Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

[updated from 6/10/2010]

I’m not gonna lie, this meal in more finicky than what I usually like to cook. It messes up more than 1 pan and requires that you pay attention to it while it’s cooking. It’s what I imagine having a child would be like. I get it though…you gotta put up with the crap and in the end, you’ll reap the reward. In this case, it’s food to stuff into your face.


  • 1 lb. ground beef, chicken, turkey, pork…almost any ground meat will work
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots or parsnips, chopped
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T each FRESH rosemary, sage and thyme (herbs are the flavor maker and must NOT be omitted)
  • splash + 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1 T potato starch
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped and boiled in water until soft
  • 1 egg
  • S&P


Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

In a deep-sided, oven safe saute pan add the ground beef and saute on medium heat until browned. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and mushrooms and cook until softened. Add 1 c chicken stock and potato starch. Use a spatula to pick up any brown bits on the bottom  of the pan. Turn the heat off and toss in 3/4 of the chopped herbs along with some salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, a splash of  chicken stock and the cooked cauliflower pieces. Use a combination of whisking and smashing to get the cauliflower as smooth as possible. Throw in the rest of the herbs along with a nice, heavy pinch of salt. Spoon the mixture on top of the meat and press into an even layer with your spatula.

Bake in the oven, on the middle rack, for 10 minutes, then turn the oven on broil and cook for another 10 minutes. Once the “pie” has come out of the oven, let it rest a few minutes before serving.


43 responses to “Paleo Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. I found your site over a month ago and I have to say that you have some of the best recipes I have seen in a long time. I will definitely be trying this recipe soon. Thanks for blogging!

    1. that means so much to us. thank you, thank you, thank you!

      1. Just found your website. Starting a low carb diet & think I found the website that can help me. Especially since I do not like veggies but I think I can eat them based what I see in your recipes

  2. This one was really good…I was a fatboy and almost ate the whole thing by myself.

  3. My wife made this for my 40th birthday meal. Excellent!

    Also, have tried the rosemary cashews and chipotle meatballs- both turned out great. Keep posting:)

    1. happy belated birthday shawn!

  4. I just found your blog and am SO glad I did. I’ve been primal for almost a month now and am in need of some recipes. Your pictures, stories and recipes are all fantastic!

    I’m making this one tonight – can’t wait to try it!

    1. and we’re glad you found us too…good luck to ya!

  5. This recipe is simply awesome. I am only dabbling in paleo, but I love how this recipe makes such great use of herbs and vegetables in a meaty, fulfilling meal. The gobs and gobs of fresh herbs make this one even better as leftovers after they’ve had time to permeate the dish. I’ve cooked this recipe twice now. Thank you for the website!

    1. nothing makes us happier than hearing what you just said! herbs, like bacon, make everything better.

  6. After football practice last night, Jack, my oldest, said “Dad, this weekend can you make that shepard’s pie with the cauliflower, I really liked it and want some more”

    Thought you guys would like to know that little nugget

    Keep up the good work!

    1. oh monroe, that makes me so happy! now you gotta tell jack it’s his night to make dinner. get those kids cookin’ early!

      1. Jack Monroe

        It appeals to all of my senses!!!

        I made it and ate half of it myself. Dad says we need to double the recipe next time.

        Thank you Mrs. Megan.

        1. you are so sweet and very welcome, jack. i hope you’re in the kitchen with your pop helping him out!

  7. We liked this one. It takes a while, as there are many prep steps and several cooking steps, but it is good. IMO the herbs were WAY TOO STRONG. Next time I make this, it will be with maybe a TEAspoon or two of each instead of 3T, and then see where we are at. I had a feeling it would be too strong and boy was I right – overpowering. But other than that adjustment, I’m a fan.


  8. we like bold flavor around here. cooking the fresh herbs mellows them out a lot.

  9. The cauliflower trick was fantastic, I’ll have to keep that one in mind. The herbs in this recipe really popped too, I absolutely loved it. I will have to disagree with Mike above, I loved the herbage and loaded on the sage especially (cause I LOVE it and have little other use for it). When I took in leftovers for lunch it was drier and reminded me a great deal of stuffing (likely due to the sage).

    I’m sure something similar has been done before, but I think I’m gonna take my newly acquired grass-fed flank steak, make a small batch of this (with sausage), and roll it up for a tasty roulade. Actually I guess since it isn’t creamy it’d probably be a meatloaf, but delicious none the less! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. thank you so, so, so much keith!

  10. One question: About how many servings does this Shepherd’s Pie recipe make (for 2 adults)?


    Oh, and side note: your butternut squash lasagna recipe is by far my favorite Paleo recipe yet. I make it in huge batches so it lasts throughout the week. Seriously amazing.

    1. i would say about 4 servings. and thank you for your kind words rebekah!

  11. I love the Sound of this! Does the egg help with consistency / keep it together? Looks delicious!

  12. I love this new twist to the previous version that you posted – it’s one of our favorites and makes our meal plan at least a couple times per month. We’ve actually recommended this recipe (and your site) to several friends interested in going Paleo, and they always love it too. One note though – it’s usually spelled “Shepherd’s Pie” unless this is some sort of deviation and I’m missing something. Might get better search results that way. 🙂 Keep up the awesome recipes and fabulous pictures!

    1. thanks amelia!

      i wish i did that on purpose, but in truth…i’m a moron. thanks for the heads up.

  13. Looking forward to making this recipe when I come off the Cruise Phase of Dukan Diet…. just 8 pounds to go!!! When I go into Phase 3 (Consolidation) I plan on going completely Paleo… my body is so much healthier without gluten and grains!
    I look forward to following your blog and getting some great ideas for food!

  14. This was fantastic. My toddler shoveled it into his mouth by the fistful! Made a couple mods: Added parmesean to the crust, reduced ~half a cup of red wine into the sauce and went heavy on the mushrooms. I realized the paleo gods may smite me for the cheese and wine, so I made sure I used SC grass fed beef (moss hill farms) as a peace offering to them.

    1. thanks justin! haha, we’re not afraid of the paleo gods! we certainly understand why some people choose to avoid or limit dairy…but we just don’t feel the evidence is clear to condemn it all the time in people who tolerate it well…and believe it could have a place in a paleo template.

      now off to find out about moss hill farms…this is a new one to me.

  15. So excited to find this! I was just thinking about Shepherds Pie last night!

  16. I have a question…. Possibly a dumb one! 😉 When boiling the cauliflower, does it need to be chopped ahead of time or AFTER you boil it? :-\ I’m new to Paleo so all of these new ingredients are throwing me off!

  17. Another trick to layer a bit more flavor is to seriously brown the veggies (don’t brown meat first), add some tomato paste and cook until you get a nice browned pan bottom, then add stock and scrape the bottom. Add the ground meat to the liquid and simmer until done. Continue as written.

    I got this idea from Cooks Illustrated. It really deepens the flavor. Browning the ground meat first just doesn’t seem to work as well.

  18. This was pretty good!! I didn’t have enough of the caulifower topping (next time). I am slowely discovering what spices and herbs I like and don’t like. Does anyone find they taste different if fresh instead of the dried stuff??
    Anyway, easy enough to make different variations each time.

  19. I love you recipes and your blog – you guys are so fun to read! I can’t wait to make this for my hubby who has been asking for Shepherd’s Pie! He’s not 100% paleo but is so good he’ll eat whatever I make. He liked the cauliflower pizza crust so I’m sure he’ll love this too. Question – what is potato starch? Could I sub a few tablespoons of potato flakes?

    Thanks and keep postin’ – we appreciate it! 🙂

  20. I just discovered your site and am so excited about all the great recipes you have on here! My husband made this the other night and I was amazed by how flavorful it was. For the spices, we only had fresh rosemary so he used that with some dried italian herb seasoning. Sheppards pie was actually a recipe that I didn’t like before but this Paleo version will be regularly made in our house.

  21. Have you ever tried making this into a freezer meal? We are just starting to eat more on the Paleo side of life. I have a friend is very much into the Paleo lifestyle and she is having surgery and I would like to make a few freezer meals for her family.
    Thanks so much,

    1. can’t think of any reason you couldn’t freeze this. very thoughtful of you!

  22. I found this recipe on Pinterest. Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I can’t wait for my leftovers tomorrow at lunch. Thanks so much!

  23. I just discovered this on pinterest and it looks amazing. One question – is potato starch ok on paleo? I’m new to the diet and I get a lot of conflicting arguments regarding butter and heavy cream, honey and stevia.. but this is a new one.. are there any thickeners that are paleo “safe”?

  24. […] 4 Breakfast: sweet potato pancakes Lunch: veggie one pot stew Dinner: shepherd’s pie and sauteed garlic […]

  25. Made this tonight and it rocked. I added diced up kale, green pepper, and a little tomato paste which gave it that little boost of flavor. The hubs and twin toddlers loved it. And that is rare.

  26. Quick question…is there anything I can use instead of potato starch??? Just curious because that is one thing I do not have in the pantry. 🙂

  27. I made this and loved it … I am on a homeopathic gallbladder diet and didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to eat onions or cauliflower. Because I didn’t feel as well when I woke up the next morning I went and checked my foods to avoid list which said no onions or cauliflower. So I am making it right now without the onions and cauliflower … I had a baked sweet potato (pink) so I mixed that up like it was the cauliflower and put it on top … it is baking right now. I can’t wait to taste it! I also can’t wait until I can eat onions again! I’m so happy I found your recipe and that it is so easy to make. Thank you!!

  28. Rachel O.

    Delicious! I can’t believe someone thought the herbs were too much! I might add more next time 🙂


  29. I made this the other night for myself and my husband. He gets bored really easily with food and reverts back to fast food… UGH! So I saw this dish and made it. He took one bite and was hooked! He said it was the best Paleo recipe that I have tired out! It will definitely make its way to the dinner table often in our home. Your website is so awesome and both of your personalities are great! By the way, the herb amount is PERFECT 🙂

  30. This is the first paleo recipe of yours I’ve tried and it was delicious!!! Thanks so much!

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