Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
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Real food Shepherd's Pie recipe - two ways!

It's winter! Here's a delicious, warm, seasonal classic you can make from veggies in season this month. It's one of the first dishes I made after I started eating meat again, and I love classic recipes like this (Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie) made with some variations for unprocessed, Paleo-friendly real food ingredients.

But I have my sweet friend Linnea to thank for the encouragement to share this recipe. She had a baby girl last fall, and friends signed up to bring her and her family meals. She was completely un-picky about what people brought, but of course I wanted to make them one of our favorites, an easy, one-dish meal free of processed foods, grains, legumes, or other irritants.

I hesitated to share this because there are gazillions of Shepherd's Pie recipes, even other Paleo-friendly versions... but as I looked through them recently when writing this recipe, I realized they are all different and I have yet another way of making mine!

I typically make this dish in our dutch oven (real deal/good knockoff), but for taking to a friend I bought a disposable square metal pan with plastic lid. This recipe fits perfectly in one of those dishes or a 5-6 quart dutch oven, and I love making it on Sundays to start us off with great lunch leftovers for the week.

I should also note that, besides the spices and frozen peas, EVERY ingredient for this amazing dish came from our winter CSA share or our latest grassfed cow share (the ground beef). I wanted to save this recipe to blog when it's really seasonal and you can make it from ingredients sourced locally! I love finding amazing ways to combine our local, organic, seasonal produce. And of course, grassfed beef is incredibly nurturing and nutrient-dense, and makes me feel good! This is one of our fave balanced one-dish meals.

I made it with mashed potatoes this time, but if you have nightshade sensitivities, you could also do it with sweet potatoes or your favorite root veggie. For a lower-carb version and because I don't love white potatoes that much, I also often make it with pureed cauliflower on top in place of the potatoes. (There's lots out there about the are-white potatoes-Paleo controversy... good summaries here and here.)

This recipe can be made completely dairy-free, with butter only, or with butter and cream, depending on your dairy tolerance.

Real Food/Paleo Version - Classic Shepherd's Pie

Mashed Topping Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs potatoes OR 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes OR 1 head cauliflower OR 1.5 lbs your favorite mash-able root vegetable
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk for dairy-free
  • 1 tbsp. grassfed butter or ghee (or omit for completely dairy-free, you'll just have dryer topping)
  • salt & pepper

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp pastured hog lard, grassfed beef tallow, or grassfed butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • sprinkle sea salt
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • more salt & pepper
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef or lamb (or combination) (grassfed vs. grain-fed article if you're interested)


    1. Chop and boil potatoes, cauliflower, or your choice of root veggie (in a saucepan). (When they are done, between the next steps, strain, add the next 3 ingredients, and mash.)
    2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    3. Chop the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. An a heavy pan or dutch oven, saute in the lard, tallow, or butter with a dash of salt. Once sauteed, add the peas, tomato paste, and spices.
    4. Create a spot in the center of the pan. Cook the ground beef or lamb with another dash of salt and break it up into small pieces. It will look like this.

    Next step depends on which baking and serving method you choose!

    Version 1:

    5. Distribute beef/veggie mixture into individual oven-safe dishes, distribute mashed potatoes or veggies on top, and bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Version 2:

    5. Distribute mashed potatoes or veggies on top in the dutch oven or pan, and bake for 20-30 minutes.

    In this method, cut slices out like you would a pie.

    We usually make Version 2 and have great leftovers for lunches and an easy dinner for one or both of us, but the little dishes are very pretty for a dinner party or special meal!

    Of course, you can also saute the veggies/beef in any pan, then transfer to a casserole dish or disposable casserole dish, then put the potatoes on top, like I did for Linnea. I brought it to her just like that--with everything cooked, but still needing the 20-30 minutes in a hot oven to mesh all the flavors and crisp up the top. That way all she had to do was heat it!


    1. yum! this looks absolutely delicious! i do love this meal and a locally sourced version sounds up my alley

      ladies in navy

    2. These both sound amazing! I'm going to have to try at least one of these recipes!

    3. Oh yum! My husband loves Shepherd's Pie, so I may make this for him!

    4. Mmmm I love shepherd's pie! I've been thinking about making it with sweet potatoes lately, and this is a good reminder to do so. Great photos!

    5. The individual ones are so pretty! I would totally do sweet potato!



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