Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping

6 to 8 servings

A rich gravy with ground beef and vegetables updated with a topping of cauliflower puree. The ultimate comfort food for the busy holiday season!


  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 2/3 cup diced carrot
  • 2/3 cup diced celery
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, lamb or turkey
  • 2 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 3/4 cups beef broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine (or grape juice mixed with 1/2 tbs cider vinegar)
  • 1 gluten-free beef bouillon cube, optional
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves, divided
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, corn or mixture of both
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Garlic Mashed Cauliflower topping:
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dairy free mayonnaise, or dairy-free sour cream replacement
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, for dusting


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves, onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add beef to skillet. Cook, breaking up the beef, until browned and cooked through. Drain off excess fat. Sprinkle corn starch over beef mixture and cook while stirring for about a minute.

To skillet add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, wine or grape juice mixture, beef bouillon cube, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme and two bay leaves. Bring this mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium and bring the mixture to a rapid simmer. Cook for 25 to 35 minutes at medium heat, stirring every five minutes, until liquid is reduced to a thickened gravy. Remove from heat, and stir in peas. Discard bay leaves. Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake while making topping.

Clean cauliflower. Remove core and leaves and chop. Place cauliflower and garlic cloves into a steamer with water over medium-high to high heat. Cover pan. Steam cook cauliflower until tender. Using an immersion blender or food processor, make a smooth puree of the cauliflower, garlic, oil and mayonnaise. Season with salt then pepper to taste.

Scoop cauliflower puree onto meat mixture. Smooth. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes until heated through and cauliflower is lightly golden.

To freeze: After adding topping, cover pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Label and freeze. To serve: Thaw, bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through.

Follow Angela’s cooking adventures at Angela has had vast experience cooking dairy free (since 1994) and gluten free (since 2001) for her family and herself. An expert in gluten and dairy free recipe development and living, Angela teaches gluten and dairy-free cooking classes, written cookbooks, contributes articles and recipes to numerous publications and speaks for local and national organizations.