This quick and easy gluten-free shepherd’s pie is topped with fluffy mashed sweet potato and filled with your choice of ground chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb. A lighter, healthier, and more flavorful version of a classic shepherd’s pie.
Best gluten-free shepherd’s pie
Shepherd’s pie is one of those classic and super comforting dishes I remember loving growing up. However, traditional recipes use russet potatoes and ground lamb and contain gluten. So, that’s why you will love this healthier and lighter recipe. Say hello to this gluten-free sweet potato shepherd’s pie made with lean ground chicken or turkey. Served with a crusted piece of gluten-free garlic bread, this dish is sure to be your new favorite.
I want cooking to be as easy and as accessible to everyone. That’s why I offer so many ingredient substitutions and options in my recipes. I love using ground chicken for this shepherd’s pie, but you can easily use ground turkey, ground beef, or traditional ground lamb.
I can’t forget to mention how in love I am with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are one of those love-hate foods, but they seriously add the best naturally sweet topping to a savory filling. You must try these chicken parm stuffed sweet potatoes if you’re like me!
This gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe does not compromise on flavor. It’s packed with herbs and spices and will surely be a crowd-pleaser. Plus, there is no heavy cream and no eggs in this recipe. It is so delicious that no one can tell this gluten-free shepherd’s pie is healthy.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Pick the Protein: You can choose between ground chicken, turkey, lean beef, or lamb to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs.
- Healthier Twist: Using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes adds a dose of nutrition with their natural sweetness and vibrant color. We also use Greek yogurt in place of butter in the mashed potatoes.
- Gluten-Free: This shepherd’s pie recipe is 100% gluten-free.
- Egg Free: Unlike most shepherd’s pie recipes, this one doesn’t call for eggs.
- Savory and Comforting: This dish combines hearty ground meat with a creamy layer of mashed sweet potatoes – such a comforting and satisfying meal.
- Easy Prep: The step-by-step instructions guide you through the process, making it simple to prepare even for beginner cooks.
- Make-Ahead: You can prepare the filling and mashed sweet potatoes ahead of time, making it perfect for busy weeknight dinners or gatherings.
- Make it Dairy-Free: You can easily substitute olive oil or coconut oil for the Greek yogurt, making this recipe 100% dairy-free.
Ingredients and substitutions
This gluten-free sweet potato shepherd’s pie calls for a handful of simple and healthy ingredients. It is customizable since you pick the protein: ground chicken, ground lamb, ground turkey, or ground beef. Here is a list of ingredients and substitutions so you have every prepared:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- Sweet Potatoes: For a fun twist on a classic shepherd’s pie. Sweet potatoes are the perfect naturally sweet topping to this saucy dish. However, you can use russet potatoes if needed or preferred.
- Greek Yogurt: Instead of butter, we use Greek yogurt to make these mashed potatoes creamy and fluffy.
- Seasonings: You need salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and fresh thyme to flavor the mashed potatoes.
- Parmesan: I left an option to add parmesan cheese to make the topping cheesy and flavorful. Again, it’s totally optional.
- Olive Oil: To saute the onions. You can also use coconut oil or avocado oil.
- Onion: I love yellow onion, but you can also use a sweet or white one.
- Carrots: Cut them into coins. If needed, use baby carrots.
- Protein: I prefer using ground chicken for this healthy shepherd’s pie. It’s super juicy, flavorful, and high in protein too. You can also use ground turkey, beef, or lamb.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic adds to the most wonderful flavoring. You can use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder if needed.
- Gluten-Free Flour: To make the shepherd’s pie gluten-free, use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Tomato Paste: This adds the classic shepherd’s pie flavor to this healthy version.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Make sure you buy a gluten-free certified brand.
- Broth: You can use chicken or vegetable broth to ensure the filling doesn’t dry out in the oven.
- Spices: Use paprika and thyme to season the filling.
- Frozen Peas: To sneak some vegetables into this recipe and to stay true to classic shepherd’s pie, add in 1 cup of frozen peas.
- Fresh Spinach: Add some extra leafy greens to make this recipe healthier. I promise you cannot taste it.
Kitchen tools you’ll need
Here is a list of kitchen utensils for making this savory and protein-packed gluten-free shepherd’s pie.
- Large Pot
- Potato Masher or Fork
- Baking Dish (9×9” or 7×11”) or a 10-inch Skillet
- Cutting Board and Knife
- Large Saute Pan
- Wooden Spoon
- Measuring Tools & Cups.
How to make healthy gluten-free shepherd’s pie
Gluten-free shepherd’s pie is straightforward to make. First, prepare the homemade mashed sweet potatoes; then, make the juicy and flavorful chicken or turkey filling; and finally, assemble and bake the shepherd’s pie. This recipe is healthy and 100% gluten-free since we use gluten-free flour to thicken the filling. Here are detailed step-by-step instructions for any level cook:
First, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
Step 2: Make the mashed sweet potatoes
In a large pot, add the sweet potato pieces and enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 – 14 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them using a potato masher or fork.
Then, whip in the Greek yogurt (or butter), parmesan cheese (optional), garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired, then set aside.
Step 3: Make the healthy shepherd’s pie filling
First, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and carrot coins, and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until onions are translucent and softened. Stir in minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Then, stir the gluten-free flour over the pan for 1 minute.
Next, push vegetables to the side and add your choice of ground meat to the pan. I love ground chicken. Use a wooden spoon to break it apart. Spoon off excess fat if necessary (this will only happen with the beef and lamb since chicken and turkey are very lean).
Finally, stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 6 – 8 minutes, until meat is browned. Add chicken or vegetable broth, frozen peas, and chopped spinach. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 – 8 minutes until the mixture thickens and the spinach wilts.
Step 4: Assemble and bake
Transfer the meat mixture to a 9×9″-inch or 7×11″-inch baking dish, then spoon the mashed sweet potatoes over the meat and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown. For extra crispiness, broil for 5 minutes.
Step 5: Serve
Allow the healthy and gluten-free shepherd’s pie to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving. I garnished mine with chopped parsley and chives. Enjoy!
- Cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces before boiling: This is my #1 trip to making this dish in under 30 minutes. The smaller the sweet potato pieces, the less time they need to boil.
- Choose your Protein: To make this dish healither and less fatty, opt for lean protein like ground turkey or chicken. But I also love ground beef and lamb on occasion.
- Substitute the Greek Yogurt: You can use sour cream or unsalted butter if you don’t have Greek yogurt.
- If using Beef or Lamb: make sure you spoon off excess fat so the filling is not too liquidy. This will only happen with beef and lamb since chicken and turkey are very lean.
- Allow the dish to cool: Allow this gluten-free shepherd’s pie to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving. If not, the filling will be scorching hot.
- Make-Ahead Friendly: This recipe is great for preparing ahead. You can make the filling and mashed sweet potatoes earlier in the day, or even the day before, and assemble the dish when you’re ready to bake.
- Customize It: I use frozen peas and spinach, but you can customize it and add frozen broccoli, cauliflower rice, bell peppers, corn, or mushrooms.
What to serve with shepherd’s pie:
Shepherd’s Pie is a complete meal on its own, but I love serving it with a side salad, roasted vegetables, garlic bread, or a slice of crusty bread. Here is a list of the best dishes to serve with shepherd’s pie:
- Salad: Try this kale crunch salad, strawberry goat cheese salad, or this Greek spinach salad.
- Garlic Bread: I love this air fryer garlic bread and this gluten-free garlic bread!
- Vegetables: My favorite way to prepare vegetables is roasting or air frying. Try this crispy air fryer broccolini, air fryer broccoli and cauliflower, or these balsamic maple brussel sprouts.
What’s the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?
Shepherd’s Pie is typically made with lamb as the meat component, while Cottage Pie is made with ground beef. The concept is the same – a meat and vegetable filling topped with mashed potatoes –but the choice of meat distinguishes the two.
This recipe can be considered a cottage pie or a shepherd’s pie since I give you an option for the meat filling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is shepherd’s pie gluten-free?
Traditional shepherd’s pie made with a meat filling and topped with mashed potatoes is typically gluten-free unless it calls for all-purpose flour to thicken the filling. Also, look for a gluten-free version of Worcestershire sauce, as some regular versions might contain gluten.
Can I use russet potatoes?
You can absolutely use Russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes to make the topping for this gluten-free shepherd’s pie. Russet potatoes are starchy and create a creamy and fluffy mashed potato layer when properly prepared.
What do you serve with cottage pie?
Cottage pie is a hearty dish that pairs well with simple sides like steamed green beans, a simple salad, or peas to add a pop of color and freshness. You can also opt for a hearty side, like a slice or two of crusty bread or garlic bread.
Can I make this recipe dairy-free?
You can certainly make this recipe dairy-free by substituting the Greek yogurt with olive oil, dairy-free yogurt, or coconut Oil.
Can I use ground turkey or chicken?
For this gluten-free shepherd’s pie, you can use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground lamb. Using lean ground meat makes this dish healthier.
Can I use ground beef?
Yes, if you prefer ground beef, feel free to use it. Remember that you may need to spoon off excess fat as the beef cooks.
Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?
Yes, Shepherd’s Pie can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. For best results, freeze the pie before you bake it. Cover the assembled dish tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and then thaw it in the refrigerator before baking.
How to store and reheat shepherd’s pie:
Storing: Allow the shepherd’s pie to cool to room temperature. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating: To reheat, microwave individual portions for a quick warm-up or preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and reheat the entire dish covered in aluminum foil for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through. I reccomend baking them so the sweet potato topping is nice and crispy.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Gluten-Free Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Parm Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
- Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna
- Chicken Bolognese
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (Gluten-Free)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 – 3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt, or butter
- ¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese, optional but so delish
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ – 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 – 2 tbsp parsley or chives, chopped, to garnish at the end
- 1 lb ground chicken, ground turkey, 94% lean ground beef, or ground lamb
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, cut into coins
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 – 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 – 4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Make the Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- In a large pot, add the sweet potato pieces and enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 – 14 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
- Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them using a potato masher or fork.
- Whip in the Greek yogurt (or butter), parmesan cheese (optional) garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired, then set aside.
Make the Filling:
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and carrot coins, and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until onions are translucent and softened. Stir in minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Sprinkle the gluten-free flour over the pan and stir for 1 minute.
- Push vegetables to the side and add your choice of ground meat to the pan. I love ground chicken. Use a wooden spoon to break it apart. Spoon off excess fat if necessary (this will only happen with the beef and lamb since chicken and turkey are very lean).
- Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 6 – 8 minutes, until meat is browned.
- Add chicken or vegetable broth, frozen peas, and chopped spinach. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 – 8 minutes until the mixture thickens and the spinach wilts.
- Transfer the meat mixture to a 9×9”-inch or 7×11”-inch baking dish.
- Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes over the meat and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the potatoes start to brown. For extra crispiness, broil for 5 minutes.
- Allow the shepherd’s pie to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving. Garnished with chopped parsley or chives. Enjoy!
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