This colorful sweet potato shepherd’s pie is paleo-friendly, grain-free, and dairy-free. Filled with vegetables, ground beef, and herbs, this pie is healthy, nutritious, and delicious! Instead of the traditional mashed potatoes on top, I used sweet potatoes to add even more nutrition from the deep orange color. Try this fun twist on the traditional shepherd’s pie and see for yourself how delicious it is!
I don’t remember ever having shepherd’s pie growing up. We may have and I just don’t remember, but it obviously wasn’t a frequent meal in our home. I’ve actually only had it a handful of times since being an adult, and while it was never my favorite, I don’t mind a tasty shepherd’s pie once in a while. I find it comforting and homey.
When I first made this recipe, I thought I would go way out on a limb and stuff bell peppers with the beef mixture and then put the mashed sweet potatoes on top of that. If you want to try it like that, go right ahead! It wasn’t bad by any means, but I definitely am not a fan of stuffed peppers. I never have been, and I don’t think I ever will be. So, this time around I decided to just go with a more traditional shepherd’s pie style.
This shepherd’s pie is a lightened-up version with just a scant spread of sweet potatoes over the top instead of a large layer of mashed potatoes. Personally, I like it better this way, and it’s healthier this way.
What Makes Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Healthy?
- It’s full of vegetables! Garlic, onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, peas, and green beans! That’s a lot of vitamins and minerals added to this delicious entree! Garlic and onion help boost the immune system and help detox our bodies. The rest of the vegetables provide us with the necessary fiber, a large range of vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and potassium. I love dishes like this where it’s crazy easy to pack in a ton of veggies!
- The use of sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes makes this shepherd’s pie healthier. The brighter and darker color a vegetable is, the more nutrition it’s going to give us. The bright orange color of sweet potatoes is a tell-tale sign of beta-carotene. This is a pigment that our bodies convert into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for many reasons including eye health, anti-inflammation, reducing free radicals (antioxidant), and boosting the immune system. So if you want to improve that eyesight…start peeling those sweet potatoes!
- This shepherd’s pie is made with just simple, whole-food ingredients. Ingredients that your great-grandparents would recognize and perhaps even have growing in their garden. What I love about using whole food ingredients is that we’re going back to the basics. We’re feeding your body foods that have been eaten for centuries. There are no refined flours, butter, creams, or sauces in this shepherd’s pie. Just vegetables, meat, and herbs. And yet it’s still delicious! Using real food (as opposed to refined, packaged goods) doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard. In fact, it’s often when we use a range of herbs and spices along with vegetables and meats that we get that truly satisfying, crave-busting type of taste.
- No dairy or grains. This shepherd’s pie is completely dairy-free and grain-free. This will help it digest easier and help reduce chronic inflammation.
What Ingredients Do I Need For Shepherd’s Pie?
For this shepherd’s pie you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Garlic cloves
- Red bell pepper
- Frozen peas
- Fresh or frozen green beans
- Tomato puree
- Ground beef
- Sweet Potatoes
To make this meal even healthier, and if you can fit it in the budget, I highly recommend getting grass-fed beef. This is beef that has been allowed to range freely in pastures over its lifetime, eating grass and getting exercise, instead of being stuck in a cage being fed processed grains. Meat producers feed cows grains for the purpose of fattening them up quickly and because it’s cheap and convenient. Oftentimes, these caged cows are also given antibiotics and hormones to increase growth quicker and prevent disease. So, do your body a favor and get high-quality, grass-fed beef. I find Costco’s beef to be a good price and good quality.
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie?
While this shepherd’s pie does take some time, it’s actually quite simple and hands-off once it’s in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- First, start by peeling and roughly chopping the sweet potatoes. Place them in a steamer and steam until they’re soft (boiling often causes a lot of nutrients to be leached out, which is why I usually prefer steaming). Once the potatoes are tender and a fork can easily go through them, remove them from the steamer and mash well. The potatoes take about 20 minutes to steam.
- While they’re steaming, chop the rest of the vegetables. You’ll want them to be fairly small.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. You’ll add the garlic and onion and saute for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the rest of the vegetables and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Cover with a lid and let the vegetables soften for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ground beef, tomato sauce, and herbs.
- Once the beef is pretty much cooked, spread the sweet potatoes over the top of the beef mixture.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and enjoy immensely!
I hope you like this nutritious, delicious meal as much as we do!
Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
- Large oven-safe pan
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion
- 3 large carrots
- 2 celery
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ cup fresh or frozen green beans
- 1.3 lbs ground beef
- ⅔ cup tomato puree
- ¼ tsp oregano
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1½ tsp rosemary
- ½ tsp parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes.
- Steam the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes, until a fork can easily go through them.
- When they're soft, remove from the steamer and mash well.
- While the potatoes are steaming, chop up the vegetables.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and saute for about 2 minutes. Cover with a lid and let soften for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ground beef, tomato sauce, and herbs. Mix well and let cook for about 3 minutes.
- Even the mixture out and spread the mashed sweet potato on top.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.