Friday, March 16, 2012

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Mashed Potatoes

By: Jackie

Rain has finally come to the Bay Area! It has rained almost every day this week and it is the most rain we have seen all winter! When it is cold, wet, and gloomy outside, nothing is better than a warm comfort meal to heat up my body!

It may seem strange that I chose to make Shepherd’s Pie as my comfort meal, but I first became aware of Shepherd’s Pie from my (Chinese) family’s kitchen. I seriously had no idea it was a traditional Irish dish until we had a bite of our friend’s Shepherd’s Pie ordered in a local Irish pub. Nevertheless, I associate Shepherd’s Pie with my family’s kitchen, especially the way they prepare it, which is vastly different than the way I had it in the pub.

And with St. Patty’s Day just around the corner (tomorrow), I thought I’d post this recipe for those looking for a healthier, slightly spicy, and fiber-filled version to celebrate the holiday!

Double bonus: I also learned how to cook mashed potatoes - my second (successful) recipe from How to Boil Water!

Note: I halved both recipes to serve the two of us and the pictures on this post reflect the smaller portions.

Sweet Mashed Potatoes
Recipe from: How to Boil Water (p. 213)

The Goods:
1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
Black pepper, to taste

The Steps:
After scrubbing, boiling, draining, and cooling the potatoes, I peeled the skin off with a knife. The potato was super hot but this allowed the skin to come off real easy!

Then, I quartered the potatoes and put them back in the pan. I added melted butter to the pan and began mashing the potatoes with a fork. Even though the potatoes were soft, it was a lot of work to get all the lumps out! After a few minutes, I decided I wanted mashed potatoes with “a little texture.” (aka lumps) I stirred in the warm milk and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.


Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
Inspired by My Family’s Kitchen

The Basics:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6-8

The Goods:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped green jalapeno
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon no sodium ketchup
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped tomatoes (about two 3” tomatoes)
1/2 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Sweet mashed potatoes

The Steps:
1. Place oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, stirring for 10 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno; continue to cook ingredients for two minutes.
3. Raise heat to medium-high. Add turkey and brown, until all turkey is cooked, about five minutes.
4. Add ketchup and chili powder, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir for two minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer until liquid reduces, about 10 minutes. Add corn, black beans, kidney beans, and cilantro. Spoon into large casserole dish - at least 2.5 quarts.
5. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over meat/veggie mixture. Bake in heated oven until brown, about 30-40 minutes. Garnish with more cilantro before serving.


  1. This looks delicious! I love shepherds pie!!!

    1. Thanks, Sandy! Shepherd's Pie is such a comfort food!

  2. I like the sweet potato twist. Gonna have to try this! Thanks!

    1. Yes, adds another flavor dimension to the dish!

  3. Love it! This pie looks so light and flavorful. I love your take on it.

    1. It is a lighter version of the traditional dish packed with tons of flavor!

  4. Hmmm looks really delicious! I love sweet potatoes and I think I'd actually like that better than regular one. My mom boils potatoes with skin and peel with her finger when it's hot (she should use a knife like you recommended!). I'm too lazy so I usually peel first. I'm going to try this method next time!

    1. You should, Nami! The skin comes right off when the potato is still hot!

  5. O yum! Your plating looks delicious! I've never had shepherds pie but it always looks so good!

    Also, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award :) I love following your recipes! You can check out my blog for more details,

    1. Oh my gosh!! You are the best, Kristina!! Such a huge compliment since I love your sweet recipes!

  6. MMM this looks really good. I love mashed potatoes, and I love your creativity!

    1. I could have eaten those mashed potatoes on their own!

  7. i like your take on sheperds pie. You commented on my cheeseburger mash potato pie. same concept. i also like your red beans and rice.

  8. Hi Thanks for following my blog. How coincidental that I was just looking for a good mashed potato recipe. I'm definitely going to try this one.

    1. You should try it out! It was easier than expected!


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