Shepherd’s Pie with Healthier Mashed Potatoes That Actually Taste Good

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Challenge even the most die-hard mashed potato lover in your life to see if they can tell Shepherd’s Pie with Healthier Mashed Potatoes That Actually Taste Good aren’t made with all potatoes! 

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Another one of Ben’s and my favorite games to play is “guess the ingredients,” where whoever has cooked the meal makes the other one try and, well, guess all the ingredients in the dish.

It’s all very complicated.

A component of tonight’s supper was Ben’s #1 all-time favorite food ever, mashed potatoes, but I added a little somethin’ somethin’ to ‘em and wanted to see if he could figure out what it was, so I challenged him to a round of GTI when he got home from work today.

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Here, let me just stick my entire tongue in the extra mashed potatoes to try and figure out what’s in there. What? Do I have something on my face?

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Ok, let’s see…potatoes?

Yes.

Butter?

Yep.

Salt? Pepper? Milk?

Right, to all those things.

I think that’s it then?! Maybe sour cream?!

BAHAHAHA NO I WIN I WIN I WIN – I MADE YOU HEALTHY MASHED POTATOES AND YOU LIKED THEM!!!

Ahem, sorry! The secret ingredient I added, which the mashed potato connoisseur himself could not even detect, was cauliflower! I am so jazzed over this lower-carb mashed potato recipe, which tastes just like the real thing. You heard it here first, folks!

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Now, I’ve made mashed cauliflower before trying to “trick” my brain into believing it was mashed potatoes, but no amount of whipping, butter, salt or pepper could help me get past the slightly wet and grainy texture. Sure it’s low-carb and healthier for you than mashed potatoes – but at what cost, I ask you?

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The recipe I used to sit atop the St. Patrick’s Day inspired supper of Shepherd’s Pie I made tonight doesn’t eliminate the potatoes, rather it cuts them in half. Half potatoes, half cauliflower, with a little bit of milk, butter, salt & pepper. So easy. So satisfying!

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Healthier Mashed Potatoes: The Cast

2 large potatoes

1 head cauliflower

2/3 cup milk (could use any kind of fat level, I used 2%)

2 Tablespoons butter

salt & pepper to taste

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Wash and chop the potatoes into 2″ cubes, then place them inside a steamer basket in a large pot and steam for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer basket you can just boil them. Also, you can peel the potatoes if you like – I forgot/am lazy/don’t mind peels.

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After 5 minutes add 1 head of chopped cauliflower on top, and steam for 10 more minutes, or until the potatoes and cauliflower are very tender.

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Place the steamed veggies in a large food processor with a whipping blade, which is an unsharp blade used to mix up cake batters and mashed potatoes. Alternatively you could use the regular blade, or just use a handheld mixer (which is how my Mom has always made her mashed potatoes!)

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Add in warm milk and butter, and top with salt & pepper.

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Then let ‘er rip!

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Scrape down the sides a couple times, and just keep going until your mixture is nice and smooth. YAY! Ok, set the Healthier Mashed Potatoes to the side for a bit while you work on the Shepherd’s Pie filling you’re going to slather them on top of.

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Shepherd’s Pie Filling: The Cast

1lb ground beef

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt & pepper

3 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon each tomato paste, soy sauce & worchestershire sauce

1 can chicken broth (pretend that box is a can!)

2 cups frozen vegetable medley

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Start by browning ground beef with onion, garlic, salt & pepper.

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FYI – I didn’t end up having to chop the onion because I found a bag of pre-chopped onions in my freezer. I always do this with my leftover onions and it is SUCH a time saver!

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Drain the meat if there’s a lot of fat in the pan, then sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute.

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Next add tomato paste, soy sauce and worchestershire sauce.

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FYI #2 – I freeze my leftover tomato sauce sectioned off in plastic baggies so I can just snap one off the next time I have a recipe that calls for it.

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Next add 1 can chicken broth.

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Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick, about 5-6 minutes, then add in frozen vegetables.

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Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and top with the healthifier mashed potatoes.

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Since we saved some cals by using half cauliflower, I felt it was only necessary to dot the top with a little more butter, salt & pepper. :)

Into the oven for 30 minutes.

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Heck yes!

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Let the Shepherd’s Pie cool for 5 minutes, then dish it on up.

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Shepherd’s Pie with Healthier Mashed Potatoes

Print this recipe!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

For the Healthier Mashed Potatoes:
2 large potatoes
1 head cauliflower
2/3 cup 2% milk (could use skim or 1%)
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
salt & pepper

For the Shepherd’s Pie filling:
1lb ground beef
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 can (14.5oz) chicken broth
2 cups frozen vegetable medley

Directions:

  1. For the Healthier Mashed Potatoes: Wash and chop potatoes into 2″ pieces, then steam in a steamer basket fitted into a large pot for 5 minutes.
  2. Chop cauliflower into roughly the same sized pieces. Add on top of the potatoes and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are very tender. Pour into a large food processor fitted with a whipping blade, or a large bowl if using a handheld mixer.
  3. Melt butter and warm milk in a saucepan or in the microwave, and add to the potatoes and cauliflower. Add salt & pepper to taste, then process until very smooth.
  4. For the Shepherd’s Pie filling: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground beef, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain, then return to the skillet. Sprinkle in flour, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Add frozen vegetables and more salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Pour mixture into a large, oven-proof casserole dish. Top with healthier mashed potatoes and dot the top with remaining butter, salt, and pepper.
  7. Place casserole dish on a foil-lined sheet pan (in case the sauce overflows) and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

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You will want seconds, thirds and fourths of this dish. It is comforting, creamy and hearty, but light too. Great for saving plenty of room for green beer on St. Patrick’s Day!

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PLUS THOSE POTATOES! ;) Enjoy!

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