There are few healthy recipes more satisfying than the first steaming bite of this low carb shepherd’s pie recipe!
The warm, savory cauliflower topping holds in all this low carb casseroles flavorful goodness of gravy, beef, and veggies, giving you a meal that’ll warm you from the inside out!
You might think low carb recipes can’t be hearty and comforting — think again! I promise you, this low carb shepherd’s pie recipe will rewrite everything you thought you knew about low carb pie recipes.
Break out your baking dishes and let’s get cooking!
I know that everyone who lives the low carb lifestyle still likes to feel full and satisfied, and sometimes you just want a really hearty, warm dinner.
This low carb shepherd’s pie recipe is that meal!
- Hearty for your belly, not your waistline
- Diet-friendly comfort food
- Easy to prep and store
- Perfect cold-weather dinner!
A good Shepherd’s Pie is famous for two things: a gravy-rich filling topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. But this low carb version swaps the potatoes for a very low carb friendly alternative: mashed cauliflower!
I’ve rounded up some of my best tips to amp up the flavor and harness the powers of these ingredients in all the best ways!
Not sure why some of the ingredients in this Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie recipe are there? I’ll break down some of the most unusual additions to this scrumptious, soul-warming meal!
The Meat: Now, traditionally shepherd’s pie is made with ground LAMB. However, ground lamb is harder to find, and an acquired taste. I like to make this casserole with ground beef (more low carb meatloaf like). Use whatever you prefer!
Cauliflower: Using cauliflower as a low carb option has been a trend for a while now. Cauliflower pizza crusts, in particular, are delicious and healthy — but if you haven’t tried mashed cauliflower in lieu of mashed potatoes, you’re in for a treat!
Potatoes are very carb-dense, with as much as 26g of carbs per potato! One cup of cauliflower has just 5g of carbs! Plus a bunch of great nutrients like Vitamin K, C, and potassium. Eat up!
Egg Yolk: Egg yolks make the mashed cauliflower richer with a delicious, deep punch of flavor — plus they pack high amounts of our favorite healthy fat: omega-3 fatty acids.
Xanthan Gum: One of the yummy things about gravy is its ooze factor, but ever notice how some pies are a little too liquidy? That’s why I use xanthan gum in this recipe — it helps thicken the gravy suuuper efficiently.
PLUS! Xantham gum has less carbs per serving than the commonly used cornstarch.
Tools To Make
Cooking comfort food doesn’t have to be an all-day endeavor to get those all-day flavors!
I’ve rounded up some of the most useful kitchen tools to make sure your shepherd’s pie is as easy to make as, well, pie!
- Immersion Blender: This handy little gadget gets your cauliflower super smooth and small, speeding up the mashing process and letting you make sure that there are no lumps in your mash!
- Cast Iron: If you don’t want to deal with unwieldy, giant cast iron pans, go for one of these adorable little cast iron ramekin dishes. They’ll make your finished dish photo-ready!
With great casseroles come great leftovers! How should you store your low carb shepherd’s pie recipe to make sure your last bites are just as good as your first? Never fear, friends! I’ve got your back!
This low carb shepherd’s pie recipe will do a-okay in airtight containers in the fridge.
But be warned: the gravy may start to separate towards the last day, but the flavor should still be out of this world.
“The cauliflower topping is mushy!”
Don’t worry! I’ve got a secret for you, and that secret is: a toaster oven (or traditional oven)! I dish up my serving of low carb shepherd’s pie onto the little sheet tray that comes with my toaster oven and let it get all crispy in there.
The filling gets hot, the topping rejuvenates, and it gets that fresh-from-the-oven warmth all over again!
Can You Freeze This?
You can freeze this low carb shepherd’s pie recipe!
When you’re ready to eat, thaw in the fridge, and you can either reheat in the toaster oven as outlined above or pop it in a baking tray and revive it in your main oven. Either way, you’ll bring your pie back to life!
Make Ahead Tips
One of the best ways to speed this dish along is to make the filling ahead of time. Cooked ground beef mixtures can last up to four days in the fridge, so you can make this with plenty of time to spare!
I do not recommend making the mashed cauliflower ahead of time, as it, like mashed potatoes, tends to get kind of funky the longer it sits unbaked and without filling.
But when you’re ready to bake your low carb shepherd’s pie recipe, pull out the filling, heat it on the stove until warmed through, and proceed with the recipe like normal!
Also, as a bonus, we LOVE eating this as a low carb breakfast casserole! Just top your cauliflower with a fried egg, and you’ll be good to go!
Forgot an ingredient at the store? Want to shake things up with a different kind of meat or crust? I’ve already done trial and error on the best variations of this recipe. Here’s what I’ve found:
Can I Use A Different Kind Of Meat?
We already discussed the lamb vs. beef debacle — feel free to use whatever you prefer here.
You can also swap the meat in this low carb shepherd’s pie for diced chicken (similar to a low carb chicken pot pie!) or ground pork/turkey/chicken (for a ground chicken casserole).
I recommend saving the fish for another recipe (like low carb tuna casserole).
Bake in a large pie dish or individual ramekins to shake up your serving portions.
Can I Sneak In More Veggies?
Although I like the balance of the meat to sauce to veggies as is, you may be craving more! Dice up some mushrooms, saute some spinach or kale, maybe morph this into a low carb squash casserole by incorporating summer squash!
When adding veggies, remember you want to pick foods with a subtle flavor so all the other flavors in this dish can shine.
Items like parsnips, beets or green beans are better saved for their own dish. (Like this low carb green bean casserole!)
Can I Make This Spicy?
My husband adds spice to EVERYTHING! Even this low carb shepherd’s pie. I think the heat is great as is, but if you’re more like him, then add some spice to filling! Red pepper flakes or tabasco would both work.
Can I Add Cheese?
Totally! Mix some mozzarella, parmesan or cream cheese into the cauliflower topping for a cheesy delight! I wouldn’t recommend going full-blown lasagna here (opt for this cabbage lasagna or this zucchini lasagna instead!). But a little sprinkle never hurts!
You could also try cheddar cheese, like this low carb cheeseburger casserole!
What Kind Of Crust Can I Use?
Believe it or not, there’s a whole world of low carb pie crust for you to pick from if you want to add a little something-something to that cauliflower topping!
Want a different flavor profile? Coconut Flour Pie Crust throws a tropical twist to any recipe is touches! Plus, coconut flour improves your digestion and stabilizes your blood sugar. Dietary magic? I think so!
Low Carb Shepherd's Pie
- 24 Ounces Cauliflower Florets
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Ounces Unsalted Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion diced
- 2 Carrots peeled + diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 2 Pounds Ground Beef
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
- 2 Teaspoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 2 Teaspoons Rosemary fresh, finely chopped
- 1 Teaspoon Thyme Leaves fresh, chipped
- Add cauliflower florets to a large saucepan along with 2" of water.
- Cover and steam until fork tender (about 10 minutes).
- Drain cauliflower, then add them back to the saucepan (if you have an immersion blender, if not, add to a high-speed blender* or food processor).
- Stir in the heavy cream, butter, salt, pepper and egg yolk.
- Blend until cauliflower is smooth and no lumps remain.
- While cauliflower is cooking, begin the filling by preheating your oven to 400 F.
- In a large oven-safe pan, heat vegetable oil.
- Add onions and carrots and cook until they begin to brown (about 4 minutes).
- Add garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).
- Stir in the beef, salt a pepper. Break the meat up using the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook until meat is not longer pink and totally cooked through.
- Drain excess fat from the pan -- to do this, I turn the stove off. Then move the meat in the pan to one side, and slightly tip the pan so the fat pools to one side. Then carefully, clean up this excess fat with paper towels. Be sure to leave a few teaspoons of fat in the pan (the amount you remove will vary depending on how high fat the meat you use is!), this is important for creating our sauce.
- Sprinkle the meat with xanthan gum, and stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce, chicken broth, rosemary and thyme.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer until the sauce thickens. (about 10 - 12 minutes)
Bringing it together:
- Pour filling into a baking dish (I used a 9" round cast iron, and 8" square dish will do as well).
- Scoop mashed cauliflower on top of the filling, making sure to spread evenly and seal the filling completely.
- Place baking dish onto a rimmed baking sheet and into the preheated oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, you'll know it's done once the top is golden brown and the dish is heated through. Allow pie to cool slightly before serving, and enjoy!
Bet you thought you’d have to give up casseroles when you took on the low carb lifestyle, huh? Nope! These healthy casseroles keep them on the menu:
- Zucchini Enchiladas.
- Cauliflower Lasagna
- Low Carb Chicken Casserole
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Cauliflower Rice Casserole
As the snow starts to fall and the nights get longer, low carb shepherd’s pie is the perfect dinner to warm your heart and soul. The savory gravy and filling veggies are the perfect compliments to that versatile, hearty topping. Cut me a second slice, please!
What’s your favorite low carb dinnertime pie? Let me know in the comments!