Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
17 Oct

Shepherd’s Pie

shepherds pieShepherd’s Pie is comfort food at it’s best. Flavorful ground meat is mixed with a simple blend of peas, carrots and green beans, and in the recipe Cherie Randall submitted for the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest, topped with a creamy layer of buttery cauliflower puree. Once you’ve tasted the smooth texture and rich flavor of cauliflower whipped with butter you’ll want to start eating it straight out of bowl with a spoon. But for this recipe in particular it’s worth waiting to experience the whole dish together. Alone, ground meat and frozen vegetables may not seem like anything special. But when combined with the cauliflower puree into Shepherd’s Pie, the result is the type of home cooked meal all of us wish was waiting for us at the end of a long day.

Ingredients:

ingredients 7
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-3 tablespoons cream (optional)
  • salt & pepper taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas & carrots, thawed
  • 3/4 cup frozen organic green beans, thawed
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed beef or bison
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour or almond flour
  • 3/4 cup beef stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Break the cauliflower into chunky pieces and steam until just tender.

cauliflower steaming

Put in the food processor with 2 tablespoons butter and process until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.

cauliflower puree

Optional: Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth but still fairly thick. Set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté several minutes until soft. Add beef and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring to break up the meat so it browns evenly. Add peas, carrots and green beans and cook another five minutes.

veg with meat

Stir in the coconut flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from skillet and put into a 9-inch pie pan. Spread the cauliflower over the top.

pie before baking

Scatter 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces on top of the cauliflower. Bake 30-35 minutes.

shepherds pie

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Traditional Sheperd’s Pie (with “mash” — potato) is an occasional cheat for me down at the pub — and plus, the gravy is pretty hearty so I suspect it probbly has nefarious thickeners.

    Any rate, I’ve been thinking about doing a paleo version.

    In trying various purees — cauliflower, parsnip, celery root — and combos & thereof, even sometimes with a bit of potato for body, I have to say that parsnip seems the smoothest.

    So, I think that would work excellently here as well.

    Richard Nikoley wrote on October 17th, 2009
    • thats a cottage pie, not a shepherd’s pie. a shepherd’s pie is made with Lamb

      Lorraine wrote on December 20th, 2009
    • Try this with ground venison

      Dan wrote on February 2nd, 2013
  2. oh, yeah! new england just got so cold, and it’s only gonna get worse. shepherd’s pie is such a good one. love it, cherie. thanks.

    cenz wrote on October 17th, 2009
  3. *drools*

    Brett K wrote on October 17th, 2009
  4. Looks fantastic! Thanks!

    MM wrote on October 17th, 2009
  5. Mash cauliflower is a mainstay in my diet! I’ve eaten a similar recipe to this — only real difference is I excluded green beans. Delicious!

    Ogg the Caveman wrote on October 17th, 2009
  6. I’m actually heading out to the market right now and I’ll be sure to pick up more cauliflower. Great reminder.

    Ogg the Caveman wrote on October 17th, 2009
  7. This looks great! Do you think anyone will mind if I put a version of it on my menu??

    Kat wrote on October 17th, 2009
  8. Thanks for the recipe. I really appreciate this kind of written detailed recipe to a video. This will be much easier to cook from.

    I have a jar of roast drippings in the frig that I’ll substitute for the liquids and the rest of the ingredients on hand so I think I’ll try this this weekend as our evenings finally get chilly.

    Kathy wrote on October 17th, 2009
  9. Looks super delicious!

    maba wrote on October 17th, 2009
  10. I think I have almost everything in my house to make this. I think a pint of Guiness would have to follow though.

    warren wrote on October 17th, 2009
  11. I always felt like I ate a bowl full of cement when I ate mashed potatoes. So, caluliflower faux-tatoes are far superior for my taste. Just add a clove (or two) of garlic to that mash and I’m in!

    HIIT Mama wrote on October 17th, 2009
  12. “Add salt to taste”

    Sorry but I can’t go along with that.
    Salt is not needed, just add plenty of pepper.
    There is no reason why you ever need to add salt.

    Bill wrote on October 17th, 2009
    • Bill, I have to disagree. If you eat completely primal, your diet will be low on sodium, something you really don’t want. It is a good thing to add a bit of sea salt to things every day to make sure you aren’t sodium deficient.

      jimmy wrote on October 17th, 2009
      • There IS adequate salt, occurring naturally in a primal diet. My main protein comes from oily fish, prawns, mussels and offal from pastured animals. No added salt at all, for 2 years now.
        It would seem that you are probably addicted to salt to some degree.
        Mentors such as Art De Vany don’t add salt to their diet.

        Bill wrote on October 18th, 2009
        • To be honest, I don’t need to add the salt at all. I do it for my general well being though. At small doses salt will not have any ill effects, and if anything is beneficial to you. This is especially true if you are doing any types of hard work outs where you are sweating a lot. Marathon runners supplement sodium during their races…obviously an extreme example, but it is good to have some extra sodium in your diet.

          jimmy wrote on October 18th, 2009
        • there is nothing wrong with natural sea salt (celtic salt, gray salt, fleur de sel etc. are all fine). regular table salt I agree is not ok but there is nothing unhealthy about using real salt from nature.

          greg wrote on October 18th, 2009
        • what about the taste? don’t you find food bland without it?

          Kat wrote on October 18th, 2009
        • I am replying to Kat’s comment below. No reply option on her post.
          I always add other spices such as chillies, turmeric and ginger. Also generous amounts of garlic. All beneficial for cooling inflammation. Check out Dr. Art Ayers excellent blog -http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/
          Up the spices, and you don’t need salt for flavouring. After a few weeks, salt is no longer an issue. I eat zero processed food, so added salt does not happen.

          Bill wrote on October 19th, 2009
  13. I grew up with Shepherd’s Pie and have done a similar recipe. The veggies are not necessarily standard but I add them. I always use fresh carrots. Fresh beans are not so easy here in the midwest (we’ve already had 41/2 inches of snow and this was before folks could rake the leaves) so I get frozen French beans from Trader Joe’s but maybe they’re not organic? Frozen peas are a great addition but I only add a half cup since I already have the carrots.
    As for seasoning with salt and pepper it’s simply a matter of taste, I used to like to tell people eating my food to add salt as needed but even before they taste the food (with or without this suggestion) so many would pour on the salt. I went to culinary school where you are marked down if you don’t season so I do do it now.

    And for Bill, I understand your concern about salt. So much processed food is supersaturated with salt and some chef’s at fine dining establishments over-salt for my taste. But if you’re cooking real foods you can safely salt for the taste of those eating the meal. There’s absolutely no evidence that the normal kidney can’t handle the amount of salt in a well prepared diet.

    mcoz-09 wrote on October 17th, 2009
  14. I feel dumb. I totally used to make this on a regular basis when I started losing weight at the beginning of the year. Somehow it just kinda fell out of the regular rotation and I hadn’t thought of picking it back up now that I’m trying low-carb.
    Doh!
    By the way, this is technically Cottage Pie when made with beef, Shepherd’s Pie when made with lamb. Well, if we’re being technical we wouldn’t be using cauliflower too, but you know. :-D

    Karell wrote on October 17th, 2009
  15. Wait a minute!!! In the true Paleo diet handbooks, it’s often referenced that one ought not eat BEANS or PEAS – a legume, no? What is the story, and why the contradiction here?? And Mark, is there a complete list of permitted/encouraged foods somewhere on your website, that I haven’t yet found? I keep seeing piecemeal articles, but no comprehensive lists! Please and thank you. =) -J

    Josh G wrote on October 18th, 2009
    • The green bean is a vegetable – it is eaten fresh, pod and all. It will never develop into a pod that you would remove the “beans” from. Legumes come from inedible pods…you eat the bean inside.

      Cherie wrote on October 20th, 2009
    • I’d like to see the comprehensive list as well.

      carolyn medley wrote on November 18th, 2009
  16. I agree with Bill. Too much salt. Especially in the beef broth.

    Back in January I was diagnosed with (very) high blood pressure. Instead of taking those horrid, expensive blood pressure medications, I opted to reduce my sodium levels. I estimate my sodium intake now to average less than 700 mg per day and my blood pressure is down to the level of a 20 year old athlete.

    There is sodium in fresh spinach, fresh celery, etc. According to my minor research one only needs about 500 mg per day and eating the proper foods one can easily get one’s required daily sodium.

    The government, not that I trust them, says the maximum sodium intake is to be 2400 mg per day. Some “experts” are now saying 1500 mg/day. One teaspoon of salt has just under 2400 mg of sodium.

    JAMES HOWELL wrote on October 19th, 2009
    • I made my own beef broth and therefore it contained no sodium.

      Matt wrote on October 29th, 2009
  17. Sea salts can be a good source of minerals.

    Relax about the 10 green beans people! They’re not all that much less paleo than the other stuff you eat! Count them in your 20.

    http://castlegrok.com/what-our-ancestors-ate/

    Grok wrote on October 19th, 2009
  18. I made an improvised version of this recipe last night. I’d had visions of Shepherd’s pie dancing in my head since I read this post, but I didn’t have the same ingredients on hand. My substitutes: pastured ground pork for beef, fresh carrots and leeks for the frozen veg, dried oregano for the herbs, and I left out the flour (well, I forgot it). Absolutely delicious! Since we already have Shepherd’s Pie (lamb)and Cottage Pie (beef), shall we call it… Piggy Pie?

    PrimalStarGrazer wrote on October 19th, 2009
  19. Off the bat this was missing some flavor. Add a 1 tbl of tomato paste, 2 tsp of Worchestshire sauce, generous pinch of spicy paprika and generous ground pepper. Then you have yourself a Shepherd’s pie.

    Mixing pureed cauliflower and parsnips is a nice combo.

    Beck wrote on October 19th, 2009
  20. Sodium is nothing to worry about. The AHA recommends reducing your sodium intake by half, or close to 1500mg/day. Doing that has very very very little affect on blood pressure/hypertension. Your body craves salty,fatty, and sweet foods for a reason.

    greggor wrote on October 20th, 2009
    • “Your body craves salty,fatty, and sweet foods for a reason.”

      The reason is that you have probably had added salt in your food all your life. You are an addict in denial.

      Bill wrote on October 20th, 2009
      • Bill,thanks for the personal attack. But no, I am not an “addict” as you call it. I rarely add salt to my meals,and have lived that way all my life. My meals,by the way are not processed either. Are you claiming that children at birth are addicts because they seek out what they instinctively desire?

        greggor wrote on October 20th, 2009
        • Greggor, I apologise, there was no personal attack intended.

          I just don’t see how you can quote from the AHA as being the guidelines on dietary matters to follow, or believe.
          There are so many conflicts with the PB ethos.

          I think you are mistaken about salt intake and blood pressure. My body, after 2 salt free years tells me different.

          As for newborns, I thought they craved the perfect natural food from their mothers’ breast.

          Bill wrote on October 20th, 2009
        • My quote was contradicting the AHA’s guidelines. If you were to decrease your sodium intake by half, or to/below 1500mg/day, it would decrease your blood pressure by about 2mm/Hg. People with even the first stage of hypertension have their blood pressure already raised 20mm/Hg. I think that you may be attributing your lower blood pressure with your lowered intake of sodium, instead (I’m assuming that since you follow PB, you live it)of the restriction of refined grains/carbohydrates.
          Yes, newborns do crave their mothers milk. Human milk has all of those attributes. As soon as a child is weaned off of it’s mothers milk, it will seek out the foods that satisfy it’s primal appetite.

          greggor wrote on October 20th, 2009
        • I hope that Mark picks up on this topic and the whole issue can be addressed by others in more depth.

          To me, it’s all about adherence to principals, based on informed choices and deduced logic. Right or wrong, only time will tell.

          Bill wrote on October 20th, 2009
  21. Made this last night (and had the rest for breakfast). My 6 year old son said they were some of the best potatoes he’s ever had. I figured it best not to correct him, as it was one of the few meals he’s inhaled.

    Michael wrote on October 20th, 2009
  22. This is the answer to my prayers! Thank you!

    Diane Mahoney wrote on October 21st, 2009
  23. MMMMMMM soooo good! I made 2

    Francois Gamache wrote on October 22nd, 2009
  24. Literally amazed by this recipie – the best Sheperds Pie I have ever tasted. Made this Sunday evening for Dinner in the hope that I could take Microwave it at work for my packed lunch – no chance! Everybody ate the lot and wanted seconds. You must try this recipie – the Cauliflower (I added a bit of cream) was truly mouth watering and the taste of the pie with the herbs in it was great!

    Matt wrote on October 26th, 2009
  25. It would be very helpful if you could list the nutrition contents for your recipes. I am on Weight Watchers and this would make my life a lot easier. Always helpful to know the fat content, calories and fibre!

    Katerina Carnett wrote on November 3rd, 2009
  26. Made this last night – it was great! I did use ground lamb which was very tasty. Also added butternut squash, a half cup of red wine, and a tablespoon of tomato paste to kick it up a notch. Threw in a bit of sour cream and green onions into the Cauliflower as well. Great Fall dish!

    Mike wrote on November 4th, 2009
  27. A word of CAUTION regarding the low/no salt advice
    being discussed here – this advice may NOT apply to
    people who have LOW blood pressure. I have low-
    blood pressure because of genetics. Every healthcare
    professional whether standard or alternative urges me
    to keep salt in my diet and to carry it with me, esp. in
    hot weather (heavy sweating can make it worse). For
    people who’s low blood pressure is caused by some
    sort of disorder, check with your doctor.

    bev wrote on November 6th, 2009
  28. I’ve made this recipe 3 times now. We absolutely love it. My 7 year loves the mashed cauliflower and requests with other meals he enjoys. I like to use turkey sausage meat with a homemade chicken broth instead of the beef. Thank you Cherie Randall for the lovely recipe.

    Cindy wrote on November 10th, 2009
  29. I just bought a beautiful purple cauliflower from my local organic market..and I cannot wait to make a purple Shepard’s Pie! It’s gonna be great!!!

    Miss Kitty wrote on November 12th, 2009
  30. jesus christ people, shut up about the salt already! it’s a chuffing recipe. i think you’ll find most recipes call to be seasoned with salt + pepper.

    Joe wrote on November 15th, 2009
  31. OK whatever the salt outcome, I’m protesting to to the reference to Jesus Christ. You will say whatever you want, but all I can say is, if you are using His name this way, you shouldn’t be. You don’t know Him and you have no right to use His name. It is not cheap merchandise. I appreciate the spirited banter on this site, but I can’t be silent when I see this; you must know a better expletive to use in these situations.

    Linda wrote on November 15th, 2009
    • It seems that, as you describe it, Jesus Christ is as imaginary as you or I will be after our deaths. Rather a sad description of life.

      Linda wrote on November 16th, 2009
      • ‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

        Ginger wrote on March 9th, 2010
    • Frosty= Jesus. Eat his body. MMMmmmm praise. lol.

      robot wrote on June 4th, 2011
  32. well, believe whatever you want, But as far as I’m concerned, religion is simply ones preference of imaginary friend.

    Joe wrote on November 16th, 2009
  33. If the followers of one of those “imaginary friend’s” cults were in perfect physical condition, with no obesity and degenerative disease, I would say that there might be something in it.
    There is not.

    Bill wrote on November 16th, 2009
  34. Well, we all believe what we want. I am not hoping to be perceived as religious, but as a seeker/finder of truth, which is what I believe most of us hope for. And I think I make a valid point, which I believe a thinker should understand, and that was my first one…that to use Jesus Christ as an expletive is offensive to me as the use of someone you respect/revere being profaned would be offensive to you…e.g. your wife or other famiy member. It’s just better to keep comments less personal, to be succinct. :-)

    Linda wrote on November 16th, 2009
    • Personal? Jesus Christ, you’re an idiot.

      (insert thumbs up here)

      Ginger wrote on March 9th, 2010
      • If this were merely about mythology, you would use the name of Zeus instead but that would not serve your purpose, would it?

        This post exists for no other purpose than to offend & inflame.

        No one has been asked to change their religious beliefs for anyone else – only to show some respect & consideration for the beliefs of others.

        QuoVadisAnima wrote on March 17th, 2010
        • Getting offended is a personal choice. One can laugh at it or one can be mad at it. Its best to make fun of all religions equally.

          robot wrote on June 4th, 2011
  35. Thankfully, those of us who are Americans, at least, are fortunate enough to live in a country in which religion, or lack thereof, is a matter of individual choice. As a person of considerable religious conviction myself, as well as a deep and abiding respect for the role of science in making sense of the world in which we live, I am grateful for the insights of both.

    It seems to me, however, that simple courtesy, civility, and respect for one another ought to discourage us from making dismissive, disparaging, or otherwise unkind comments about the earnestly-held beliefs of others. That includes off-the-cuff comments and gratuitous profanity which may be offensive to some, as well as references to “imaginary friends” and other such belittling comments. Such conduct does not reflect well on the person making such comments, nor on his or her belief system, whatever it might be.

    This website, forum, and program is all about living in a healthy, sustainable fashion. For some of us, spiritual or religious beliefs are an important part of that holistic approach to life. For others, they may not be. For whatever it might be worth, I would recommend an increase of charity toward those whose opinions may differ from our own, and a concentration on those things which unite us rather than divide us. Courtesy, consideration, human kindness… these things are of little cost, yet their value is immense.

    Thank you.

    Tom Harbold wrote on November 24th, 2009
    • I suppose that’s your view of things.

      I’m of the mind that if something offends you, examine yourself and find out why. If someone you don’t know and have no real interactions with types something you don’t like, why do you care? There are millions of people online, and millions more pretend personas. Why should what any one person says (or does not say) matter to you?

      I like to state what I think and rib those who get offended at most things. Mostly because they’ll usually become more irate and start ranting, and I find that amusing. If I get snarky, it’s because I fully expect more snark-worthy comments to ensue. I’ll discuss civilly with people, but they must first demonstrate they contain a level head, or the potential to develop one.

      I respect your piece here, for what it’s worth. You were nothing but reasonable. The comment that started this exchange, however, clearly was not, and was just as silly as the one being complained about.

      Ginger wrote on March 9th, 2010
      • It is a sad commentary on our culture today that anyone could be honestly ignorant of a most basic tenet of Judeo-Christian beliefs – not to say that everyone should be forced to adhere to those beliefs, but because those religions have had such a profound influence on Western civilization – but I will accept your claim of ignorance & try to explain despite your juvenile & troll-like penchant for provoking others.

        Christians & Jews have a set of Commandments that they believe were given by God – they are known as the Ten Commandments. One of those Commandments it that His Name should not be used in vain. So this is something about which devout Christians & Jews are going to be pretty sensitive.

        Since Christians believe that Jesus is God, then the Commandment would apply to His Name as well.

        No one is asking you to believe – or even to understand – only to show some respect & consideration for the beliefs of others.

        QuoVadisAnima wrote on March 17th, 2010
        • You made this statement: “not to say that everyone should be forced to adhere to those beliefs.” And then continue to say that those who do not believe in Christianity should not use His name in vain because others are sensitive about it.

          The Commandments apply to those who believe in them. A “belief” the same thing you say that not everyone should be forced to follow. If someone believes in the Commandments then they should not use His name in vain. If someone else does it is their personal choice.

          You should not be sensitive that the name is being used when it has no direct impact on you aside from the fact that it is against your religious beliefs and thus may make you uncomfortable.

          If someone is going to try to shove their religious down one’s throat… then do not be surprised when one responds with a similar shove of nonbelief.

          Especially considering how often Christians break the other Commandments.

          Thalia wrote on January 7th, 2011
        • @Thalia,
          Actually, it is about MANNERS which = respect & consideration for the beliefs of others.

          When I worked with a store manager who was a Muslim, I did not wave my bacon sandwiches in his face.

          My Jewish friend was not offended by the fact that I celebrated Christmas while she was celebrating Hannukah – and vice versa.

          I have also had friends who were atheists & agnostics, yet somehow we managed to get along without any problems.

          What you are proposing in reality is not respect for someone’s unbelief; you are proposing respect for someone’s disrespect.

          Which is not just oxymoronic, but a pretty unhealthy way to live for everybody…

          QuoVadisAnima wrote on January 7th, 2011
        • Can those still commenting on this agree to leave this alone and focus on the more serious instance of blasphemy on this page? I’m referring of course to the use of beef in something erroneously described as “shepherd’s pie”. I kid and it’s delcious but come on: Shepherd’s pie?

          tai haku wrote on January 15th, 2011
        • Not to mention the fact that Judaism and. Most Pagan belief systems predate christianity (no I’m not capitalizing it) by hundreds if not thousands of years. I have no problem with people believing in what they want, that’s your right given by the gods, but I feel that the ignorance lies with people who blindly follow a dogma. With that being said, God and Jesus have no place here. My gods have no place here. this is not about belief. This, is Cottage Pie.

          Victoria wrote on July 17th, 2014
  36. I’ve read this whole thread and find it astonishing that only ONE PERSON has mentioned that Shephards Pie is in fact made with Lamb and the recipe on this page is Cottage Pie!

    Definition:-

    Cottage pie, refers to an English meat pie with a crust made from mashed potato and beef (Cottage) or Lamb (Shepherd’s).

    You would have thought more of you would realise that the word SHEPHERD is associated WITH SHEEP/LAMB!

    Maybe myself and the other person who pointed it out are the only Brits on here… or the only people that would look at the origins of a dish!

    Dolly wrote on November 26th, 2009
    • Or maybe after one person mentioned it 25 other people didn’t think it was necessary to do so. j/k lol

      Matt wrote on November 26th, 2009
  37. In the US, we have only called this Shepard’s pie. I’ve never heard the term Cottage Pie before. Just a cultural difference, I guess. We rarely/never get lamb in these here parts.

    I grew up eating Shepard’s Pie, but my hubby’s taste is a little too highfalutin for such humble fare, so I haven’t made it in years, sigh. Maybe I’ll have to give it a go…

    Queen of the Jungle wrote on December 7th, 2009
  38. I agree with Bill, why add salt . My favorite
    Shepherd’s Pie. Got to try this one.

    Joy wrote on January 2nd, 2010
    • Perhaps it’s not necessary for most people, but there are those of us who see spots and start falling over after a month or two of no salt.

      It’s there, you can take it, leave it, or alter it if you so choose, like with any other ingredient.

      Besides, it’s “add salt to taste”. If your taste for salt is none, don’t add it. Not rocket science.

      Ginger wrote on March 9th, 2010
  39. I cook this regularly, it’s a favorite at home. I normally top it off with mashed Celeriac instead of Cauliflower though. Celeriac has a firmer texture and holds up against the mince nicely. :)

    Ricky wrote on January 13th, 2010
  40. Any idea what the Nutritional Details is of this? I like to keep track of my intake- so just curious.

    We did make it this morning- but used organic chicken- and veggie broth- instead of what was on original recipe. It was awesome! I ate about a cup’s worth- and it was very tasty and filling! Thanks for sharing! – jimmy

    Jimmy Hays Nelson wrote on January 24th, 2010
    • You can always input the ingredients into NutritionData or FitDay if it’s important to you. I do that with my own recipes, and it works fine.

      Ginger wrote on March 9th, 2010

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