Healthy Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie


Healthy Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie

Cooks who are capable of creating healthier dishes that taste equally delicious always gain my respect.

As the days get busier, cravings for delicious food takes over. Creamy soup and lasagna for lunch at work. Pizza takeaway for dinner. Creme brulee for dessert anyone? What’s not to love about the food mentioned above, right? Minus the calories though. There is more to these dishes than just the calories obviously. Sugar, carbs, fats and blah blah blah.

With the addition of food bloggers sharing a whole lot of healthy recipes on the net plus books that promote healthy eating, it is no longer hard to enjoy delicious yet healthy food. Thankfully, craving comfort food doesn’t have to mean benching a healthy diet.

If I had my way, I would want to create a drastic alteration in the eating habits of everyone in my family. I want to replace the rice with quinoa, vegetable noodles, etc. It is quite unfortunate that most of us Asians are so used to having rice as a staple, especially my brothers. Last week, I was asking my brother as to whether he was willing to do a 10 day no sugar challenge with me. His reply was “go for it sister, you have my support”. (Read: You go on with that challenge because I am not doing any) The next day he came back with 2 bags of desserts. Yup, my sugar challenge was postponed because I was at the table, mingling around with the other family members, while eating desserts.

Personally, I think we home cooks have the power to bring healthy changes at home. Although I am still not able to make drastic changes to our eating habits, I am still taking baby steps.

The small things that we can do, but the fussy eaters wouldn’t notice.

  • Use less oil while cooking.
  • Pick fresh produce in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins.
  • Replacing whole-milk dairy products with low-fat or non-fat is an easy way to cut saturated fat in your diet.
  • Enhance food with spices and fresh herbs. Food with great flavors, there’s no reason to feel deprived.
  • Try different methods of cooking. Like braising, poaching, baking and grilling. If your family loves deep fried chicken wings, I don’t think they can say no to grilled wings either.
  • Make your own dressing for salads. A great deal of those light or fat-free dressings have added sugar to enhance flavor as most of the fat gets taken out.
  • Instead of using potatoes in your mashed potatoes or shepherd’s pie, you can use cauliflower instead. You can even use a half-half mix.

I have been wanting to bake/cook with cauliflower puree and I finally got down to making it.

Healthy Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie

This Healthy Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is really delicious and it makes a perfect low carb stand-in for mashed potatoes. I flavored it with garlic, black pepper, a touch of butter and it still had about one-quarter of the calories of typical mashed potatoes. Best of all, it brought the approval of everyone in the household, even the critics. I am sure your family is also going to love this comforting dish. Just as I’ve stated before, you possess the force to bring healthy changes to your meals at home, exactly like how we can pass a healthy spin to this traditional Shepherd’s Pie.

This recipe should be called cottage pie instead of shepherd’s pie as it is prepared with minced beef.

Shepherd’s pie on the other hand is made with lamb. Shepherd as in sheep (mbek mbek) ….. Geddit?

I have noticed that a lot of people are not familiar with cottage pie, thus I am going to stick to naming this as Shepherd’s Pie.

The minced beef cooked in delicious spices and topped with mashed cauliflower and cheese. What’s not to love? You can also use a mix of cauliflower and parsnips. More nutrition can be added to this dish by incorporating more vegetables in the filling. Peppers, onions and leeks would be awesome choices. With all the healthy substitutes made, you can even mix in a little butter and cheese without feeling guilty!

This recipe isn’t complicated at all. Basically, you sauté some onions, garlic, spices and beef to make the filling. You then boil or steam some cauliflower until tender, mash and mix it with butter, cheese, and seasoning till it’s all creamy. I used my handheld mixer for convenience. You then layer the filling in a casserole followed by the mashed cauliflower. I used 1/2 cup of cheese to top the the Shepherd’s Pie, but if you want it more cheesy, feel free to use a full cup. Double the cheese, double the fun!! Finally, bake the Shepherd’s Pie for 20 minutes and that’s it. Pretty, plus, they taste GREAT.

Bon appetit!

Healthy Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie


Healthy Cauliflower Shepherd Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
For the mashed cauliflower
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
For the filling
  • ½ pound button/cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground lamb or beef
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ⅔ cup stock (beef/vegetable/chicken)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
For the mashed cauliflower
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place cauliflower and garlic in a Dutch oven/pot with stock; bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper, cover pot and cook until very tender.
  3. Drain the cauliflower and mash till fine. Add parmesan and butter.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Keep aside.
For the filling
  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and saute onions and garlic for a few minutes. Mix in the tomato paste.
  2. Add meat and cook till brown. Mix is mushrooms.
  3. Throw in the bay leaf, rosemary, celery, paprika, salt and pepper.
  4. Partially cover and sweat vegetables for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour stock and reduce heat to simmer to thicken a bit for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer filling to a casserole dish and top with even layer of cauliflower purée. Top with cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake the casserole until golden brown on top and bubbly at the edges.



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