Not-So Shepherd’s Pie

Whole30 compliant Not-So Shepherd’s Pie from the Whole Smiths. Great for leftovers and easy for any home cook to make!

Whole30 Not-So Shepherd's Pie from the Whole Smiths. A perfect recipe for leftovers and a total crowd pleaser! Paleo and gluten-free.

Hey, hey! Here I am, September 5th (Happy Birthday Dad!) 2017 updating this oldie but goodie post. In the original version I spoke about ground-beef being on sale at Whole Foods that week. Well guess what? As you may know, now that Amazon has purchased Whole Foods and promised lower prices, they’ve slashed permanently on so many items, like grass-fed ground beef. How cool is that?

And you guys. THIS is the perfect recipe to celebrate that. So onwards with my old post…

Yay! Ground beef is on sale at my local Whole Foods. I wanted to come up with something unique for them and not just throw out some version of a burger for ya. Although, had I done that I would have made sure it was one killer burger, because no one like a crappy burger. Anyways. I decided to give Shepherd’s Pie a go. I have to confess, I’ve never actually made a Shepherd’s Pie before and have never actually even eaten one before. I know, I know! What business do I have saying this is any good if I have nothing to compare it to right? Well, it tasted delicious AND I have a real Brit to vouch for it… Did you lose all faith in me with that?

Let it be know however, that I am keenly aware that this is technically a Cottage Pie since it’s made with ground beef and not lamb. Hence the “not-s0”. But most people don’t know that and will search for a Shepherd’s Pie instead.

I do however have a real-life Brit vouching for it. My husband was running late for work the day I was making this and didn’t have time to pack a proper lunch, so I promised when this was done I’d drive some over to him. He’s also currently training a colleague of his so I offered to bring some to him as well. And guess what?! He’s from England! Perfect, he would be my judge. I was a little nervous because this is NOT your traditional English version. In order to make it paleo I swapped out the corn and peas for mushrooms and asparagus and used ghee and coconut milk (you can use almond milk as well) to make the mashed potatoes. So fingers crossed. I texted my husband later in the night and the version was… It was delicious! Whew. I thought so too but I wanted to make sure it was close enough to the real thing. He also told my husband that his mother used to add all sorts of vegetables too so I felt better knowing I didn’t break some ancient Shepherd’s Pie code of conduct.

It’s an easy dish to make, I swear. It seems like a million steps but they’re all simple quick ones. Like sauté mushrooms, top with mashed potatoes. Presto!



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5 from 2 votes

not-so shepherd's pie

A paleo version on the traditional Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Paleo
Servings: 4 -6
Author: the whole smiths


  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/3 C. almond or coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. ghee or butter + addition to sauté with
  • 1 lb. mushrooms such as baby bellas sliced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2.5 Tbsp. arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
  • 1.5 C. beef broth
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish
  • 3 sprigs of thyme finely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • Add russet potatoes to large stock pot and fill with water until just covering the potatoes and bring to a boil
  • Once potatoes come to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until tender to a fork
  • Thoroughly drain potatoes and return to warm pot
  • Heat potatoes on low for 1-2 minutes to remove any additional moisture
  • Meanwhile heat almond or coconut milk with ghee or butter until melted
  • Add melted ghee / butter / milk mixture into potatoes and stir thoroughly until incorporated and salt to taste
  • Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add 1 tsp or ghee or butter
  • Once heated add sliced mushrooms and sauté until cooked and moisture has cooked off, salt to taste
  • Remove mushrooms from skillet and add asparagus pieces and thyme and sauté until lightly tender
  • Meanwhile in a large dutch oven add heat 1 Tbsp of ghee or butter on medium high
  • Add chopped carrots and onions until translucent
  • Add garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes
  • Push ingredients to side of dutch oven and add ground beef
  • Brown ground beef and cook thoroughly
  • Once browed, add arrowroot flour and combine
  • Add beef stock and stir all ingredients thoroughly
  • Add tomato paste and horseradish and incorporate
  • Cook on medium until sauce thickens about 10 minutes and add asparagus in
  • In a separate baking dish add beef and vegetable mixture
  • Layer mushrooms on top
  • Spoon mashed potatoes over top and spread evenly and all along the edges
  • Bake for 20 minutes
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Recipe Rating


  1. This sounds yummy. However, Step 18 mentions horseradish, but it is not listed in the ingredients. How much should we use?

  2. The recipe calls for Thyme but in the directions you don’t say where to use it… I made it tonight for dinner and it was so good but I omitted the Thyme because I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

    1. Sorry about that!! I corrected it. And sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment, finally figuring out some things on the backend! Thanks for hanging in there with me!! xo

  3. Just to be cheeky, I thought I’d (in a very loving and nonjudgmental way) tell you that a proper Brit would technically call this ‘cottage pie’ as it is made with beef and not lamb. (Insert a ‘pip pip’and a ‘cheerio’ here)
    Sorry — I think I channeled me mum.

    1. Haha! No worries! That’s exactly why I called it “Not-So” Shepherd’s Pie. Most Americans are familiar with the term Shepherd’s Pie rather than Cottage Pie so I figured I’d go with that. I also swapped out the peas for asparagus so it’s not exactly traditional. 😉

      1. The not so shepherds pie is very labor intensive! Hope the rest of your recipes are a lot less time consuming and not using so many different pans. PHEW.! Been working on this one for an hour and just now cooking burger!!!

  4. Hi Michelle!

    Can I freeze this before the final bake and cook it at a later time? I’m expecting twins in December and I’m trying to compile easy things I can make now, freeze, and cook when I no longer even have time to breathe. How would you do that? Any other recipe suggestions that would help me?! Love your Instagram stories! Your family is so sweet and funny.