Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie, topped with mashed sweet potatoes


A favorite classic Irish dish. I love Shepherd’s Pie. It’s actually very easy to make, and a great comfort food in the winter. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great way to use up leftovers from those big family feasts like Thanksgiving or Christmas.





Dish Type

One Pan


45 minutes


This recipe is

Whole 30 (see recipe for notes)

10 Green/Blue, 9 Purple WW Points (assumes ground beef, and store bought mashed potatoes)

Gluten Free        Dairy Optional   Nut free              

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  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot 
  • 1 large white onion, chopped 
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped 
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce* 
  • 3 cups cooked mashed potatoes

*If following a clean eating plan, substitute coconut aminos for Worcestershire sauce.


  • Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Have pie dish or casserole pan nearby.
  • If using store-prepared mashed potatoes, cook according to package directions and set aside.
  • When oil is hot, sauté garlic, onion, and shallot until onion becomes translucent, about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add meat, carrot, celery, zucchini, and Worcestershire sauce to skillet. Cook until vegetables are mostly cooked.  Drain liquid and fat from skillet.
  • Place meat and vegetables in your pie dish. Top with the mashed potatoes.
  • Cook for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
 Ingredients for Shepherd's Pie.  Ground meat, assorted vegetables, mashed potates
Shepherd’s pie, or cottage pie is one of those staples of Irish cuisine/British cuisine.  Oddly, I never remember having it as a kid in my Irish/British family.  Oh well.  Now as an adult, I enjoy it!  It’s a great comfort dish for the cold weather, full of hot meat, stuffed with vegetables, and of course, topped off with potatoes!  What’s not to love!
It’s incredible versatile too!  Let’s take the potato topping for example – there’s lots of ways you can make this topping.  Mashed potatoes on their own can take time to make, but if you have leftovers from the previous meal like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just a big Sunday family dinner, this recipe is a great excuse to use them up.  If you don’t have leftovers just sitting around, you can go the quick and easy route by buying premade mashed potatoes from your grocery store.   If you do this, as I usually do, just cook the potatoes according to the package directions while your oven and skillet are warming, and then set aside.  It’s ok if they cool, you’ll be baking them again later. 
You can also use sweet potatoes for the top of the pie.  I love using sweet potatoes because baked, they are moister than white potatoes, so I do not need to add anything to make them smooth and creamy.  When I’m doing a round of Whole30 (yup, it’s almost January), I go for sweet potatoes.  In this case, I just baked the sweet potatoes for about an hour, let them cool, then pulled the skins off.  They’re so soft, you don’t even need a potato masher!
So let’s get started!  Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Have a pie or casserole dish ready.  Heat your oil in a skillet over medium heat.  If you’re using store bought mashed potatoes, now is the time to cook them.
Onions, shallot, and garlic in a sautee pan.
Once the oil is hot, saute the garlic, onion, and shallot until the onion softens and becomes clear.  This will take about four to five minutes. 
Once the onions start to become clear, add your meat, vegetables, and Worcestershire sauce to the skillet.  Here is where you can make a lot of changes to shake up your pie.  I know I refer to his recipe as shepherd’s pie, but I believe cottage pie is more appropriate since I’m using beef, and shepherd’s pie is usually made with lamb.  Of course, feel free to change up the meat as you wish.  For example, if you want to go a little lighter, try a turkey/beef mix.  (I wouldn’t recommend all turkey, it tends to be a bit dry.)
Meat and vegetables added to the sautee pan
The same goes for the vegetables.  My recipe calls for carrots and celery because family get togethers often include vegetable plates, and this is a way to use up leftovers.  Again, use what you have or what’s on sale.  I usually include zucchini, but sometimes, let’s just say the zucchini this time of your doesn’t look so great in the store, so I might switch and add some frozen peas in instead. 
Meat and vegetables in a pie pan for Shepherd's Pie.
Cook your meat and vegetables until the meat is browns and the vegetables are mostly cooked.  Drain the fat and the liquid from the pan.  Place the meat mixture in your pie pan or casserole dish.  Then top the meat with your mashed potatoes.  Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 
Once the pie is ready, remove from the oven.  Serve hot!
 Shepherd's Pie!  Done!


What an fantastic dinner.  Whether you are using up leftovers or looking for some warm comfort food, you can't go wrong with Shepherd's Pie.

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Nutritional Information for Shepherd's Pie.  377 calories per serving, 11 gm fat, 30 gm carbs, 4 gms sugar, 38.9 gm protien 

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