Ever since I made the “regular” Shepherd’s Pie – with mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes – I’ve been craving an Italian version.
My Italian Shepherd’s Pie is made with a tomato sauce, fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano and the low carb staple – mashed cauliflower.
Love love love this recipe. I think it satisfies my comfort food craving since it’s hearty and has so much flavor. The best part about it – besides the flavor – is it’s healthy!
This version of Italian Shepherd’s Pie makes six servings – I put 2 in the refrigerator and 4 in the freezer so I can have a quick “fast food”, healthy meal at a later date when I don’t feel up to cooking or short on time.
Brown you ground beef.
Chop your vegetables any way you like. I don’t chop mine to fine – a loose chop for chunkier style vegetables since it cooks down a bit during sauteing.
After browning your ground beef, transfer to a bowl and add your chopped vegetables and garlic to same pan and start sauteing.
Once all the vegetables are sauteed and tender – about 10 minutes – add back into the pan the browned ground beef, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
While your base is cooking in all of the flavors – prepare your mashed cauliflower. There are several ways you can go about this. Sometimes I’ll use frozen cauliflower and sometimes I’ll use fresh cauliflower. Since I was using fresh this time, I cut up 2 heads of cauliflower and roasted for about 45 minutes with olive oil until it was fork tender.
If you want to use frozen cauliflower, then just heat up in the microwave and add to your blender to mash.
Add cauliflower to blender – I have a Vitamix blender – and add about 3/4 – 1 cup of chicken broth. This really depends on how much moisture you have in the cauliflower. You want just enough to blend and be the consistency of mashed potatoes – not to runny, but not chunky either.
Add in your salt and pepper and garlic, then blend.
I also like to assemble my Italian Shepherd’s Pie in individual dishes to make it easier when serving and freezing – plus I have these super cute terracotta dishes I just love!
Dish meat and vegetable base into each dish (or large dish of your choice) and then spread mashed cauliflower over the top. You should have about 3/4 cup of mashed cauliflower for each serving.
- 3 lbs of ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
- 15 crimini or baby portabella mushrooms chopped
- 2 medium sized red bell pepper chopped
- ¾ cup of dice red onions
- 2 heads of cauliflower roased or (3) 16 oz bags of frozen cauliflower heated
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 6 tsp garlic minced
- 3 tsp fresh rosemary
- 3 tsp fresh thyme
- 3 tsp fresh basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 16 oz fire roasted tomatoes
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown ground beef on medium setting until cooked through.
- While ground beef is browning, chop all vegetables.
- Heat up bag of frozen cauliflower in microwave until steaming and cooked through or roast cauliflower in the oven on 400 degrees with drizzled olive oil for about 45 minutes.
- Add cauliflower to Vita Mix blender or food processor and add chicken broth and 1 tsp garlic.
- Blend until smooth.
- Transfer ground beef to side dish then add vegetables and remaining garlic.
- Stir and pick up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan and saute vegetables until tender.
- Add back ground beef and remaining and tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the pan of sauteed vegetables and stir.
- Transfer meat and vegetable mix to your baking dish(es) and then spread on mashed cauliflower until evenly coated.
- Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until bubbly on the sides.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.