Main Dishes

October 8, 2021

Healthy Homemade Shepherd's Pie

This healthy Shepherd's Pie is made with ground turkey, lots of vegetables, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, and fresh herbs for a lighter homemade version of the classic cottage pie. It's also gluten free and macro friendly.

It's officially fall here in Utah. The weather has cooled down dramatically, the days are getting shorter, and it rains more frequently now.

I don't know about you, but as much as I love summer, there's something about the crisp air and overcast days that makes me excited for all the soups, casseroles, and hot chocolate.

It's also the beginning of the holiday season when family and friends get together and celebrate with lots of food. And all the good food too! It's just a great time of year.

No matter what you're celebrating, today's recipe for Healthy Shepherd's Pie is the perfect dinner! It takes the American classic of meat and potatoes to a whole new level and is so easy to make. It's a real winner for sure!

What is shepherd's pie?

Shepherd's Pie hails from the UK, specifically England, and honestly, I think it’s one of the better pies.

The “pie filling” is made from ground meat and sautéed vegetables in a tomato sauce, and the "crust" topping is creamy and herby mashed potatoes.

Sounds amazing, right? Yes, it’s savory rather than sweet, but it’s like chicken noodle soup—it’s a warm, cozy, and eat-it-by-the-spoonful kind of comfort food that you just can’t say no to.

A plate of healthy shepherd's pie with meat, veggies, and mashed potatoes

What ingredients are in shepherd's pie?

Don't be intimidated by the longer ingredient list, that's a signal for flavor and comfort! This dish is so worth the extra ingredients to make the two parts of the pie.

Here’s what’s you need to make homemade Shepherd's Pie:

  • Yukon gold potatoes: a less-starchy potato that can be baked, roasted, or boiled. For this recipe we're going to leave the skins on for extra texture and vitamins.
  • Cauliflower: a low-carb vegetable mixed in with the potatoes to sneak in some more nutrients without sacrificing flavor. Trust me when I say you'll never know it's in there!
  • Nutritional yeast: a vegan substitute for cheese that has a slightly salty and nutty flavor. It's very low in calories but high in all the B vitamins and plant-based protein! I love incorporating it into my cheesy dishes like my homemade alfredo or this oven-baked mac and cheese. If you can't find some at a store near you, you can grab a bag here on Amazon.
  • Shredded cheese: specifically reduced-fat mexican shredded cheese. This is my cheese of choice for most cheesy dishes because it's a blend of four unique cheeses with a lower saturated fat content than regular cheese. If you're a Ka Pai Cooking frequent flyer, this is a staple you should always have on hand!
  • Almond milk: helps make the potatoes creamier without adding extra many calories or saturated fat. I use unsweetened vanilla, but you can really use any milk you like.

The meat and veggie pie filling for shepherd's pie
Cauliflower mashed potatoes being added on top of shepherd's pie filling

  • Ground turkey: a leaner option than ground beef with the same texture and less saturated fat. If you prefer beef, I recommend using 93% lean to keep the macros the same.
  • Peas and carrots: I buy the frozen bag to keep things really easy. Just pull them straight out of the freezer and dump them in!
  • Aromatics: finely minced mushrooms and garlic as well as diced onions round out the savory flavors and boost the overall flavor of the "pie" filling.
  • Fresh rosemary: adds flavor and depth to the sauce. If you can't find fresh rosemary, dried rosemary will work too.
  • Tomato sauce: the base of the pie filling. You'll see some recipes use ketchup, but I hate ketchup, and tomato sauce is the base of ketchup anyway, just without all the extra stuff.

A bowl of cauliflower mashed potatoes
Dollops of mashed potatoes on a savory meat and veggie tomato sauce

How to make homemade shepherd's pie

Making homemade Shepherd's Pie is much easier than you think. There might be a long list of ingredients, but really, there's only a few simple steps:

  1. Boil the potatoes and cauliflower: fill a large pot with cold water and the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are almost finished. Add the cauliflower and boil until fully cooked.
  2. Make the mashed potatoes: mash the potatoes and cauliflower with the butter, nutritional yeast, cheese, milk, and seasonings until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Make the "pie filling": spray the skillet with cooking spray and saute the mushrooms, onions, and garlic until fragrant. Add in the turkey and brown until little pink remains. Stir in the tomato sauce, along with the fresh herbs and seasonings, mixing well for 1-2 minutes. Finally, stir in the frozen vegetables. Let simmer.
  4. Prepare the pie: pour the filling into a 9x13 casserole dish (or 12" cast iron skillet!), then spread the mashed potato topping over the pie filling in an even later and cover with foil. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Your homemade Shepherd's Pie should be bubbling and mouth-wateringly good!

A skillet of homemade shepherd's pie

More seasonal recipes to try

Turkey Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

Healthy Apple Pecan French Toast Casserole

Easy Roasted Cinnamon Maple Brussels Sprouts

The Perfect Autumn Kale Salad

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Healthy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

A skillet of homemade shepherd's pie

Hopefully I didn't have to convince you too hard to make this homemade Shepherd's Pie!It's one of our favorite easy dinners around here that makes a lot of leftovers.

Be sure to leave a star rating and review below so other readers know how you liked it! You can also tag me on social media. I love seeing you make my recipes!

This healthy Shepherd's Pie is made with ground turkey, lots of vegetables, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, and fresh herbs for a lighter homemade version of the classic cottage pie. It's also gluten free and macro friendly.


Brooke Harmer













For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 12 oz frozen cauliflower florets
  • ½ C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ C reduced fat shredded Mexican-style cheese
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp Country Crock 8% Butter Spread
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp parsley

For the Pie Filling

  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ C water
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 12 oz. frozen peas and carrots
  • ½ C reduced fat shredded Mexican-style cheese


For the Mashed Potatoes

  1. Fill a large pot with cold water and add the chopped potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, then cook the potatoes for 12 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly done. Add the cauliflower florets to the pot and cook for 8-10 more minutes. Drain and rinse the potatoes and cauliflower.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the cooked potatoes and cauliflower with remaining potato ingredients until smooth.

For the Pie Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat a very large skillet* to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Saute the mushrooms and onions until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add in the turkey and brown completely. Drain any excess liquid. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasonings until well combined. Finally, fold in the frozen veggies.
  3. Spread the pie filling in an even layer in a 9x13 casserole dish, then top with the mashed potatoes. Make sure the mashed potatoes are in an even layer and covering the entire pie filling. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the potatoes and cover with foil.**
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.


*If you have a 12" cast iron skillet, you can make the Shepherd's Pie in it! Follow the instructions for preparing the pie filling, then leave it in the skillet and spread the potatoes on top. Continue with the instructions for assembly and cook time.

**To prevent the cheese from melting onto the foil during baking, spray the foil with cooking spray before you cover the baking dish.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of 1/8 of the Shepherd's Pie.


Serving: 1/8 skillet / Calories: 257 / Fat: 8.2g / Saturated fat: 2.1g / Sodium: 712mg / Carbohydrates: 29.1g / Fiber: 5.3g / Sugar: 2.6g / Protein: 18.6g