Skillet Shepherds Pie


skillet shepherds pie

Skillet Shepherds Pie

I had a request from someone looking for healthy dishes with ‘hidden vegetables’. This shepherds pie fits the bill. We’re pureeing our veg in the food processor so they fit ‘incognito’ into a meaty looking shepherds pie.

enough for: 2
takes: 40 minutes
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
1 onion
1 carrot
1 zucchini
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
2 large hunks butter

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until very tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a skillet (frying pan) and brown the beef well for about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, puree the onion, carrot and zucchini in your food processor. Or grate using a box grater.

4. Add the veg puree to the beef and continue to cook for another few minutes.

5. Add tomatoes and break them up. Continue to simmer the sauce until the potatoes are tender. Add half the butter to the meat. Taste & season.

6. Preheat your overhead grill (broiler).

7. Remove meat from the heat and smooth the surface. Mash the potatoes in a ricer over the top of the meat.

8. Dot with the remaining butter and place under the grill for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve.

Prepare Ahead?

Absolutely! Make ahead and then just reheat in the oven for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Leftover Potential

Will keep for over a week in the fridge.


real shepherds pie – use lamb mince (ground lamb) instead of the beef.

vegetarian – replace the beef with cooked lentils or crumbled firm tofu – about 300g (10oz) should do it – and double the veg.

– replace the beef with tofu as per the vegetarian option and replace the butter with olive oil.

less stealthy – chop the veg instead of using the food processor.

paleo (grain, legume & dairy-free) – use olive oil for butter and cauliflower for potatoes.

short on time -replace the potatoes with 450g (1lb) ricotta – no need to boil it.

carb lovers / more substantial – serve with crusty bread & butter or garlic bread.

more veg – serve with a green salad.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

potatoes / can tomatoes – store in the pantry.

minced (ground) beef – freeze it.

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

– keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks. can be frozen if you’re leaving town!

zucchini – will keep for 2 weeks or longer in a plastic bag in the fridge. To keep it even longer, cook sliced zucchini in a little butter until just soft then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

butter – keeps in the fridge for months.

Problem Solving Guide

watery – if the meat sauce hasn’t reduced enough, you’ll end up with a sloppy, watery pie. Next time cook for longer before topping with the mash.

no potato ricer? – if you like mash, I highly recommend investing in a potato ricer because it saves having to peel the spuds. But you could always peel the spuds before boiling them and mash using your preferred mashing implement. Then spread over the top of the pie as per the recipe.

not browning
– depending on how hot your grill /broiler is, you may need to cook for longer. Adding more butter or a drizzle of olive oil will help speed up the cooking process.

bland / tastes too healthy
– add in a few tablespoons of tomato paste to boost the tomatoey flavour and disguise the veg. And don’t forget to season.

short on time?
– instead of the spuds, try using a couple of cans of white beans. Drain and mash in a bowl before spreading over the pie in place of the mash.

Serving Suggestions

With the hidden veg it’s a meal on it’s own. Although I prefer it with a green salad on the side.

back to: The 5 Habits of Healthy Cooks Overview page.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellie Armsby November 12, 2016

made this last week with lentils. It was very delicious! I admit I cheated and added some beef stock base to the dish to give it more flavor.


jules November 16, 2016

Nice one Ellie! xx


Donna Schwartz March 6, 2015

Although we eat meat occasionally, I really appreciate the vegetarian options. I am eager to try this with black beans or lentils. It looks delicious!


jules March 12, 2015

I just cooked up a big batch of black beans Donna and was thinking about how I’m going to use them all… am sure Fergal and my Irishman would love a bean version of this shepherds pie. Thanks for giving me the idea 🙂


Julia March 5, 2015

What a great idea! I am making this tonight for Friday night, end of the week, ahhhhh, comfort night! I hadn’t thought of doing shepherd’s pie in a frypan before, mine has heat proof handles so I can bung the whole lot under the griller at the end. Thanks, yum, quick, easy & less washing up. Bonus!


jules March 12, 2015

Yay Julia!
We love some comfort food on a friday night around here too 🙂


Leave a Comment