This Keto Shepherd’s Pie has a cheesy cauliflower topping and a rich, rosemary scented filling. It’s a low carb casserole that lives up to the name comfort food! Hearty and delicious.
Comfort food is aptly named, don’t you think? When it gets chilly and wet, we all start craving heartier meals like soups, stews, and casseroles. They warm us up both inside and out.
But those rich, filling meals don’t have to come with a high carb count. With a little tweaking here and a little adjustment there, comfort food can easily fit into the keto diet. It’s not just possible, my friends. It’s absolutely delicious.
Take this wholesome Keto Shepherd’s Pie for example. It has all the hallmarks of the classic dish but with a fraction of the carbs. That creamy smooth mashed cauliflower toping will make you forget all about those potatoes!
Why you need to try this recipe
I grew up eating Shepherd’s Pie, so I know my stuff when it comes to this classic Irish dish. And it really is ideal comfort food, with a savory lamb filling and creamy mashed potato topping. But does it really have to be potatoes?
Despite all appearances, the airy, creamy topping you see before has nary a starchy spud to be seen. That’s all cauliflower, baby. And I promise you that even if you aren’t usually a fan, you will enjoy this Keto Shepherd’s Pie.
Cauliflower is the potato’s arch-nemesis. It’s healthy and clean, and it makes a fabulous topping for your meaty pie. It also doesn’t fill you up nearly as much, so you don’t walk away from the table feeling as if you just consumed a bowling ball.
Which means there is more room for dessert!
“Made this tonight and it was delicious! My husband declared that no one would ever guess the topping was cauliflower.” — Bonnie T.
“OMG, I am almost in tears! I discovered shepherd’s pie while on a second honeymoon with my husband in Ireland and fell in love with it, and was overjoyed when I found a local pub that served cottage pie. Sadly, the local pub had to close because of COVID. I was thrilled to discover your version (especially since I had to give up the pub’s when I went keto). I made it today, and it is AMAZING!! Thank you so much! If I can’t have my favorite restaurant, at least I can have a version of my favorite food that I can actually eat!” — Aisling
“This turned out really well. It’s incredibly rich, so I was completely satisfied just eating a small portion which is great! Thank you for all your creative recipes. I have been inspired to cook again after a long hiatus and really motivated to stick with a low carb diet.” — Molly
Ingredients you need
- Cauliflower: You need one pound of cauliflower florets, but you can use fresh or frozen. They both cook up the same way.
- Sour cream: Sour cream helps make the mashed cauliflower extra smooth and creamy. You can swap in 2 ounces of softened cream cheese, if you prefer.
- Ground lamb: Classic shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, but you can use ground beef if you prefer. Technically, that’s called a cottage pie.
- Dry red wine: Wine helps deglaze the pan and create a rich, flavorful sauce. If you do not want to use alcohol, swap with some beef or chicken broth.
- Fresh rosemary: I love the aroma and flavor from fresh rosemary. Dried rosemary isn’t quite the same but you can use it if it’s what you have.
- Glucomannan: Classic Shepherd’s Pie uses flour to thicken the meat filling. But a little glucomannan stirred into the sauce before baking helps achieve the proper texture.
- Cheddar cheese: A sharp Irish cheddar goes perfectly with this Irish casserole. But other cheeses, such as Gruyere or Swiss pair nicely as well.
- Kitchen staples: Onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
1. Cook the cauliflower: Set a steaming basket into a large stockpot and add water to the bottom. Add the cauliflower and garlic cloves and steam until cauliflower is very tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Drain well: Transfer the cauliflower to a sieve and drain well. Then transfer to a blender or food processor, along with the garlic cloves. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
3. Cook the lamb: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the lamb until almost cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a large casserole dish.
4. Sauté the veggies: Add the onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper to the hot pan and cook until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
5. Make the sauce: Add the red wine and cook until reduced by about half. Stir in the chopped rosemary, then whisk in the glucomannan. Pour over the lamb in the pan and stir to combine.
6. Assemble and bake: Spread the cauliflower mixture over the filling in the casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 400ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
Expert tips and FAQs
Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie doesn’t take any more time or effort than the original version. Just make sure to drain your cauliflower very well so that it sets up properly. You can also add an egg yolk, if you want it to set even more.
If lamb isn’t your jam, feel free to use ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and turkey. Technically, that turns it into a Cottage Pie, but I won’t tell if you don’t. No matter what you do, this is a great meal.
Don’t skip the thickener in the sauce, as it helps the hold together better. Keep in mind that it will still be more loose than the original because it lacks gluten.
This Keto Shepherd’s Pie recipe has 5g of carbs and 1.8g of fiber per serving. That comes to 3.2g net carbs per serving.
You can prepare and assemble this Shepherd’s pie a day before and bake it the next day. Just cover it tightly and refrigerate overnight. Bring it to room temperature before baking.
Keto Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 2 lbs ground lamb
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ½ medium red pepper finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup dry red wine or broth
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon glucomannan or xanthan gum
- 1 lb cauliflower florets
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
- Set a steaming basket into a large stockpot and add water to the bottom. Add the cauliflower and garlic cloves and steam until cauliflower is very tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Drain the cauliflower well and transfer to a blender or food processor, along with the garlic cloves. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the lamb until almost cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a large casserole dish.
- Add the onion, red pepper, salt ,and pepper to the pan. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
- Add the red wine and cook until reduced by about half. Stir in the chopped rosemary, then whisk in the glucomannan. Pour the mixture over the lamb and stir to combine well.
To assemble and bake
- Spread the cauliflower mixture over the filling in the casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
- Turn the broiler on high and broil for 2 to 4 minutes to brown the cheese. Remove and let sit a few minutes before serving.