into it, cooking them over medium-high heat until fork-tender.
While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the diced onion and minced garlic for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
Add the ground beef and ground lamb to the skillet, sautéing until the meat is fully browned.
Drain away any excess fat and mix in the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth to the meat filling, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes until dark in color and thickened.
Toss in the green beans and give the meat filling a stir.
Pour the meat filling into your casserole dish.
Strain the cauliflower florets off the excess water and mash them with a potato masher or blend them in a food processor.
Add the butter, cream cheese, salt, and pepper to the mashed cauliflower, and combine until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary!
Top the meat mixture with the mashed cauliflower topping and sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over it.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and the meat filling is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
💭 Cooking Tips
Use aluminum trays
If you're making a bigger batch of shepherd's pie, use big and small aluminum trays for storing it in. The small aluminum trays are ideal for microwaving at work and for individual lunch/dinner portions, and the large trays are perfect for a quick midweek meal.
Make a thicker gravy
If you find that the beef filling is too watery, you can instantly thicken it by mixing a teaspoon of water with a teaspoon of cornflour or arrowroot powder and stir that into the gravy.
Make variations of the shepherd's pie with cauliflower mash recipe by adding in some crispy bacon for a bit of crunchy texture or make a butternut squash topping instead of cauliflower, or make it a poultry shepherd's pie with ground chicken/turkey.
If you're like me and love bacon, you should definitely try adding 200 grams of chopped bacon with the ground meats. Crispy bacon pieces add a lovely crunch and smokiness to the mixture.
Butternut squash topping
Swap the cauliflower for 1 small butternut squash and 2 medium potatoes. Boil them until soft, drain the water, and blend them until smooth. Mix in the butter and cream cheese, and season to taste. The mashed potatoes and butternut squash topping is a delicious alternative to cauliflower.
Ground turkey shepherd's pie
If you don't have lamb, you could always make this recipe using ground turkey and chicken instead of beef and lamb and swap the beef stock for chicken.
🥗 What to serve with
If you're looking for something to pair with this delicious shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower topping, green beans and asparagus are good options for keeping the carbs to a minimum, or use some of the cauliflower to make a tasty stuffing side dish.
Green beans with ham: This quick and easy side dish is perfect for hearty casserole meals like shepherd's pie, and it's healthy.
Garlic green beans: Sauté some green beans in a bit of butter and garlic, and you'll have a tasty little side dish to accompany the show stopper pie.
Asparagus with almonds: Garden greens are full of fiber and nutritious goodness the body needs, and asparagus is one of the best greens around. Plus, it takes minutes to cook them. A quick sauté and a few chopped almonds are all it takes to create a delicious gluten-free side dish.
Bacon-wrapped asparagus: You could even wrap the crunchy asparagus in bacon and oven-roast them for a few minutes. Bacon-wrapped asparagus is one irresistible side dish that your guests will crave for more.
Cauliflower stuffing: Use up any leftover cauliflower by making this tasty side dish full of flavor. It takes half an hour to make, and is flavored with garlic, onion, herbs, mushrooms, and pork rinds.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
The difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie
The key difference between the two pies is that cottage pie is made with ground beef and/or sausage, and shepherd's pie is made with lamb. The potato topping can also vary from mashed potatoes to thinly sliced potatoes.
Can I use frozen cauliflower rice instead of fresh florets?
Yes, you can use frozen cauliflower rice to make the mashed cauliflower. Boil and strain it first before blending with the butter and cream cheese.
🧊 Storage and ♨️ reheating
Once the cauliflower shepherd's pie has cooled, you can store any leftovers in the fridge or freezer and reheat it in the oven or microwave.
Fridge - Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container or cover the casserole dish in aluminum foil and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer - Place the shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower in aluminum trays with lids and freeze them for up to 4 months.
Reheating - Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the refrigerated leftovers for 15 to 20 minutes and frozen leftovers for 30 minutes until piping hot in the middle. Alternatively, you can microwave the leftovers in a microwaveable dish for 3 to 4 minutes on high power.
👪 Serving size
You can expect this cauliflower shepherd's pie recipe to provide 6 generous servings. I usually scale the recipe to make enough to fill two or three large aluminum trays, so I can freeze them for eating next week or give them away to the neighbors.
Shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower topping is irresistible pure comfort food that everyone will enjoy. And because it uses cauliflower instead of potatoes, it's perfect for a low-carb diet! So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think in the comments!
Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie
- 1 lb ground lamb
- ½ lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Cup white onion - chopped
- 2 teaspoon garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ cup beef stock
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup green beans - cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 medium cauliflower - cut into florets
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese - shredded
- ½ teaspoon salt - to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper - to taste
- parsley - to garnish
- Place the oven rack in middle and preheat to 400°F or 200°C.
- Place the cauliflower florets into a pot of salted water, and boil over medium-high heat until fork tender.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, place the chopped onion and minced garlic in a skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat on the stove.
- Add the meat to the skillet, and saute until the meat is fully browned and the onion is softened.
- Drain away any excess fat. Mix in the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock to the meat mixture, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Toss in the green beans.
- Place the meat mixture into the bottom layer of your casserole dish.
- Strain the cauliflower florets of the excess water, and place them into a blender or food processor. Use whatever method is the easiest for you!
- Add the butter and cream cheese as well as salt and pepper to the cauliflower, and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust as necessary!
- Top the meat mixture in the baking dish with the cauliflower.
- Sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar cheese onto the top of the mashed cauliflower in the baking dish.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes.
- Optional, broil for 5 minutes. (Note 1)
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