11 net carbs

Shepherd's Pie

Hearty and savory low-carb comfort food! Shepherd’s pie is a casserole made with lamb (or beef) in a rich gravy sauce topped with buttery mashed cauliflower.

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Shepherd's Pie

Low-carb shepherd's pie in a casserole dish

Low-Carb Shepherd’s Pie [Keto]

Total Diabetes Wellness
The best low-carb shepherd’s pie! Hearty and delicious, this shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb (or beef) and vegetables in a rich gravy sauce. Then, it’s topped with cheesy, buttery mashed cauliflower and baked until golden and bubbling. Low-carb comfort food!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Lunch and Dinner
Cuisine American, English
Servings 6 servings
Net Carbs 11 g
*Net carbs are per serving


Cauliflower Topping

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces OR 2 10-oz packages of frozen riced cauliflower.
  • 3 ounces chive cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lamb Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds ground lamb
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Optional Garnish

  • chopped parsley


Cauliflower Topping

  • Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
    Close-up view of temperature knob on an oven, preheat oven to cook a meal.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chopped cauliflower and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Use paper towels to remove extra water. [If using frozen riced cauliflower: cook cauliflower according to package directions. Use paper towels to remove excess water.]
    Top view of stainless steel saucepan cooking chopped cauliflower in boiling water.
  • In a blender, combine the cauliflower, chive cream cheese, butter, salt, and pepper until smooth. *You can also combine by hand using a potato masher. Set aside.
    Top view of cauliflower mash for low-carb shepherd's pie.

Lamb Filling

  • In a large oven-safe skillet or saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
    Top view of skillet cooking onions, carrots, and garlic.
  • Add ground lamb and cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the fat.
    Top view of skillet cooking ground lamb, carrots, onions, and garlic.
  • Add corn, peas, and mushrooms. Stir until well combined and warmed, about 3 minutes.
    Top view of skillet cooking ground lamb, carrots, onions, mushrooms, peas, corn, and spices.
  • Add chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary to the skillet. Stir until well combined. Simmer until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
    Top view of shepherd's pie lamb filling cooking in a skillet.

Assemble the Shepherd's Pie

  • Top the lamb filling with the mashed cauliflower. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
    Top view of low-carb shepherd's pie ready to bake in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, until cauliflower is golden and the filling is bubbling.
    Top view of low-carb shepherd's pie out of the oven, freshly cooked and ready to eat.
  • Optional: garnish with parsley before serving.
    Low-carb shepherd's pie just out of the oven




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Keywords cauliflower shepherd's pie, healthy shepherd's pie, keto shepherd's pie, low-carb cottage pie, low-carb shepherd's pie
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Photos of Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie


Recipe Variations

  • Meat substitutions – Lamb is used in the traditional version of shepherd’s pie. If you haven’t tried lamb before, give it a try! Lamb has a delicious flavor that is unique from other ground meats. You can use ground beef or ground turkey instead of lamb if you’d prefer. Shepherd’s pie made with ground beef is called cottage pie.
  • Veggie substitutions – Our recipe uses carrots, corn, peas, and mushrooms. Feel free to omit or substitute other veggies in their place. Leeks, parsnips, turnips, green beans, and celery would all be great options.
  • Dairy-free substitutions – Use full-fat coconut milk to replace the butter and cream cheese in the mashed cauliflower. You can also add nutritional yeast for a bit of a cheesy flavor. Omit the shredded cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make shepherd's pie in a rectangle casserole or baking dish?

Yes! You can cook the shepherd’s pie in a 9”x13” casserole dish. If you anticipate leftovers, a rectangle dish with a lid is often preferred since this size dish usually fits in the refrigerator easier than a round dish. After the filling has finished cooking, simply transfer the filling into the rectangle dish and then top with the cauliflower mash and cheese.

Is this low-carb shepherd's pie recipe Keto?​

This low-carb shepherd’s pie recipe has 11 grams of net carbs per serving. On a Keto diet of 20 grams of net carbs per day, shepherd’s pie would be an acceptable choice. Just make sure you watch your other meals’ carb count if you’re on a strict Keto diet.

Is shepherd's pie gluten-free?​

Yes! Our shepherd’s pie recipe is gluten-free. If you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure to double-check the ingredients of the Worcestershire sauce you use. We use and recommend Lea & Perrins Original Worcestershire Sauce; it’s available almost everywhere and is gluten-free.

Storage and Reheating Guidelines

  • Make-ahead: Shepherd’s pie can be prepped ahead of time. We recommend keeping the cauliflower mash and meat filling in separate containers in your refrigerator. When ready to cook, assemble the layers and bake.
  • Storing leftovers: Shepherd’s pie can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 
  • Freezing instructions: Shepherd’s pie can be frozen. Freeze either the entire casserole or individual servings. In freezer-safe, airtight containers shepherd’s pie will last for 3 months frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To reheat: Reheat shepherd’s pie in the oven, or toaster oven, at 350F until warmed through. The microwave will work as well. We prefer the oven for reheating because the oven is less likely to dry out your food.

Additional Details

Shepherd’s pie is a classic comfort food dish that brings warmth and satisfaction to the table. Traditionally made with mashed potatoes, ground meat, and vegetables, this recipe has been reimagined to fit a low-carb lifestyle suitable for people with diabetes.

Shepherd’s pie has its roots in British and Irish cuisine and has been enjoyed for centuries. Originally created as a way to use up leftover meat, it quickly became a household favorite. The traditional version typically consists of minced or ground meat mixed with vegetables like peas and carrots, topped with creamy mashed potatoes, and baked until golden brown. Today, we’ll be embracing a low-carb twist on this classic recipe without sacrificing any of its comforting flavors.

Benefits for People with Diabetes

For individuals managing diabetes, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet that helps regulate blood sugar levels. This low-carb shepherd’s pie recipe offers several benefits:

  • Controlled Carbohydrate Intake: By replacing high-carb ingredients like mashed potatoes with low-carb alternatives, this recipe helps minimize blood sugar spikes and supports glucose management.
  • Fiber-Rich Vegetables: The inclusion of vegetables in this dish provides essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, promotes satiety, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Lean Protein: The use of lean ground meat, such as lamb, turkey, or chicken, ensures a good source of protein without excessive fat content. Protein helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and supports overall health.
  • Balanced Macronutrients: This recipe combines protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich vegetables, providing a well-rounded meal that can contribute to better blood sugar control.

Tips for Preparing Low-Carb Shepherd’s Pie

Preparing a low-carb shepherd’s pie is a breeze when you have a few key tips in mind:

  • Choose Low-Carb Substitutes: Opt for low-carb alternatives for traditional ingredients. For instance, replace mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower or a combination of cauliflower and turnips, providing a similar creamy texture with fewer carbs.
  • Amp Up the Flavor: Enhance the taste of the dish by incorporating herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, garlic, and paprika. These aromatic ingredients elevate the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  • Double the Recipe: Shepherd’s pie freezes well, making it an ideal dish for batch cooking. Consider doubling the recipe and freezing individual portions for quick and convenient meals on busy days.
  • Experiment with Seasonal Vegetables: While traditional shepherd’s pie often includes peas and carrots, feel free to experiment with other low-carb vegetables like green beans, zucchini, or bell peppers. This adds variety to the dish and allows you to incorporate seasonal produce.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

The beauty of shepherd’s pie lies in its versatility. Here are a few variations and serving suggestions to explore:

  • Cauliflower Topping with Cheese: For a cheesy twist, mix grated cheese into the mashed cauliflower or sprinkle it on top before baking. This adds a delightful golden crust and a creamy, cheesy flavor.
  • Sweet Potato Topping: If you prefer a slightly higher-carb option, substitute mashed cauliflower with mashed sweet potatoes. Although higher in natural sugars, sweet potatoes offer additional nutrients and natural sweetness.
  • Tasty Toppings: Before serving, garnish the shepherd’s pie with fresh herbs like parsley or chives for a pop of color and added freshness. You can also drizzle some sugar-free tomato sauce or Worcestershire sauce for a tangy kick.
  • Side Salad: Serve your low-carb shepherd’s pie with a crisp green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. This adds a refreshing element to your meal while increasing your vegetable intake.

Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie, and Mince Meat Pie

While discussing shepherd’s pie, it’s essential to understand its close relatives: cottage pie and mince meat pie. These dishes share similarities in their basic components but differ in their meat and regional origins. Let’s explore the subtle distinctions among these comforting pies.

  • Shepherd’s Pie: Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with minced or ground lamb, hence the name “shepherd.” However, it has become common to use other ground meats like beef, turkey, or chicken. The meat is typically cooked with onions, garlic, and a medley of vegetables, often including peas and carrots. The filling is then topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes before being baked to golden perfection. The name “shepherd’s pie” is commonly used when referring to the lamb version, while the term “cottage pie” is used for the beef version.
  • Cottage Pie: Cottage pie shares the same concept as shepherd’s pie, but the key difference lies in the choice of meat. While shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, cottage pie uses minced or ground beef. The name “cottage pie” is believed to have originated in the late 18th century when potatoes became an affordable staple for the working class, often living in cottages. Cottage pie typically features a hearty beef and vegetable filling, topped with creamy mashed potatoes, and baked until the flavors meld together.
  • Mince Meat Pie: Mince meat pie, on the other hand, differs significantly from shepherd’s pie and cottage pie. This pie is a sweet dessert rather than a savory main course. Mince meat filling is typically made with a mixture of chopped dried fruits, such as raisins, currants, and apples, combined with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This mixture is often sweetened with sugar or alternative sweeteners and sometimes includes a splash of brandy or rum for added depth of flavor. The filling is encased in a pastry crust and baked until golden brown.

Indulging in comfort food doesn’t mean compromising your health or blood sugar control. This low-carb shepherd’s pie recipe offers a diabetes-friendly twist on a beloved classic, providing a delicious, satisfying, and nutritious option for those managing diabetes. With its controlled carbohydrate content, fiber-rich vegetables, and balanced macronutrients, this dish will surely become a favorite on your low-carb menu. Enjoy the flavors of tradition with a healthier, diabetes-friendly twist!

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Recipe Rating

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was really good. I added celery instead of peas and also added parmesan cheese on top (along with the cheddar cheese). I wasn’t sure if my kids would go for the cauliflower mash, but they all ate it without complaints and some even asked for seconds.

    1. Hi Chris! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. This recipe is a favorite in my house too, kids can be picky eaters it’s great when you find recipes they enjoy! Adding celery sounds like a great option as does the parmesan, I’ll give those a try the next time I make this.