This keto shepherd’s pie has a rich and meaty gravy and a creamy mashed cauliflower topping, you won’t believe it is low carb! Minimal prep is necessary and perfect to freeze for later!
Keto shepherd’s Pie
Growing up, my mom had a few dinner staples up her sleeve. These were the kind of meals she could whip up effortlessly, and have dinner sorted in a pinch. Besides her go-to stir fry or spaghetti bolognese, we often enjoyed her classic shepherd’s pie.
What is shepherd’s pie?
Shepherd’s pie is a crustless meat pie that has a thick and rich meat gravy topped with mashed potato and baked until golden brown. It’s often referred to as a cottage pie and except for the kind of meat used (ground beef or ground lamb), they are essentially the same thing.
Now, as potatoes aren’t a low carb food and a traditional shepherd’s pie has flour in the gravy, we’ve done things a little differently. This keto shepherd’s pie recipe stays true to form but swaps out the potato for mashed cauliflower! It’s now low in carbs and low in calories, but full of flavor!
The secret to the perfect golden brown topping is to add a tiny bit of parmesan cheese and melted butter on top- It takes the flavor to another level and SCREAMS comfort food. Make two pies at once and freeze one for later- You’ll have dinner sorted in a pinch!
What you’ll need to make this recipe
- Olive oil– A flavorful oil to sauteed the vegetables in.
- Garlic and onion– Key ingredients in any pie gravy!
- Carrots and celery– Finely chopped into small pieces.
- Mushrooms– While mushrooms aren’t often used in a shepherd’s pie, adding them here gives the filling an even heartier texture and a richer gravy.
- Ground beef– Lean ground beef is preferred, as it doesn’t yield excess oil or residue. If you do want to use a fattier cut of beef, you’d be better off cooking it separately and discarding the extra fat before adding it to the other ingredients.
- Almond flour– Optional, but thickens the filling.
- Tomato paste– Also known as tomato concentrate. If you don’t have any on hand you can use tomato sauce (passata).
- Beef bouillon– Also known as a stock cube or broth cube. A must for any good pie gravy.
- Worcesteshire sauce– Just a pinch to bring out the meaty flavors.
- Bay leaf– A must for any good gravy base.
- Beef stock– Thins out the filling enough that it becomes a thick gravy.
For the cauliflower topping
- Cauliflower– A low carb alternative to traditional potatoes, pureed cauliflower looks and tastes the same!
- Milk– I used unsweetened almond milk but any milk can be used.
- Butter– Salted butter that has been softened to room temperature.
- Salt and pepper– To taste.
For the golden crust
- Parmesan– Finely shredded parmesan cheese, NOT parmesan cheese that is shelf stable.
- Butter– Salted butter.
- Thyme– To decorate and serve.
How do you make a keto shepherd’s pie?
Start by sauteeing the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute.
Next, turn up the heat to high and add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a simmer, before reducing it to medium heat. Let everything simmer together for 35-40 minutes until it thickens into a gravy.
Now, transfer into a greased baking dish, cover with the mashed cauliflower topping. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and butter and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a deep golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes, before serving.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Allow the filling to cool slightly before adding the cauliflower mash topping. This gives it a chance to thicken up even further and to create the most delicious and meaty gravy ever!
- Be sure to blend your cauliflower into a very smooth consistency so that it is void of any chunks or clumps. This cooks bette and evenly.
- The golden crust is completely optional and gives it more flavor and richness. You can omit this completely if you wish.
Storing, freezing, and reheating tips
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week.
- To freeze: Place portions of the shepherd’s pie in freezer friendly containers and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. The pie must be thawed completely before reheating it.
- Reheating: Either microwave in 30-second spurts until warm or place the pie in a pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes.
What goes with a low carb shepherd’s pie
Frequently Asked Questions
Shepherd’s pie is a fantastic option for a healthy and family-favorite dinner. It’s loaded with vegetables and full of protein and fiber. If you don’t follow a keto diet, you can pair it with some healthy carbs, like naan or garlic knots.
According to several sources, shepherd’s pie originates from Ireland and other parts of northern England.
Essentially cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are the same dish. Traditional recipes claim that cottage pie uses ground beef while shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb.
Keto Shepherd’s Pie
For the filling
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 large carrot finely chopped
- 1 rib celery finely chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 beef boullion
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 1/2 cups beef stock
For the mashed cauliflower
- 2 1/2 lbs cauliflower chopped
- 2/3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoon butter melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the golden crust
- 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese finely grated
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- Heat oil in a large pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the carrots and celery for 5-6 minutes, until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the flour and mix in. Add the tomato paste, bouillon cube, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves, then the beef stock. Bring it to simmer, before reducing it to medium heat. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until thick and gravy-like.
- Transfer the filling into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and let it cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Steam your cauliflower in a pot until soft and tender. Drain then place back in the pot. Using a hand mixer, blend the cauliflower until smooth. Add in the butter and milk. Add the salt and pepper.
- Spread the cauliflower mixture on top of the pie and use a fork to decorate the top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese then drizzle with the butter.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until deep golden brown and bubbling on the sides. Remove from the oven and sit for 5 minutes, before sprinkling with fresh thyme and serving.