Looking for an easy grab-and-go lunch that isn’t a salad? Try shepherd’s pie in a jar!
You can feel good about this nutritiously complete made with ground turkey and plenty of veggies.
Stashing your lunch in a jar is all the rage right now. But most of the meal-in-a-jar ideas out there are of the salad variety. Now, we love salad as much as the next health-conscious parent. But sometimes you want something a little more substantial and filling. Shepherd’s pie is just that.
This recipe combines lean healthy ground turkey with carrots, peas, mushrooms, and creamy mashed potatoes so you can get a completely balanced lunch in a convenient package.
These jars travel to work with you, ready to pop into the microwave (lid off first!) and impress the heck out of your coworkers.
Even though we think of this one as a “mom and dad recipe,” you might also find your kids enjoy having a mini-sized shepherd’s pie in a jar all their own! Got a sitter and a night out planned? Prep these ahead and leave them in the fridge for an easy-to-heat, nutritious kid meal.
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie in a Jar
Start off by getting your mashed potatoes going. This can be done using your own method, if preferred, but here’s how we did it.
We used small yellow potatoes and kept the skins on because we like them (also nutrients!), but you can peel them if you like. Chop them into inch-sized squares and cook them in boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces them. You want them pretty soft, but not completely mush before you even mash them. Drain when finished cooking.
Meanwhile, dice half an onion into small pieces, mince 3 cloves of garlic, and grate two or three carrots.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil (we used EVOO) and saute onions for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Next, add ground turkey and sliced mushrooms (I bought mine pre-sliced) and stir, breaking up turkey as you go until it’s fully browned. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of flower, plus a tablespoon of fresh thyme and rosemary and mix well.
Finally, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, a cup of frozen peas, 1/2 cup of beef broth, and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened just a bit.
TIP: if you have extra tomato paste, scoop it onto a parchment paper-lined plate in tablespoon-sized heaps. Freeze for a day, then transfer to a ziplock bag. Now you’re set for the next recipe that calls for only a little bit of tomato paste!
Now, back to the mashed potatoes. Add 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mash with a potato masher or use a handheld mixer for just a minute to whip them up.
Put Lunch in a Jar
Now is the fun part! Carefully scoop the turkey and veggie mixture evenly into four pint-sized jars. We used maybe 1 1/4 cups per jar. Now layer on 1/2 cup or so of mashed potatoes. Top with a pinch of cheddar cheese, if desired. It doesn’t even need cheese because it tastes great even without it!
Pint-sized jars work well for a hungry adult (very filling!), but you can also use half-pint sized jars for kids or if you have a smaller appetite.
Here’s an optional assembly tip: you might want to add half of the mashed potatoes to the bottom of the jar. This way, you have a more evenly distributed potato-to-filling ratio. But even if the potatoes are all on top, just stir it all up a bit and it works great!
Make these ahead for nearly a week of lunches! They can be reheated without a lid in either a microwave for 1-2 minutes. The great thing about using a jar is that they can also be heated in the oven, if that’s your preference. About 20 minutes at 400 F works nicely, just make sure to place them on top of a baking sheet so they don’t fall over.
What recipes have you tried in a jar?
- 1/2 medium onion
- 3 medium carrot
- 3 clove garlic
- 2 1/2 cup, pieces or slices mushrooms, white
- 1 tablespoon oil, vegetable
- 1 pound turkey, ground
- 2 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
- 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, dried
- 1 cup green peas, frozen
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste, canned
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Chop potatoes into inch-sized pieces and boil them for 15-20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, dice onion into small pieces, grate carrots, mince garlic, and slice mushrooms.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil. Saute onion for 2-3 minutes, then add carrots and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more. Now add mushroom and ground turkey, mixing and breaking up turkey into small pieces until fully browned.
- Add flour and spices to the turkey mixture, mix well. Now add peas, tomato paste, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- Now, return to the potatoes. Add 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mash or mix until creamy.
- Fill four pint-sized jars equally with meat and veggie mixture. Top each with 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes. Garnish with cheese or fresh herbs, if desired.