I’m trying to recall how I got on this path, of developing a sweet potato cauliflower shepherd’s pie. I think it started with the idea of shepherd’s pie, in general, and how my boys had never eaten it before. Then I thought about how season appropriate it would be, what with the cooling temperatures (hello…hot comfort food!). And then I thought about what I could do if I didn’t want to use potatoes as the topping since my husband has a mild potato allergy. That led me to the idea of sweet potatoes…which, in fact, aren’t really part of the potato family, so those might be a good alternative. And then I thought about, what about mixing cauliflower in with the sweet potatoes?? And then…
Well...I think you get the point... 🙂
At its most basic, shepherd’s pie is a layer of mashed potatoes over a layer of ground beef. It is a really simple meal that is both tasty and comforting. My sweet potato cauliflower shepherd’s pie is a lighter, healthier take on the traditional British dish, all the while not sacrificing on any of that taste and comfort!
One thing I love about this recipe is that the blend of sweet potatoes and cauliflower makes for a less dense topping than regular potatoes. Sometimes the weight of the mashed potatoes is too overpowering and starchy and, uh…potato-y. Is that a word? Anyway, I also find that the sweet potatoes and cauliflower give a nicer texture balance to the beef.
Another thing I love? Well, it's as the name suggests...the sweet potatoes add a mild sweetness to the dish that combines perfectly with the savory, making it a total winner in the YUM department!
If you want to skip the cauliflower and do all sweet potato, I’ve done that as well and it’s just as yummy. If you want to try mashed cauliflower without the sweet potato, that would also be an awesome variation! And if you like the traditional recipe with mashed potatoes on top, go for it! Give this sweet potato cauliflower shepherd's pie recipe a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Sweet Potato Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie
Sweet Potato Cauliflower Layer
Ground Beef Layer
- ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven 400 deg F (200 C).
- In a medium pot, add sweet potato chunks and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add cauliflower to the sweet potatoes in the pot and cook for another 15 minutes until tender (add more water to the pot if necessary).
- Drain water and mash sweet potatoes with chicken broth, butter, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat light olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and saute for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add minced garlic, salt, and pepper to the onions and carrots and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add ground beef to saucepan and cook through.
- Sprinkle tapioca starch over cooked beef and stir.
- Add chicken broth, tomato paste, corn, and peas to beef mixture and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Spread beef mixture evenly in baking dish.
- Top beef with mashed sweet potato and cauliflower.
- Top sweet potatoes and cauliflower with grated Parmesan.
- Bake at 400 deg F (200 C) for 25 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
- Use regular potatoes instead of the sweet potatoes and cauliflower, if you prefer.
- Using mashed cauliflower as a topping also works great!
- If you use all sweet potatoes, just replace the amount of cauliflower in the recipe with the equivalent amount in sweet potatoes.