The perfect comfort dinner—hearty Keto Shepherd's Pie. My favorite healthy casserole everyone loves! Flavor-infused ground lamb and savory vegetables, topped with cheesy cauliflower, then baked to perfection.
Table of Contents
As you can tell by the pictures, this low carb shepherd's pie recipe is absolutely mouth-watering.
One of my favorite comforting dinner casseroles and a wonderful addition to any keto diet.
A traditional shepherd's pie is made with ground lamb and topped with mashed potato. It can also be made with ground beef, known as cottage pie.
Instead, we are making this shepherd's pie with cauliflower and cream cheese topping that has all the flavor without the carbs!
I guarantee you this will become one of your go-to comforting dinners, especially in the fall and winter.
Why You'll Love It
- Can be made ahead for a quick dinner
- Great for meal prep - make a large batch and freeze
- Easy, hearty, and comforting dinner for fall and winter
- Just 5.9g net carbs in each serving!!
What is Shepherd's Pie & Cottage Pie?
Shepherd's pie or cottage pie is a hearty casserole traditionally made with ground lamb or ground beef.
When it's made with ground lamb, it's called a shepherd's pie, and when it's made with ground beef, it's a cottage pie.
There are a lot of variations that all use ground meat (beef or lamb) cooked in rich gravy or sauce with various vegetables.
The ground meat and veggies are placed in a baking dish, topped with a layer of mashed potato, and baked until golden.
Using those ingredients, it's obvious that a traditional shepherd's pie is not keto-friendly. It's loaded with starchy vegetables and gravy which are all high in carbs.
Luckily, it's not hard to substitute a few ingredients and create a keto-friendly version of this classic dish!
Is Shepherd's Pie Keto?
The question I'm always asked is, "Is shepherd's pie low carb?" Yes! This cauliflower shepherd's pie is a healthy dinner idea for any low carb diet.
Each serving contains 5.9 grams of net carbohydrates which will easily fit into your daily carb limit.
It's also a very filling meal that doesn't require heavy sides. Pair it with a simple green salad, and you have a complete meal.
One of the great things I've noticed with this recipe is that even people who aren't following a low carb diet absolutely love it!
It might pay to double the ingredients because everyone will be asking for seconds.
Low Carb Substitutes
My version of this delicious casserole substitutes the standard mashed potato topping with a cauliflower and cream cheese version.
The topping has the same texture and is much lower in carbs and calories. Great for weight loss!
The meat sauce is infused with flavor using low carb ingredients.
You can also make it even lower carb by substituting peas and carrots for green peppers and green beans.
Ingredients You'll Need
My shepherd's pie is very easy to make and only calls for nine key ingredients. You can mix and match most of them, so it's very versatile!
- Ground meat - you'll need lean ground lamb (lamb mince) or ground beef (beef mince). Both have high-fat content, so go for the leanest you can. Otherwise, you can always drain off the excess fat when browning the meat.
- Cauliflower - the low carb star of the show replacing standard mashed potato. You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower.
- Cream cheese - to create our delicious low carb mash cauliflower topping.
- Tomato puree - you can use homemade or canned puree. Check the sugar content on the container if using canned. Alternatively, substitute for 2 teaspoons of tomato paste.
- Carrot - one small carrot adds to the shepherd's pie classic flavor without too many carbs.
- Garlic - you'll need a few fresh garlic cloves for this recipe. You can substitute for garlic powder or a crushed garlic jar as well.
- Herbs, spices & seasonings - I used a simple combination of oregano, chili flakes, rosemary (to garnish), salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Feel free to add your own favorites!
- Optional veggies - I added a small number of tomatoes and peas to this recipe. They add extra flavor and texture without too many carbs. You can also substitute for green beans, celery, mushrooms, and onion.
How to Make Shepherd's Pie
- Preheat your oven to 355 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and prepare a baking dish.
- In a frying pan over high heat, add the ground lamb and cook for 5 minutes until it starts to brown.
- Add the tomatoes, carrot, garlic, oregano, tomato puree, chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Combine all the ingredients together, lower to medium heat, and cook for 15 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, you can add ¼ cup of water.
- Add the peas to the meat mixture once it has finished cooking. Transfer it to the baking dish in an even layer, using a spatula if necessary. Leave it to cool while you prepare the topping.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the cauliflower for 10 to 12 minutes, until soft.
- Drain the cauliflower and add the cream cheese. Gently combine them together until nice and creamy. You can prepare the topping to your desired texture.
- Carefully pour the cauliflower cream cheese topping over the top of the meat mixture in an even layer. Transfer the baking dish to the preheated oven.
- Bake the shepherd's pie for around 20 minutes until the cauliflower topping is golden. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before garnishing it with fresh rosemary. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Too much fat? If you are using a high-fat content ground lamb or ground beef and find there is too much fat, simply drain off any excess after browning the meat.
Let it cool before topping. You might be wondering why I don't cook the cauliflower while the meat mixture is cooking. I do this to let the filling cool down, thicken up and let all the flavors infuse. So always make sure the filling has cooled down before you add the cauliflower topping.
Topping texture. You can prepare the cauliflower topping to your own tastes. If you want more of a bite, roughly chop the cooked cauliflower up. For a more creamy texture, you can completely mash it. The choice is yours!
Your own touch. Add your own favorite herbs and spices when cooking the meat mixture. You can add Italian seasoning, paprika, ground cumin, dried basil, parsley flakes, onion powder, thyme, parsley, and even cayenne pepper (for a super spicy kick!)
Storage and Reheating
- In the fridge: You can store any leftovers covered or in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They'll keep for up to 1 week.
- In the freezer: Let the shepherd's pie cool to room temperature, and then place portions into freezer-proof containers. They'll keep for up to 6 months. When you're ready to eat, let them thaw at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
- To reheat in the microwave: Reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until heated all the way through.
- To reheat in the oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), place the pie on an oven tray and cover it with foil. Bake for 30 minutes until hot all the way through.
Tips and Variations
Make a bigger pie
If you have a lot of people to feed, you can easily multiply the ingredients to make a bigger portion. Use a larger baking dish as well.
Easy meal prepping
By multiplying the ingredients mentioned above, you can easily use this recipe for meal prep. It's great to grab a quick lunch or dinner. You can cut and freeze the pie into portions, then zap them in the microwave or oven.
Even though we used ground lamb in this recipe, it is just as delicious as using ground beef. Ensure you get a lean variety because ground meat is very high in fat.
You can easily change up this recipe by substituting and adding other keto-friendly vegetables. Green peppers, onions, zucchini, and broccoli all work great. Remember to avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and parsnips.
Make it ahead
This recipe is a great choice to make ahead of time. The ingredients will keep for up to 2 days refrigerated.
Following the instructions, prepare the ground meat sauce mixture and cauliflower cream cheese topping.
Store them in separate air-tight containers and keep them in the fridge. When you're ready to cook, assemble the shepherd's pie in a baking dish and bake as directed below.
More Keto Dinner Ideas
Looking for more easy low carb dinners? Check these out:
- One-Pan Garlic Butter Chicken Breasts
- 3-Ingredient Easy Keto Pasta
- Kung Pao Meatballs
- Philly Cheesesteak Casserole
Keto Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Recipe
For the Filling
- 7 oz Ground Lamb lean, or lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoon Tomato Puree or 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 small Tomatoes optional
- 1 small Carrot
- 1 tablespoon Peas optional
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
For the Topping
- 2 cups Cauliflower
- 3 tablespoon Cream Cheese
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 pinch Ground Black Pepper
- Rosemary fresh, to garnish
- Preheat your oven to 355°F (180°C) and prepare a baking dish.
- Add the ground lamb or ground beef to a frying pan over high heat and cook it for 5 minutes until it starts to brown.
- Add the tomatoes, carrots, garlic, oregano, tomato puree, red pepper flakes, and salt. Combine everything together, and if needed, add ¼ cup of water. Low to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes.
- Mix the peas with the meat sauce and then transfer to the prepared baking dish in an even layer. You might need to use a spatula to flatten it out. Let it cool while you prepare the topping.
- Fill a pot/saucepan with water and boil the cauliflower for 10-12 minutes, until soft. Drain the water and add the cream cheese. Gently mix together until nice and creamy.
- Once the meat mixture has cooled, carefully pour over the cauliflower topping so that it is entirely covered in an even layer. Bake for around 20 minutes until the top is golden.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, and garnish with fresh rosemary. Enjoy!