Chef Confession: I don’t like to cook EVERY single evening for dinner. I’m tired after the work day and want something simple I can reheat that’s nutritious, filling and homemade. Shepherd’s Pie with a side of sauteed zucchini gets the job done and it feeds for days!
I’m a big fan of casserole dishes that have some combination of protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and fiber. Shepherd’s pie has:
Veggies: Onion, carrot and peas which together have nutrients including: Vitamin K (good for your blood), Vitamin A and Beta Carotene (good for your eyes) and Vitamin C (good for your immune system)
Protein: Ground Beef 90-95% lean, which is great for your muscles and low in animal fat
Carbohydrates: Provides you with energy replenishment
Fiber: Good for your digestive system & reduces your insulin release for more sustained energy
Shepherd’s Pie is a classic dish from England composed of a meaty, savory filling topped with gravy, mashed potatoes and then baked to golden perfection. It’s meat, potatoes and veggies all warped together.
How I Make It Healthier
For my own healthy, weeknight version I made a few substitutions:
- No Gravy. This helps eliminate some fat and it stills tastes delicious.
- Lean Ground Beef. I substitute lean ground beef with lamb because it’s easier to find, inexpensive and healthy
- No Butter or Heavy Cream I removed most of the buttery, creamy elements traditionally from in mashed potatoes and instead just use a splash of milk
Zucchini is a perfect, easy side dish you can make while the pie is baking. This recipes served my girlfriend and I for 2.5 dinners or about 5 adult servings. Here’s how you make it!
Healthy Shepherd’s Pie with Sauteed Zucchini (Full Meal in 1 hr)
Serves 5-6. Active Time: 30 min. Total Time: 60 min
- 2 lb russet potatoes, peeled
- 2 lb ground beef 90-95% lean
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 egg
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 lb zucchini
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3-4 Tbs whole milk
- Olive Oil
- Kosher and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Cut the potato into 1″ pieces, so they cook faster. Add 2 Tbs of salt into the boiling water, then add the potatoes, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until a fork can easily pass through the potatoes. Drain and place in a bowl. Add milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and mash with a potato masher until it becomes mashed potatoes.
As the potatoes cook, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbs oil, carrots and onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Add half the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground beef and cook for 6-7 minutes until the beef is cooked and nicely browned, stirring frequently. Add the Worcestershire Sauce, peas and stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
In a square, oven-proof casserole dish, about 8″ x 8″ add the ground beef. Top with mashed potatoes and use a spatula to make it even on top. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes. If the top isn’t nicely browned, you can place it near the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
While the shepherd pie bakes, chop the zucchini into circles, about 1/2″ thick.
In a large frying pan, add 3 Tbs oil over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently until the zucchini is slightly browned and cooked through.
On a plate serve a portion of the shepherd’s pie and a scoop of zucchini. Enjoy!
Leftovers can be reheated and eaten for 3-4 days!
Plan Ahead Tip: Make two shepherd’s pie and place one in an aluminum baking dish and freeze it. Reheat in an oven at 350°F for about 20-30 minutes and you now have dinner ready at any moment. Doubling recipes is the way to go!