I have another comfort food makeover for you today. Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie! It’s loaded with flavor, rich gravy, lean grass-fed ground beef and a bit of melted gooey cheese on top to make it unbelievably irresistible! The best part is, that you get all that traditional cottage pie flavor, but it’s only 390 calories per serving!

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

Why We Love This Recipe For Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

I think we can all agree (assuming since you’re here) that we all love a good shepherd’s pie. However, when we think of shepherd’s pie we often think of super buttery and creamy mashed potatoes layered over top equally buttery and fatty ground beef in gravy (or ground lamb- the traditional meat in British versions of this dish.)

Although delicious, it’s maybe not the most heart-healthy meal. So, cue this healthy shepherd’s pie recipe that’s equally as creamy without the excess fat and calories. It’s full of healthy veggies, 93% lean grass-fed ground beef, and silky mashed potatoes.

This recipe is the perfect chilly evenings when you want to have somthing hearty tasting. It’s warm, cozy and filling, while also healthy, gluten-free and lower calorie. The whole meal only requires 35 minutes of prep time, and is finished within an hour, which means it’s totally cookable on a weeknight!

More Healthy Shepherd’s Pie Recipes

Healthy Shepherd's Pie in a skillet with a serving spoon

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

Potatoes

When making mashed potatoes, look for potatoes that have higher starch content, such as Russet or Yukon Gold. These potatoes will help make your mashed potatoes super fluffy, buttery and creamy. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always swap out half of the potatoes for sweet potatoes.

Lean ground beef

Choosing high-quality meat is important for both the flavor of your dish and your health. Aim to find 93% lean grass-fed ground beef for the best result, although anything equal to or above 90% is great. 93% beef has less fat and less calories than even 80% lean beef. If you don’t like eating red meat, substitute with ground turkey.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk adds an extra tang to the mashed potatoes. If you don’t have buttermilk you can easily make it at home! Simply mix together 1/3 cup of milk with 1/3 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and use as directed. The ratio in reference is 1 cup to 1 teaspoon.

Vegetables

We bulked up the serving size by adding in onion, carrot and celery. While celery is not traditional, we liked the low-calorie volume and traditional Mire Poix flavor it adds to the meat and gravy. We opted for frozen corn for our pie today. Some versions of Shepherd’s Pie include green beans, but we love the simple ease of just opening a bag of frozen corn.

Swiss Cheese

While not traditional, we loved the addition of cheese on top of the mashed potatoes. You’ll only need 4 ounces to do the trick. And Swiss cheese is lower in fat and sodium than many cheeses, so it is not as indulgent as you may think on first glance.

Seasonings

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or Tamari
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

Step by Step Instructions to Make This Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Step 1: Make mashed potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 13 to 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return them to the saucepan. Add buttermilk, butter, pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm until step 4.

Step 2: Start beef filling

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are just starting to soften and brown slightly, about 7 minutes.

Step 3: Finish beef filling

Add paprika and thyme and stir to coat. Add red wine and tomato paste and bring to a simmer, stirring until the tomato paste is incorporated into the mixture and the wine is almost evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Stir the remaining ½ cup broth with Worcestershire sauce or tamari and cornstarch and then stir into the simmering beef mixture. Cook, stirring until the sauce is thickened and reduced slightly, about 3 to 6 minutes. Stir in corn and remove from the heat.

Step 4: Assemble & bake

Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture, top with Swiss cheese and sprinkle with additional paprika, if desired. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the beef and sauce are bubbling along the edges, 15 minutes.

Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to make Shepherd’s pie ahead of time:

Shepherd’s pie is great to make ahead of time. Fully assemble the pie but don’t cook. Cover it with plastic wrap and tin foil, then freeze for 1 to 2 months. If only making the dish one day ahead, you can wrap and store in the fridge overnight.

How to reheat frozen Shepherd’s pie:

There’s no need to let the dish thaw before baking. You can easily bake the pie from frozen by baking at 350 degrees F for 60 to 90 minutes. If the pie is thawed, bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

How to store leftover Shepherd’s pie:

If you end up with leftovers, store the Shepherd’s pie in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. Reheat in the oven in an ovenproof dish at 350 degrees F for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on amount) or in the microwave.

Additional Recipes to Try  

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Healthy Skillet Shepherd's Pie | Comfort Food Make Over | Gluten Free | Main Course | Dinner | Winter | Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster

Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie


  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

This Healthy Skillet Shepherd’s Pie is a comfort food make over with only 390 calories per serving and it’s gluten-free. It’s loaded with flavor, rich gravy, lean grass-fed beef and a bit of melted gooey cheese on top to make it unbelievably irresistible dinner!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ½ pounds thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, preferably 93% lean grass fed
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese, about 1 cup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender and a knife or fork can easily slip in and out when they are probed, 13 to 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan. Add buttermilk, butter, pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned, and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are just starting to soften and brown slightly, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add paprika and thyme and stir to coat. Add red wine and tomato paste and bring to a simmer stirring until the tomato paste is incorporated into the mixture and the wine is almost evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  5. Stir the remaining ½ cup broth with Worcestershire sauce or tamari and cornstarch and then stir into the simmering beef mixture. Cook, stirring until the sauce is thickened and reduced slightly, about 3 to 6 minutes. Stir in corn and remove from the heat.
  6. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture, top with Swiss cheese and sprinkle with additional paprika if desired. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the beef and sauce are bubbling along the edges, 15 minutes.

Notes

Make Ahead:

Shepherd’s pie is great to make ahead of time. Fully assemble the pie but don’t cook. Cover it with plastic wrap and tin foil, then freeze for 1 to 2 months. If only making the dish one day ahead, you can wrap and store in the fridge overnight.

  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top/Oven
  • Cuisine: English

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th casserole
  • Calories: 390
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 610 mg
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 23 g

Keywords: Shepherd’s Pie,Skillet Shepherd’s Pie,Cottage Pie, Healthy Shepherd’s Pie