Comfort food just got an upgrade: presenting Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash & Tex-Mex flair! A brightened-up & slimmed-down version of traditional shepherd’s pie. Cauliflower mash replaces the heavy potato topping, vibrant vegetables replace bland peas & carrots, and lean ground beef has replaced its fattier predecessor.
- 1.5–2 lbs lean ground beef (we used 91% lean); could also sub ground chuck or ground turkey
- (2) 12 oz bags microwavable cauliflower florets (or 1 large head cauliflower, broken into smaller florets)
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional, if you’d like a bit more heat)
- 8 oz cremini or white mushrooms, sliced (tip: chop into larger slices to make this dish taste even ‘meatier’)
- 2–3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ matchsticks (or shredded in food processor)
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned, or frozen corn will work)
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Chives (optional)
- (2) 4 oz cans of diced green chilies, drained
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup cheddar cheese
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (regular chili powder will work as well)
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp salt, divided & 1 tsp black pepper, divided
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400. Using a paper towel + olive oil, grease a 9×13 baking or casserole dish.
- Steam cauliflower in microwave according to package directions, or in steamer basket over boiling water until tender. Tip: begin on Step 3 (ground beef) while cauliflower is steaming in microwave. Once done, place steamed cauliflower in large bowl, along with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Mash cauliflower by hand to desired consistency, and set aside.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat, filming bottom of pan. Add the ground beef, cumin, dry mustard, chili powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Stir well to distribute spices evenly. Use wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller crumbles as you go. Cook until beef is browned and evenly cooked-through, showing no signs of pink. Remove meat using a slotted spoon, transfer to a separate dish for now.
- In same pan, brown the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. (If pan seems dry, add more olive oil.) Add the garlic and onions to pan and cook another 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add bell pepper, green chilies, jalapeno (if using), carrots, corn, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, and small dash of salt/pepper. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring often to combine.
- Stir in beef broth and tomato paste. Immediately after, return reserved ground beef to pan. Stir well to coat meat with broth/tomato paste, season to taste one last time if desired, and heat through until any excess moisture has been absorbed. Remove cast iron pan from heat.
- Add veggie/meat mixture to your greased 9×13 dish. Spread evenly with a large spoon. Top with the cauliflower mash (dropping by the spoonful), and then spread mash into one uniform layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, top with cheddar cheese and return to oven. When timer ends, remove shepherd’s pie from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Scatter a small handful of parmesan and cheddar cheeses to form top layer, then finish your shepherd’s pie off with a pretty layer of sprinkled chives.
- To Serve: spoon into ramekins, especially if you want to be recognized as the domestic goddess you are, hashtag #fancyAF. Alternatively: you could just put it on a plate and eat it like a normal person. Either way.
- A note on Shepherd’s Pie/Tex-Mex flavors: If you are wanting to go even further down the Tex-Mex flavor route with this shepherd’s pie, here are a few mix-in’s we thought of after the fact: crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, kidney beans, black olives, crumbled bacon, diced pepperoncinis or banana peppers, etc. You could also top it with diced avocado, sour cream, hot sauce… the combinations are endless!!
- Method: Oven