Keto shepherd’s pie is a low carb version of a classic comfort food. The whole family will love this baked dish with ground meat and vegetables. They may not even notice the topping isn’t mashed potatoes!
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Before going low carb, I used to make cottage pie all the time. It was a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. But most markets now carry lamb meat. So I decided to try a keto shepherd’s pie with ground lamb instead.
The main difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie is the meat. In order to make a true shepherd’s pie, you need to use lamb meat. However, we always called it shepherd’s pie even though I didn’t make the dish with ground beef.
My original recipe always included corn, peas, and carrots in the meat mixture. And a lot of times, I just used a frozen vegetable blend. However, those are pretty high in carbohydrates so this low carb casserole uses zucchini and celery instead.
How to make keto shepherd’s pie
First, cook the meat and vegetable blend before baking. And while that’s cooking, prepare the mashed cauliflower (or veggie of choice) for the topping.
To make things easier, assemble the dish the day before and refrigerate. If prepared in advance, you just bake it before serving. It can also be frozen up to three months for a homemade freezer meal.
Making the Lamb Mixture
It’s best to cook the meat mixture in a large skillet that can go from stove top to oven. That way, there’s no need to transfer it to a baking dish after cooking. I use a Le Creuset enameled cast iron buffet casserole.
After browning the meat with seasonings, vegetables are added. And then the mixture is simmered over medium heat for about ten minutes to allow the celery to soften.
Preparing a Cheesy Cauliflower Topping
While the meat is cooking, steam the cauliflower until soft enough to mash. It takes about 8-10 minutes to steam the florets over boiling water. However, I like to place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over a cup of water in my Instant Pot and then pressure cook on high for 2 minutes followed by a quick pressure release.
The easiest way to mash the steamed cauliflower is in a food processor. However, you can also use an electric mixer. And if you don’t mind the manual labor, you can use a hand masher.
In the recipe, I use a blend of cauliflower, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream for the topping. But sour cream can be used in place of cream cheese or some of the cream.
After blending the ingredients together until smooth, the spread the mixture over the meat mixture before baking.
How Long Do you Bake Shepherd’s Pie?
You’ll want to bake the dish at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. If prepared in advance and the dish is chilled or frozen, you’ll need to allow more time for baking.
I like to bake lamb shepherd’s pie until the topping is a light golden brown. Since everything is already cooked, you bake the dish only to brown the top and warm it to an appropriate serving temperature.
Keto Shepherd’s Pie Without Cauliflower
Mashed turnips are a good alternative to the cheesy cauliflower mixture. And my recipe for mashed turnips is dairy-free as well so it’s a great paleo option.
You can also use a vegetable mash of celery root or broccoli. Mashing together two or more low carb vegetables is another option.
Recipe Variations for the Meat Mixture
Another way to change up this low carb shepherd’s pie recipe is to vary the vegetables used in the filling. Here’s a list of low carb veggies you may want to try:
- But green beans or asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to the filling
- Blend cauliflower rice into the meat mixture. I like this variation if I’m using an alternate topping without cauliflower.
- Chopped Mushrooms are a nice low carb addition to the meat mix.
You can also use different ground meat or a blend of meat. If you don’t care for lamb, make a cottage pie instead with ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken. And if you want to up the flavor and fat of the meat, toss in some bacon pieces.
Other Family Favorite Keto Comfort Foods
My family enjoys baked dishes in the cooler seasons. Here’s a few other low carb favorites you may want to try:
- Keto Cheeseburger Pie – Even the kids love this easy baked dish.
- Crustless Spinach Cheese Pie – Is perfect for Meatless Mondays.
- Keto Tuna Pie – Is an easy budget friendly meal idea.
- Keto Sloppy Joe Pie Casserole – Is sure to be a hit.
- Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie – A family favorite made keto friendly!
But be sure to try this lamb meat pie first! And don’t forget to leave a comment to let me know how it turned out.
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Keto Shepherd’s Pie
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- Cast Iron Skillet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb or beef
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1/3 cup diced celery about 1 rib
Mashed Cauliflower Topping
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add lamb, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, and salt. Cook and stir until meat is browned.
- Stir in the tomatoes, zucchini, and celery. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mashed Cauliflower Topping
- Steam cauliflower over boiling water in a covered pot for 8 to 10 minutes. Or cook for 2 minutes in an Instant Pot on high pressure then do a quick pressure release.
- Transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add in the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and heavy cream. Process until mixture is smooth. Alternatively, a hand masher or electric mixer can be used to mash everything together.
- Spread the mashed cauliflower mixture over the cooked meat mixture.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until topping starts to brown.
- Cut green beans of asparagus
- Cauliflower rice
- Chopped mushrooms
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