Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

It’s still a little chilly and so we love cozy, comfort food and Shepherd’s Pie is just that. My grandmother, from Ireland, would make this dish with beef and pork throughout the winter months. I’ve re-invented it to suit a more healthy palette and have added in turkey and extra vegetables.

This dish freezes beautifully, so I make two and then freeze one… that way I always have something on-hand for those busy nights. Or you can be somone’s lucky charm and give one to a friend for St. Patrick’s Day!

Make some Brown Butter Irish Soda Bread to go with your Healthy Shepherd’s Pie! Get the recipe here.

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Jean Trebek’s Reliable Recipes

Here are the INGREDIENTS you will need:

For the Mashed Potatoes:

2 ½ pounds russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 -to 1 ½ inch chunks
1/2 cup low salt chicken broth (plus you’ll need another cup of broth for the casserole)
1/4 cup half & half
4 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
Several grinds of fresh black pepper, to taste

For the Vegetables and Meat:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey (substitute beef, chicken or lamb, if you prefer)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped (1 ½ cups chopped)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 ½ cups chopped)
1 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped or finely diced (1 ½ cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
1 cup low-salt chicken broth (I use Swanson’s low salt)
4 tablespoons tomato paste (I use San Marzano)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
Several grinds of black pepper
1 bay leaf
½ cup frozen petit peas, thawed
½ cup frozen sweet corn, thawed



Equipment: A large (12-inch) cast iron skillet or a standard casserole dish.

Cover potatoes with cold water in a large pot and add 1 teaspoon of salt.

Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until just tender.

Drain and mash with 1/2 cup broth, 1/4 cup half & half, 4 tablespoons butter, 1½ teaspoons salt and several grinds of black pepper, to taste.

While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 400ºF.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (preferably cast iron) skillet, over medium heat.

Cook turkey (or other ground meat), stirring, until it loses its pinkness.

With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and pour off fat from the skillet.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet.

Cook onions, carrots and bell pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fairly dry and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.

Add garlic and zucchini and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.

Return turkey to the skillet.

Add 1 cup broth, 4 tablespoons tomato paste,  1 teaspoon thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste, and bay leaf.

Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the corn and peas and remove from heat.

To assemble the pie, use a spatula to smooth out the meat filling in the bottom of the skillet or casserole.

Spread the mashed potatoes out evenly on top and use the tines of a fork to make swirly patterns in the potatoes.

Bake, uncovered, in the top third of the oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown in spots.

Rest casserole for 10-15 minutes.

Slice into pieces and serve.


Brown Butter Irish Soda Bread

For breakfast with jam, as a snack or with dinner.. yummy any time of day!

Get This Recipe

Traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage

This Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe is so easy, flavorful and tender.

View Recipe


Jean is a Professional Religious Science Practitioner, Reiki Master and Sound Healer. She grew up on Long Island, NY, and now lives in Los Angeles. She has two wonderful adult children, Matthew and Emily, with her beloved late husband, Alex.  Jean enjoys taking long walks, watching movies, and traveling. She is very grateful for her family, friends, Luna (the dog) and good coffee.

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