SCD Recipe: Jazzed Up Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping

This is not the first Shepherd’s Pie recipe I’ve shared, but sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit. This “jazzed up” version has a couple ingredients not usually found in Shepherd’s Pie – bacon and peppers. I also changed up the fresh herbs.

Using fresh herbs and slow cooking make all the difference in a hearty recipe like this. It takes some time, but it’s perfect for a cold fall day and it’s definitely worth the wait.

Shepherd’s Pie with Sauteed Green Beans

Full disclosure, I use prepared tomato paste, which is not listed as SCD legal. However, since Breaking the Vicious Cycle was written, a lot of things have changed in the food industry, particularly the demand for truth in food labeling and the desire for food with no additives. There are plenty of organic tomato pastes on the market that are just tomatoes. I’ve seen them in glass jars and tubes. However, if you don’t feel comfortable using prepared tomato paste, reduce the stock by one cup and add a cup of tomato juice.


Jazzed Up Shepherd’s Pie

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1.5 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 slices uncured bacon chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste see notes for substitution
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 cup green, red, yellow peppers chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 1 bundle fresh rosemary
  • 1 bundle fresh sage

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (or two packages) – chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee melted – or sub butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated – optional


Filling Preparation

  1. Add bacon to large pot – (I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven)
  2. Cook bacon until crispy and remove to plate with paper towel
  3. Remove all but about 1 tbsp of the bacon fat
  4. Add ground beef to pot
  5. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned
  6. Remove meat from pan and set aside
  7. Add olive oil
  8. Add carrots, celery, peppers and onion
  9. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until vegetables are softened
  10. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes
  11. Add tomato paste (or tomato juice) and combine with vegetables
  12. Add ground beef, bacon, salt, pepper, and chicken stock
  13. Stir to combine
  14. Toss in fresh herb bundles
  15. Partially cover pot and reduce heat to simmer (will vary depending on what kind of pot you are using)
  16. Simmer for one hour – keep an eye on the liquid, if it reduces too much add a little more stock or water. Consistency should be stew-like
  17. Remove from heat
  18. Remove fresh herb bundles
  19. Add to baking dish – you can use two smaller dishes or a large dish

Topping Preparation

  1. Boil chopped cauliflower for 8 – 10 minutes until soft, but not falling apart
  2. Drain in colander and allow to cool
  3. Place cauliflower in clean dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can (it’s okay to crush the cauliflower in this step) – you might have to do this in batches
  4. Place cauliflower in large mixing bowl
  5. Add ghee, garlic, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup chicken stock
  6. Combine well with electric mixer – this will probably not make it mashed potato consistency yet
  7. I used a hand blender to get the cauliflower the consistency of mashed potatoes. This worked perfectly. If you don’t have a hand blender (immersion blender) you can try a regular blender – you may have to add a little more liquid to get it to blend, just don’t do too much or you will water them back down
  8. Stir in cheese if using

Final Assembly

  1. Spread cauliflower over meat mixture
  2. At this point you can cover the dish(es) and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them
  3. If serving right away and everything is still pretty hot, add a little cheese (optional) to the top and put it under the broiler – on the middle rack and cook until cauliflower browns and cheese is melted
  4. If heating up later – heat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until hot
  6. Broil as instructed above

Recipe Notes

Notes on using tomato juice instead of tomato pate:

  • Reduce stock to 1 cup if using tomato juice instead of tomato paste
  • Substitute 1 cup tomato juice for the tomato paste


Sherry Lipp
Latest posts by Sherry Lipp (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.