This Mashed Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie is a lightened up, yet hearty version of the classic comfort food, using mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes.
I originally posted this Mashed Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie 3 years ago, but I thought it could use a refresh in time for St. Patrick’s Day. When I began re-testing this recipe 2 weeks ago, I had plans to tell you about my deep love for Irish food, especially shepherd’s pie and colcannon, despite my completely non-Irish roots. Two weeks ago, I also had no idea what was coming our way in terms of this pandemic —the great toilet paper shortage, schools and businesses closing, activity cancellations, and the all around anxiety, sadness, disbelief, and uncertainty we’re facing right now.
Today, our family of 5 is hunkering down at home. My husband and I are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, but we’re also trying to keep the kids busy. So far, they’ve watched drawing tutorials on YouTube, learned a KIDZ BOP dance, did some chores, and we read Harry Potter as a family. Not too bad, right? I should probably mention that all of those activities took up less than 2 hours and most of their day has consisted of playing video games and watching the latest Angry Birds movie for the thousandth time while mom and dad got work done. Right now, it’s all about staying sane!
With everything going on, I feel a little silly touting the loveliness of this recipe when we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But, I’m hoping that through posting of recipe, I can add another meal to your rotation while you’re stuck at home. Or, perhaps you were looking for an easy and healthy recipe to celebrate St. Paddy’s day with your family. Whatever the case, I’m so glad you’re here!
How to make Mashed Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie
Let’s talk about how to make this recipe! It’s written using mostly fresh vegetables. But luckily, you can absolutely use pre-packaged frozen cauliflower, carrots, and peas if that’s what you have on hand.
- Prep the mashed cauliflower: Your first priority is to boil the cauliflower until fork tender. Then, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor with a bit of broth, garlic-infused olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Process until the cauliflower has a smooth and whipped texture.
- Make the filling: Saute a base of onions, carrots, garlic, and herbs. Next, add in the ground beef, flour, Worcestershire, tomato paste, and broth. 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. Stir in the peas and you’re ready to assemble.
- Assemble the pie: Transfer the filling to a casserole dish. Then, spread the mashed cauliflower over the top. Pop the pie in the oven for about 20 minutes until the edges of the cauliflower are browned. Let it sit for a few minutes to set before serving.
This shepherd’s pie, with the mashed cauliflower and all, is pure comfort food. And comfort is definitely welcome at the moment! Whether you give this dish a try or not, I’m wishing you and your loved ones comfort through these uncharted times.Print
A lightened up, yet hearty version of the classic comfort food, using mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes.
2 heads of cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1-4 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup chicken or beef broth
1 cup peas
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Make the mashed 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 transfer it to a food processor. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Once heated, add in the garlic and cook for a minute or less. Add the olive oil, garlic, 1 tablespoon chicken broth, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the food processor. Process until the cauliflower has a smooth, whipped texture. Add in more chicken broth if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Make the filling: Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Once heated, add in the onion and carrots and season with the thyme, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the ground beef and break it up into chunks. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until browned. Stir in the flour. Then, add in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the peas.
- Bake: Transfer the filling to a greased 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.