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

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’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.


  • 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


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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. My dear gods. You’ve ruined it. Positively. Ruined it.

    Shepherds Pie is suppose to be quick, simple, and fast! REMEMBER! All “home foods” were made to be easy and filling!

    Here’s what you need.

    2 pounds ground beef
    2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
    4-8 good sized taters
    lawry’s seasoning salt
    Worcestershire sauce
    2 cans of corn

    Brown the meat. Add three to four dashes worcestershire. Stir in cans of mushroom soup. Add no water. Stir and simmer.

    Make the mashed taters as you normally would, but add four large dollops of butter and a dash of milk. In fact, make it five. Season with a dab of salt and some pepper. If you have it add (I’ not joking) a tablespoon or two of ranch dressing.

    Drain the corn, heat in the microwave/on the stove/under your arm. It doesn’t matter.

    Take the beef, put it in crockery. Layer it good and thick on the bottom. Now, layer the corn over that, also nice and thick. And top that off with lovely, smooth mashed potatoes.

    Pop that sucker in the oven for forty-five minutes, pull it out, cool, and serve.

    Chunks of carrots are optional, but are best avoided. If you use green beans, you should be cudgeled with cooking utensils until you stop deserving it.

    Cauliflower use is grounds for public castration.

    some variance of the recipe is fine (and sometimes necessary) but if you start needing fancy, expensive, or odd ingredients (WTF coconut flour?!) your going away from good cooking and into freakishly complicated.

    Yes, I tried this recipe. It isn’t as good as mine, the ingredients are ridiculous, and the preparation is noisome to say the least.

    Don’t try to be ‘interesting;’. Try to be a cook.

    Nekko wrote on March 18th, 2010
    • LOL. It’s always funny when someone posts to a site when they have no idea what it’s about.

      By the way – I’ve made this recipe several times now & love it. I’ve improvised on the top layer, using purees of turnips, parsnips or rutabega(the best). I’m making it tonight with a mixture of turnip & red potato (a slight carb splurge).

      Chris G wrote on April 4th, 2010
      • Mashed turnips are fabulous, I’m surprised more people don’t use them?

        ashley wrote on January 13th, 2014
    • Yuck! Also, you don’t have to be a cook to open a can of soup.

      Cherie wrote on April 6th, 2010
    • When you are merely opening up a can, it isn’t cooking (it is merely assembly).

      Ellen wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • Haha, I think I’m going to throw up. Cream of mushroom soup and ranch dressing.

      David C wrote on October 9th, 2010
  2. Love the post from Nekko! Too funny! Anyways, this recipe is a definite keeper. I’m a paleo person, so I just skipped the butter and cream and only used a mix of peas and carrots. Awesome comfort food!

    Diana wrote on August 2nd, 2010
  3. This recipe is excellent! I used one small potato in with the califlower and my husband couldn’t tell the difference from the full potato version I used to make.

    Vic wrote on October 5th, 2010
  4. PS. Do you think Nekko has ever ate a veggie?

    Vic wrote on October 5th, 2010
  5. I tried this.

    It’s delicious, but I would suggest salting and peppering the cauliflower to taste (in addition to the filling) before covering the meat & veggies. Otherwise you’ll have a delicious filling covered in a bland but creamy “crust”.

    Another thing you can do is take it out of the oven about 5 minutes before finishing and put some shredded cheese (I suggest something sharp) on top. Put it back in to let it melt.

    Pat wrote on February 14th, 2011
  6. This food is frighteningly good. It just came out of the oven and I’m eating it right now and… ah. That’s some fine home cooking.

    I put in celery instead of peas, tons of green beans, and a little Worcestershire sauce (couldn’t help myself – I just discovered it in the last couple months and it’s been like a religious conversion). I’m about to get down on one knee and propose to mashed cauliflower. This is love.

    megan wrote on March 4th, 2011
  7. I just wanted to say, using turnips to replace the cauliflower is better. To me at least. Tastes great. :)

    Calissa Leigh wrote on September 5th, 2011
  8. This turned out great….simple to make. I adored the cauliflower topping. Whole family enjoyed it which is always a bonus. Definitely will make again.

    Penfold_67 wrote on September 14th, 2011
  9. This is kind of random, but could this be frozen, in finished form, to be popped into the oven @ a later time? Would the cauliflower suffer?

    Kelly wrote on September 18th, 2011
  10. I’m addicted to salt. I didn’t know it. I fasted and found that when I don’t drink at least 10 glasses of water a day, I go for the salt– crunchy corn chips, bacon, popcorn. If it’s got salt and I’m thirsty, look out! The pie with the added leeks and oregano, mmmm.

    Lisaloo wrote on October 2nd, 2011
  11. Bill, you are arrogant and prideful. You insult others and their beliefs to get attention. You call people salt addicts and say that Jesus Christ is not real. FYI: Jesus Christ is real, and one day you will go down on one knee to him. Sad for you that you are unwilling to love him and be loved back.

    Lisaloo wrote on October 2nd, 2011
  12. I can’t wait to make this!

    Primal Cowboy wrote on October 6th, 2011
  13. Had a craving for Shepard’s Pie, and googled the recipe but only looked at the images. This one popped up on the second page and I thought it had the best visual appeal. I am not a paleo-dieter but I this seemed like the healthiest option. Wow, was it good!! I have been wanting to try cauliflower in place of potatoes and this gave me a great place to start. It was quick, easy, flavorful (though I added more salt and used buffalo meat) and absolutely delicious! My husband hates potatoes and he loved this. Will definitely make again! Thanks Mark for the great recipe. Can’t wait to try some of the others.

    Cerise wrote on January 16th, 2012
  14. I made this over the weekend, for St. Patrick’s Day, and used lamb instead of beef. I added a tiny bit of cinnamon, too. I wanted to come comment that it was REALLY delicious.

    Frugal Portland wrote on March 19th, 2012
  15. Holy deliciousness, this is wonderful. I added my own bit of flavor (because it’s my kitchen, and I can) which was to increase the onions and omit the cream. All in all, we had the most die-hard meat and potato eaters asking for the recipe!

    Thanks, as always, Mark for sharing your knowledge and tasty treats.

    Ali wrote on November 6th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!