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Weeknight Quickie: Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

By December 8, 2011March 20th, 2012Main Courses, Meat, Paleo, Recipes


Catchy title? A little dirty maybe, but there really is no better way to describe this super-easy weeknight meal that we’ve eaten no less than a dozen times and counting in the past month. With my grad portfolio, freelance and newly designed websites everywhere (here and here most recently), and Crossfit immediately following work every day, no hassle has been our mantra.

The recipe was inspired by our small obsession for all things Gordon Ramsay. We’ve watched all of his shows, and can’t get enough of his intensity and no-bull demeanor. Oh, and his liberal use of the F-word (in the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares), we can’t get enough of that either.


There is one recipe that pops up everywhere in his work: Shepherd’s Pie. We’ve been wanting to make it for some time, but were a little deterred by how heavy it seemed. Determined to have Shepherd’s Pie without falling too far off the wagon, we decided to strip the dairy, use a little coconut milk, add more veggies and steam a bunch of sweet potatoes. The result? Warm, creamy comfort-food success!


2 tablespoons olive oil (or other oil)
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon almond flour
1 box (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables (no need to thaw)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (recipe below)

Mashed sweet potatoes
2 medium sweet potatoes (we used 5-6 little ones), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon garlic salt
Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Set a steamer basket in a large saucepan. Fill with enough water to come just below the basket; bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low/gentle simmer. Place sweet potatoes in steamer basket and cover, and steam until tender (roughly 15-25 minutes). Drain and return to saucepan or place in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk, Earth Balance to simmer, stirring to combine. Add cinnamon and garlic salt, stir until combined and remove the saucepan from heat. Add to sweet potatoes, and mash until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and additional cinnamon and garlic salt to taste (if desired).
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over high. Add beef and cook, breaking meat up with a spoon, until no longer pink (around 4-5 minutes). Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add thyme, tomato sauce/ketchup, and almond flour and stir until combined. Add vegetables and continue to cook until vegetables are warmed and liquid has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon beef/vegetables into a 2-quart baking dish. Spread mashed sweet potatoes evenly over beef and vegetables. If you want to get fancy, grab a fork and decorate the potatoes by creating lines and swirls. Bake until potatoes are lightly browned, around 15-18 minutes (will vary). Serve!

Makes 4 large servings.


Creamy whipped sweet potatoes with meaty/veggie goodness never fails to satisfy, especially on a cold, dark night after a workout. There’s also no end to the variations you can create as the veggie, meat and topping possibilities are seemingly endless. Sweet potato hashbrowns on top? Cauliflower Mash? Carrot Puree? The list goes on. It’s also easy to prep in advance and nice on the holiday budget.

Note: If you notice noodles in our pics, you are not hallucinating. Neil accidentally grabbed what he thought was a bag of veggies, only to find that the pasta was included when we poured it into the pot. Already in the throws of meal prep, we couldn’t turn back, and the pot was too hot to pick them out. Shit happens?

One Comment

  • Katie Lillard says:

    Looks pretty good minus the sweet potatoes, I have never liked them! I love Gordon Ramsey too, my favorite is when he calls people a donkey hahahah