I am nearly 5’11″ tall so you might not think I could have a problem managing weight, but I do, and always have. At my highest weight I was 261 pounds! My recipe for Skinny Shepherd’s Pie is proof that you can take your old, warm, and hearty family recipes and rework them to be healthy and scrumptious! No loss of taste here! You won’t even miss the high carb, high fat ingredients of your childhood in my delicious, bone-warming recipe for Skinny Shepherd’s Pie. It’s easy, all about layering flavors, uses some basic replacements, and it is honestly, quite DELISH!
So, how did I lose it? How did I go from 261 to 155 in 2 years? For me, low carb worked the best. But at the end of the day, a hard lesson for me to learn was that I HAD to change the way I ate permanently. Not for a month. Not for a year. If I didn’t change the way I ate, I gained it back, and then some. Every time. My recipe for healthier Shepherd’s Pie is a direct result of paying attention to how I ate and how to rework recipes so I wouldn’t have give up my favorite foods! The quickest way someone could get me off track was to tell me I couldn’t have a certain food. That never worked for me then, and still doesn’t. I’m not saying that if you eat low carb you will lose weight. What I’m saying is that if you know the basics and rework some of your favorite recipes, you too, can be well on your way to being healthier! If you lose weight along the way, that’s a bonus, and likely! So use my recipe for Skinny Shepherd’s Pie and rework it to suit your taste!
Here are some tips and mind tricks that helped me! I hope you can use a couple of them to help do what you want to do. Whether it’s to lose weight or to just be healthier, start with the recipe below and replace ingredients you don’t like, keeping in mind these tips:
- Eat the rainbow – and white isn’t in one! Lower or replace anything white in your diet. Is your plated food colorful? Find replacements for as many whites as you can. It’s not difficult. Replace potatoes with cauliflower or jicama. Replace white rice with quinoa or finely-chopped cauliflower. Replace sugar with agave. You don’t have to replace it all, but even when I cut out half, I felt a difference. After all, your body is used to eating 50% more! Every little bit helps! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t give up powdered creamer in my coffee. So I didn’t. I couldn’t get used to salt substitutes. So I didn’t. But I made every effort possible to eliminate it or reduce it in my other foods.
- When replacing meat, keep texture in mind – I found that when I craved meat, it was really the texture and taste I craved, not the actual meat itself. Use chopped mushrooms or diced veggies such as zucchini or squash in place of meat. Even if you use ground turkey, you’ll be doing better if you use ground white meat.
- Use spices! It’s hard to believe that you can add cumin to a dish of grilled or roasted veggies and it will taste smoky and remind you of meat! Ground turkey is a perfect example of needing some spice to offset the blandness. Use cumin and red pepper flake with your salt and pepper for ground turkey.
- Replace butter with coconut oil – Surprisingly, coconut oil is not sweet and doesn’t taste like coconut. Cut your butter in half in recipes and replace with coconut oil.
- Replace sugar with agave – I love cinnamon toast! I refused to give up the taste so I take low carb bread or tortillas and smear a little agave, then sprinkle with cinnamon and bake.
- When a recipe calls for milk, replace with whipping cream (no carbs) or half/half and water – 50/50
- Replace pasta with Julienne zucchini or yellow squash
Those are just a couple of things I learned and still practice today. Sweets are my thing. Ice cream is a weakness of mine. When I did low carb and didn’t worry about fat, one of my favorite treats was blender ice cream made with heavy whipping cream, frozen strawberries (you can also use frozen raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, but I don’t like the seeds), and a tad of agave if needed. That’s it! Add a little water if needed to loosen in the blender.
Shepherd’s Pie is one of my favorite childhood recipes. I refused to give it up so I developed a recipe that included all the textures of the traditional recipe, but cut the fat, carbs, and calories. This is one of my favorite healthier remakes. You can easily leave out the meat in this recipe and keep all else the same, and it will not change the results. So, go ahead. Remake my recipe tonight for Skinny Shepherd’s Pie. Not worried about fat, carbs, or calories? Do it your way! It will be delicious, but those of us who need to pay attention to our diets, I promise, you won’t miss a single thing!
Skinny Shepherd's Pie
- Yield: 9 (9 Servings)
- Ready In:
You will not believe this recipe! It has been completely overhauled to be a much healthier version than our childhood favorite, but the taste will still take you back to that Sunday supper with grandma! Because of the veggies in this recipe, your Shepherd's Pie will make it's own gravy! No worries, it's supposed to. Spoon it over your plated food and enjoy for up to 3 days! It's DELISH!
- 1 lb. ground turkey white meat
- 1 large head cauliflower core removed, and roughly chopped
- 2 medium fresh squash and/or zucchini diced (washed, not peeled)
- 2 cups mushrooms diced
- 1/2 lb. fresh green beans washed & cut into 2
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup veggie or beef stock
- 2 cups milk (can use any kind)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (pull leaves from sprigs)
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (any fat content)
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add chopped cauliflower while you work on the rest of the recipe. Cook cauliflower until soft or very tender...about 35 minutes.
While cauliflower is boiling, heat a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When pan is hot, add ground turkey. Add 1/2 tsp. red pepper flake and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until no longer pink. Remove to a bowl.
- In the same skillet (do not clean), add a little more olive oil if you need to, and add onions and mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender then remove to a bowl.
Do the same with your green beans. Remove to a bowl.
Repeat with zucchini, squash, and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until fork tender. Remove to a bowl.
- After all veggies have cooked and been put into bowls, add butter to skillet. When melted, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour onto butter and whisk to a paste. When paste has formed, whisk in stock.
Whisk until lumps are gone, then add milk to thicken. When mixture has thickened, add mushroom and onions to sauce (BTW, you now have homemade mushroom soup!). Salt and pepper to taste.
*You will see all the turkey, veggie bits and thyme leaves in your sauce! That's perfect and will be layered with flavor since you did all steps in one pan!
- Next, in your casserole dish, layer from bottom - squash, zucchini, turkey, then green beans. Next, pour mushroom sauce over all.
- Drain your cauliflower completely and put back into the dry pan. The heat will evaporate the remaining water from your cauliflower. When this happens, use a potato masher or mixer to smash cauliflower into a mashed potato consistency. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper, and add sharp cheddar cheese. Top casserole with cauliflower mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until cauliflower puree has browned! Enjoy! It will be even better the next day.
- Cuisine: American