This veggie loaded Shepherd's Pie is a lightened up version of the classic. This dish was originally used as a way to utilize all the leftovers that were in the refrigerator. It consisted of meat, potatoes and whatever other veggies people could get their hands on. Today, there are so many different ways to make Shepherd's Pie, this is the way my family likes it!
How we change it up
Usually, Shepherd's Pie is made with red meat and topped with mashed potatoes. In order to lighten it up and make it a little healthier, I mix the potatoes with cauliflower. I cook them all right in the same pot, drain them together, and then mash them all up. They cook in the same amount of time, so you don't have to worry about cooking them separately.
Another way I change this up is that I use turkey instead of beef. You could use beef if you wanted to, but I like turkey in this to lighten the recipe up a bit. Use 85/15 turkey so you still get a little bit of fat and richness, but not all the fat that would come with red meat.
When it comes to the vegetables, you can use any you would like. I used onion, carrots, and zucchini, but you could add corn, peas, mushrooms, etc. This recipe is really just a blueprint for you. Change up the meat and the vegetables as you would like and as your family would like!
Let's Make This Shepherd's Pie
You'll need a large pot to put the cauliflower and potatoes in. Fill the pot with water and then cut the potatoes into about 2 inch cubes and cut the cauliflower into about the same size pieces. Put them in the water with salt and cook that until the potatoes are fork tender, meaning when they are poked with a fork, the fork easily comes out.
Next, you will need is a cast iron skillet. I've linked one here if you don't have one. You'll want to sauté the onion, carrots, and shredded zucchini in olive oil in the skillet and let that cook for a few minutes. Then, add the turkey and the garlic. You don't want to add the garlic with the vegetables because the garlic will burn. Once the turkey is cooked, add 2 tablespoons of flour as well as any dried herbs you would like. I used rosemary and oregano, but you could add thyme, Italian herbs, dried parsley, any herbs you would like. Let that cook for a little bit to cook off the flour flavor, and then add ¼ cup of white wine and 1 cup of broth. Continue to cook that and let it thicken into a gravy.
When the potatoes and cauliflower are done, drain them and place them back in the empty pot. Add milk, butter, and cheddar and mash everything together until it is a smooth texture. Spoon the potato mixture over the turkey mixture, top with more cheese, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until the cheese browns. Enjoy this Veggie Loaded Shepherd's Pie!
Veggie Loaded Shepherd's Pie
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Onion Chopped
- 2 Carrots Chopped
- 1 Zucchini Shredded
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 LB Ground Turkey
- ½ teaspoon Dried Rosemary
- 1 TB Dried Oregano
- 2 TB Flour
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- ¼ cup White Wine I used Pinot Grigio
- 3 Large White Potatoes
- 1 Head Cauliflower
- 1 Cup White Cheddar Shredded
- ¼ Cup Milk
- 4 TB Butter
- Fill a large pot with water. Cut the potatoes into chunks and put them in the cold water. You do not need to peel the potatoes. Wash and cut the cauliflower head into florets and add that to the water with the potatoes. Add salt (about 2 tablespoons) to the water. Put the pot on the heat and let that cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes cook, put the olive oil in a cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and shredded zucchini. Cook that for 5 minutes until the carrots start to soften and the onions become translucent. Add the garlic cloves and the turkey. Cook that until the turkey is completely cooked, about 10 minutes.
- Once the turkey is cooked and no longer pink, add the herbs and flour. Cook the flour for a few minutes until it starts to brown just a little. Add the broth and the wine. Cook that over low heat allowing the mixture to bubble for 5 minutes.
- While the turkey mixture is bubbling, preheat the oven to 375°. Make sure the potatoes are cooked, then drain them in the sink and place them back into the pot in which they cooked. Turn the heat on low and begin mashing the potatoes and the cauliflower together. Add the butter, milk, and cheddar and continue mashing until you get the texture you are happy with. If you find that the potatoes are still a little too dry, add more milk (a tablespoon at a time) until you reach your desired texture. The texture should be of a thick mashed potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top the turkey mixture with the potatoes and add more shredded cheese on top. Put the cast iron skillet in the oven and allow the cheese to just start to bubble and brown. Once the cheese has browned, take it out and enjoy immediately.
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