Shepherd’s pie is probably my all-time favorite winter casserole. It’s simple and takes no more than 45 minutes to put together. You can enjoy half the recipe now and freeze the other half for later.
So, with Thanksgiving 1 week away, I officially have my first dish made (happy dance).
Let me start by saying, this is a versatile recipe. You can use any ground meat you like: turkey, bison, beef, or lamb (even french lentils for a vegan version). I opted for grass fed beef and lamb.
Rosemary compliments the flavor of the lamb and stands up against the sweetness of the yams. Then there’s peas, carrots, mushrooms and bone broth, making for one nutritious meal!
While I love a good Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole as much as the next person, I thought I’d offer a savory way to make use of the gigantic yams that are in season. Now, if you don’t like the sweetness of yams, feel free to top instead with herb infused mashed potatoes.
Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?
Yes! Making this the perfect Thanksgiving make-ahead dish!
Freezer instructions: After assembling, wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat from frozen (covered tightly with foil) for approx. 2 hours in a 370 ºF oven or until warmed through.
How to Make Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie – Step by Step
Get all the prep work done first – chop the mushrooms, onion, garlic, and carrot then sweat the onion, garlic, carrot, and peas in a skillet (photos 1 & 2).
Stir in the mushrooms and cook until softened. In a separate pan cook the ground beef and lamb, stirring in the tomato paste (pictures 3 & 4). While the filling cooks, you can peel and cut the yams into large chunks (photo 5).
Simmer and mash using a potato masher or press through a ricer. Swirl in the coconut milk and season with a pinch of salt and pepper (photos 5, 6, & 7).
Spread the filling into a baking dish and top with a layer of sweet potato. Bake or wrap and freeze for later (photo 8).
Assemble the shepherd’s pie by baking into individual size ramekins for parties or in a large baking dish for scooping with a spatula. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt or fresh herbs for presentation.
I serve this shepher’s pie just as it is for a complete meal but if you wanted to add a light lemon and olive oil kale salad, that would be great too!
Top Tips for Making Sweet Potato Shepherd’s (Cottage) Pie
- When chopping the vegetables, aim for roughly the equal size cuts. I prefer medium size pieces, slightly larger than a pea.
- Don’t overfill your pan when sweating or it will take longer to cook. This is a large recipe so works best with 1 pan for the veg and 1 pan for the meat.
- You can peel and simmer the yams while the vegetables/meat cook.
- You can prepare the entire pie and refrigerate for baking same day or freeze and reheat from frozen.
- If cooking for 1-2 people, you can distribute the recipe into as many baking dishes as you like, or use ramekins for single-serve meals – great for meal prep!
- It’s easier to mash the sweet potatoes if they are very tender and still warm.
- If you are looking to up the nutritional value of this dish even more, you could add up to 4 oz of chopped liver, a great way to enjoy the benefits of organ meat!
More Delicious Casseroles You Might Like
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd's Pie Filling
- 1 tbsp refined coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 2 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms such as cremini, shiitakes, or white mushrooms
- 1 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup bone broth or stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
Sweet Potato Topping
- 4 large yams peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes to release some moisture. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms soften.
- In a separate pan, add the beef and lamb and cook until brown. Stir in the tomato paste, bone broth, and rosemary. Remove from the heat.
- Fill a medium pot halfway up with water. Add a few pinches of salt along with the yams. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain and mash or squeeze through a ricer. Swirl in the coconut milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread the vegetable and meat filling into the bottom of 1-2 baking dishes. Top with a smooth layer of sweet potato. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Freezing the Shepherd’s PieAfter you assemble the pie, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat, bake the casserole from frozen until warmed all the way through.
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