Hearty, healthy, comfort food at its finest. Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping is a family-pleasing, make-ahead and meal prep friendly, and incredibly tasty weeknight dinner. It’s complete with ground beef (or lamb), sneaky veggies, dried herbs, a touch of chili powder, and topped with a smooth layer of creamy, mashed sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is a recipe you’ll make again and again!
You really can’t beat a dish made of hearty, wholesome, comfort foods! This Shepherd’s Pie has it all. It’s incredibly flavorful, made with real food ingredients and it’s freezer-friendly, too. Because it freezes well, we recommend doubling the recipe and freeze half of it for a future meal. Having a freezer full of already prepared meals makes for easy weeknight dinners. Feel free to substitute the ground beef for ground lamb and regular potatoes for the sweet potatoes to make this a more traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe. We chose to use ground beef in place of lamb because ground beef is more accessible and budget-friendly yet still creates a delicious, family-friendly meal.
How this pie fits into your specialty diet
We’re all about creating recipes that nourish everyone, no matter if they’re following a special diet or just want to eat healthfully. This homemade shepherd’s pie with sweet potato topping is just that kind of meal.
Made with wholesome, simple ingredients, this recipe is naturally:
- Whole30 – since this recipe doesn’t have any added sugars or white potatoes, this is a Whole30 friendly Shepherd’s Pie, and you can swap in ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil for the butter
- Dairy Free – this recipe doesn’t contain cheese or sour cream, and you can easily sub in olive oil or coconut oil for the butter, making it 100% dairy free
- Egg Free – unlike most shepherd’s pie recipes, this one doesn’t use any eggs
- Gluten Free – many shepherd’s pie recipes call for a little flour or seasonings that contain gluten, but not this recipe
- Grain Free – nope, there’s no corn, processed starches, flours, rice, or other grains here
- Nut Free – you won’t find any nuts in this recipe
- Paleo – there are no beans, dairy, or processed ingredients, making this a paleo shepherd’s pie
- Vegetarian & Vegan Option – make this recipe 100% plant-based and vegan by using cooked lentils instead of the ground beef, and subbing in coconut oil or olive oil for the butter. Cook 1 cup dry lentils in 4 cups simmering water for 30 minutes; drain and add to the sauteed vegetables.
Ingredients and substitutions for Shepherd’s Pie
One of our favorite things about Shepherd’s Pie is how versatile it is. Tweak the ingredients to match what you have on hand — we promise, it will still be delicious!
- Ground Beef – may sub in ground lamb, bison, turkey, or lentils
- Green Pepper – or you can use any color of bell pepper
- Onion – we recommend yellow onion, but red or white onion will also work
- Mushrooms – may omit, or sub another veggie of your choice, such as chopped zucchini
- Seasonings – we used chili powder and dried rosemary, but if you don’t like either of those, try paprika and dried thyme
- Tomato Paste – you need 3 ounces, or 6 tablespoons
- Sweet Potatoes – may sub regular potatoes. If you use white russet or yellow gold potatoes, be sure to mash the potatoes by hand (rather than in a food processor or blender) to maintain texture
- Butter – or sub in ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil
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How to make Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
*We recommend a 10-inch cast-iron skillet so that you can cook everything in the skillet, top it with the mashed sweet potatoes and bake it right in the cast iron.
- Start by baking the sweet potatoes (you can find our directions for Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes here).
- Next, sauté the the ground beef and vegetables. While that’s happening, move on to make the sweet potato topping.
- Once the sweet potatoes are baked, we recommend blending all of the topping ingredients in a food processor or blender to make them extra creamy and super smooth. However, if you’re using regular russet or yellow gold potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, just mash them by hand since blending those high-starch potatoes would create a pasty mess.
- Next, finish seasoning up the filling, then spread that delicious sweet potato topping over top. Then bake for just 10 minutes to heat the sweet potato topping (since the filling is already cooked) and serve!
Make-ahead meal prep: How to freeze and reheat Shepherd’s Pie
We’re all about freezer-friendly recipes. Cooking once, eating twice (or more) is the BEST! This dish freezes nicely, so you can go ahead and double the recipe making two 9×9 dishes and freezing one of them for a future meal.
- Prepare recipe as instructed, stopping before the final bake in the oven.
- Let the container cool on the counter to room temperature, then wrap tightly in foil and place in your freezer. This will last in the freezer ~2 months.
- You can even take it a step further by portioning out servings into individual containers. Having a freezer full of already prepared meals makes for easy weeknight dinners or awesome meal prep lunches.
You have two options for reheating (depending on how far ahead you plan your meals):
- Thaw in Refrigerator. Remove from the freezer and place in the fridge the day before you plan to serve it. Simply reheat in the oven set at 375℉ for about 20-30 minutes or until the center is hot (~165℉).
- Reheat Directly From Frozen. You can reheat from frozen, it will however take a little longer. If reheating from frozen, cover with foil for the first 30 minutes of baking. Remove foil and continue to bake until the center is hot (~165℉). We recommend checking it around the 60-minute mark.
What to serve with Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Serve this dish with a fresh mixed green salad or steamed green beans for a veggie-loaded meal.
We like to round this meal out with a serving of extra veggies. Simply steam up some green beans or whip up a mixed green salad. If you’re looking for a homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered – try our Paleo Ranch or Citrus Vinaigrette with Thyme.
Why sweet potatoes are good for you
Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you could eat because they’re a great source of fiber, loads of vitamins, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Here are some of the ways that sweet potatoes are helping to keep you healthy:
- Nutritious sweet potatoes are a great source of two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber helps keep the healthy bacteria in your intestines healthy, while the insoluble fiber improves your digestion
- Sweet potatoes can reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing homocysteine in the blood, which has been linked to artery damage
- Because sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, they can improve your immunity and digestion, and also boost the production of your collagen levels for healthier skin, hair, and nails
- The deep orange color of sweet potatoes indicated that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A which improves your eye health and enhances your immunity against illness
- Delicious sweet potatoes can help keep you looking and feeling young, due to their high levels of carotenoids, a type of anti-aging antioxidant
- Sweet potatoes can even make you happier since they are a good source of Vitamin D, a nutrient important for keeping your energy and mood levels high
Other healthy comfort-food recipes to try:
- Creamy Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- Broccoli Cauliflower Cheddar Chicken Casserole
- Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Healthy Taco Hot Dish
For the Shepherd’s Pie Filling:
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or dried herb of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
For the Sweet Potato Topping:
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 12 ounces each), peeled and cubed (~6 cups cubed)
- 1 tablespoons butter (may substitute ghee or coconut oil for Whole30)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
*We recommend making this in a 10-inch cast iron skillet so that you can cook everything in the skillet, top it with the mashed sweet potatoes and bake it right in the cast iron.
- Preheat oven to 375℉. Bake the sweet potatoes until fork tender, 45 to 60 minutes (see our directions for perfect baked sweet potatoes). Alternatively, you can steam peeled and diced sweet potatoes until tender.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, saute the ground beef, chopped carrots, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Continue cooking until the carrots are soft, about 12-15 minutes. Begin making the sweet potato topping while the filling cooks.
- To make the topping: Place the peeled and baked/steamed sweet potato with all of the topping ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. NOTE: If using white potatoes, we recommend mashing them by hand rather than blending to prevent them from getting pasty.
- Back to the filling: Once the carrots are soft, stir in tomato paste, chili powder, rosemary, salt, black pepper, and water.
- Final step: Top the meat filling with the sweet potato mash. If you’re not using an oven-safe 10-inch cast-iron skillet, transfer the meat filling to a casserole dish or 9×9 inch baking dish and top the meat filling with the sweet potato mash. Sprinkle the top with a little sea salt and chili powder.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
To reheat if frozen: Remove from freezer and place in fridge the day before you plan to serve it. Simply reheat in the oven set at 375℉ for about 20-30 minutes or until center is hot (~165℉). You can reheat from frozen, it will however take a little longer. If reheating from frozen, cover with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until center is hot (~165℉).
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 395
- Sugar: 17 g
- Sodium: 350 mg
- Fat: 16 g
- Carbohydrates: 40 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 26 g
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
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