What is it with grandparents and their love of odd food pairings? What’s more, how about when they pass that love on to their grandchildren? My grandma got me hooked on eating mashed potatoes with peas. Growing up, my parent’s date nights always meant dinner with Grandma and Grandpa either at their home or at the highly classy establishment, Old Country Buffet. Either way, I knew I’d be feasting on a large plate of mashed potatoes…with a well in the middle ready to accept a heaping scoop of peas and a large pat of butter, which I’d then vigorously stir together with a spoon, further mashing the potatoes and peas, until a nearly solid pile of green pea-studded taters formed. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But seriously, it was so good. The pops of sweetness from the peas tucked inside the smooth and buttery potatoes…ahhh, heaven. My grandma knew what she was doing!
Given my love of mashed potatoes with peas along with my love of ground beef (preferably in the form of a cheeseburger), this Mashed Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is truly a celebration of my favorite childhood foods. But of course I had to give it a healthy spin. For this recipe, I skipped the potatoes and used mashed cauliflower instead. My childhood self would be outraged. Good thing, I’m a cauliflower lover these days, and I’m willing to test it out in any unlikely dish (ie, tacos, pizza bites, sloppy joes) for the sake of eating wholesome and healthy.
It may seem like this dish has a lot of moving parts, but it’s quite simple to make and comes together quickly. Your first priority is to boil the cauliflower, add some seasoning, and mash it. Easy enough, right?
Next, you’ll assemble the filling by sautéing a base of onions, carrots, and garlic to which you’ll add ground beef, Worcestershire, tomato paste, peas, and thyme. After about 10-15 minutes of simmering and a few stirs, the filling will be thick and you’ll be left with a zesty mixture that you’ll need to stop yourself from eating directly from the pan. Once the filling is done, you’re ready to assemble.
Pour the filling in a casserole dish and simply spread the mashed cauliflower over the top. Pop the pie in the oven for about 30 minutes until the edges of the cauliflower brown up. Let it sit for a few minutes to set and then it’ll be ready to serve.
This shepherd’s pie is low carb. It’s healthy. And it’s SO filling! Seriously, the serving size is ginormous. The photo of the piece below does not adequately capture just how much pie you get in one serving. So, you’ll just have to make this for dinner sometime soon and see for yourself!
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup peas
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- For the cauliflower: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the cauliflower, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Strain the cauliflower and return it to the pot.
- Add in ½ cup chicken broth, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mash the cauliflower with a potato masher and set aside.
- For the filling: Add the oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion and carrots and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add in the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break it up into chunks. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 3-4 minutes until browned.
- Add in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, ½ cup chicken broth, peas, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. While simmering and stirring, add in the chicken broth about ½ cup at a time until each portion is absorbed.
- Once the mixture has thickened, give it a taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Transfer the filling to a large casserole dish. Spread the mashed cauliflower over the top.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the edges of the mashed cauliflower are slightly browned and crispy. Let the pie rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 207 Fat: 6.7g Carb: 16.8g Fiber: 5.2g Protein: 20.7g Sugar 7.4g Sodium: 754mg