Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

There are lots of ways to eat healthy. You can eat boiled chicken and broccoli, or you can get creative and make some of your favorite dishes with better ingredients.

I took Shepherd’s Pie and gave it a twist: sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Now, white potatoes aren’t inherently bad for you, but sweet potatoes are a much better choice. (Read why here.) So, I sauteed up some veggies and ground beef, seasoned it up, and topped it with a savory batch of mashed sweet potatoes. The result was phenomenal. It had elements of my favorite comfort food, but without the cream of crap soups, crackers and mounds of butter and cream from dishes of my childhood.

If you’re looking to gain, be sure to add the optional cream, butter and cheese to the potatoes. If you’re looking to lean out, omit or substitute with chicken, beef or vegetable broth. Feel free to sub the ground beef for lamb, turkey, chicken, or pork. Even venison. Whatever floats your boat, really.

This recipe might seem intimidating with a lot of steps, but it is honestly pretty easy, and half of the cooking time is hands-off. Give it a try — you won’t be disappointed!

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (finely diced)
  • 2 stalks celery (finely diced)
  • 1.5lb ground beef, lamb, pork, etc,
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch clove (optional)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Directions

Step 1
In a medium pot, add your diced, peeled sweet potatoes and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, turn your heat to low, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are easily mashed with the back of a spoon.
Step 2
In a large skillet, add olive oil and onions and sweat over medium-low heat for a minute. Add garlic and cook another two minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Step 3
Add the carrots and celery and sweat for a few more minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Saute until beef is cooked through. Add peas, Worcestershire sauce, spices, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for another minute or two to meld the flavors.
Step 4
In the meantime, drain the sweet potatoes, and mash. You can add cream, butter and cheese, or just use a bit of the cooking liquid or broth to thin. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season. (Optional: Add another dash of Worcestershire sauce.)
Step 5
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a casserole dish or pie pan, add your beef mixture. Top with sweet potatoes, making sure to spread them evenly and to the edge of the pan to seal the beef mixture below. If desired, dot the top with a little butter.
Step 6
Bake for 15-20 minutes. To brown the top, place on a high rack in the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn.

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