Balanced, comforting, and just plain tasty, this shepherd’s pie with a sweet potato topper hits all the right notes for a great family dinner. Try it as a make-ahead meal!
It’s hard to resist a comforting casserole dish of shepherd’s pie. And this one, with it’s hearty beef, colorful combo of veggies, and filling sweet potato topper, is a family favorite waiting to happen!
Savor the blend of sweet and white potatoes on top, made super creamy with extra virgin olive oil and cream. Then dig into the generous meat and veggie mixture underneath, flavored simply with thyme and a few shakes of Worcester sauce.
You’ll spend a little time assembling the parts in this recipe; it’s not as quick as the recipes you’ll find here. But it’s not hard, either. And the results are worth the effort, times a million. (We can vouch. That’s about how many times we’ve made this recipe.)
Shepherd’s Pie for Your Healthy Family
Some kids just can’t handle a serving of straight veggies on their plates. Hey, it’s a work in progress. Don’t give up! For kids who feel daunted by a side dish of plain veggies, Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topper tucks tons of healthy veggies right in the main dish.
A kid-friendly medley of peas, corn, and carrots packs vitamins and fiber into this meal, and the sweet potato topper adds extra nutrition compared to the traditional white mashed potatoes that usually top Sheperd’s Pie. (Note: white potatoes DO have nutritional benefits of their own, and mashed potatoes make a good carbohydrate-rich food for kids.)
We use grass-fed beef when we make this Sheperd’s Pie. You really don’t have to. But grass-fed beef provides a healthier balance of fats compared to corn-fed beef. And it’s friendlier to cows, and the planet!
For those kids and grownups who DO like a good veggie side, a fresh green salad pairs perfectly with this meal.
Yes, You can Make Shepherd’s Pie Ahead!
In-laws coming to town? Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topper is an excellent choice for a make-ahead meal. We recommend assembling the whole pie in the casserole dish, and refrigerating for up to two days. When you’re ready to eat, slide the whole thing into the oven, uncovered. (You might want to add an extra 15 minutes to the bake time, to be sure the cold middle gets heated through.)
You’ll love the leftovers, too… if there are any!
Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topper
For the Filling
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Peel and chop the russet potato and sweet potato into 1-inch cubes and steam until tender. Place the cooked potatoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Dice the onion, peel and chop the carrots, then add both to a large, deep-sided pan with a splash of olive oil. Saute the carrots and onion until just beginning to soften.
- Add the beef and dried thyme, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the beef is no longer pink.
- Sprinkle the beef, carrot, and onion mixture with flour. Stir the mixture to incorporate the flour, then add 1/2 cup water and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often. (A roux will form around the meat.)
- Remove from heat and stir in frozen peas, corn, and Worcester sauce. Salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.)
- Press the filling into a 9 x 9 baking dish.
- To the mixing bowl of potatoes, add the half-and-half, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Use a potato masher (or a big fork) to mash it all up until it becomes smooth and creamy.
- Spread the topping over the filling in the baking dish, and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of chives, and serve.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie