Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

sweet-potato-shepherd’s-pie

Hearty, healthy, comfort food at its finest. Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping is a family-pleasing, meal prep friendly and incredibly tasty weeknight dinner. It’s complete with ground beef (or lamb), sneaky veggies, dried herbs, a touch of chili powder, and topped with a smooth layer of creamy, mashed sweet potatoes.

Photo of Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping on a white plate.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is a recipe you’ll make again and again!

You really can’t beat a dish made of hearty, wholesome, comfort foods! This Shepherd’s Pie has it all. It’s incredibly flavorful, made with real food ingredients and it’s freezer-friendly, too. Because it freezes well, we recommend doubling the recipe and freeze half of it for a future meal. Having a freezer full of already prepared meals makes for easy weeknight dinners. Feel free to substitute the ground beef for ground lamb and regular potatoes for the sweet potatoes to make this a more traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe. We chose to use ground beef in place of lamb because ground beef is more accessible and budget-friendly yet still creates a delicious, family-friendly meal.

Photo of Shepherd's Pie filling in a cast iron dish.

A delicious, wholesome dinner that works for every diet:

We’re all about making dishes that work for the whole family.

Made with wholesome, simple ingredients, this recipe is naturally:

  • Whole30
  • Dairy-Free
  • Egg-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Grain-Free
  • Nut-Free
  • Paleo

You also can make it vegetarian and vegan by substituting lentils for the ground beef!

Ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie

One of our favorite things about Shepherd’s Pie is how versatile it is. Tweak the ingredients to match what you have on hand — we promise, it will still be delicious!

  • Ground Beef – may sub ground lamb, bison, turkey or lentils.
  • Carrots
  • Green Pepper
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms – may omit, or sub another veggie of your choice, such as chopped zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Seasonings – we used chili powder and rosemary, but use what you have on hand.
  • Tomato Paste
  • Sweet Potatoes – may sub regular potatoes. If you use white potatoes, be sure to mash the potatoes by hand (rather than in a food process or blender) to maintain their texture.
  • Cooking fat of choice

Photo of Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping in a cast iron.

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How to make Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

*We recommend a 10-inch cast iron skillet so that you can cook everything in the skillet, top it with the mashed sweet potatoes and bake it right in the cast iron.

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, chopped carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms and minced garlic.
  3. Cook on medium heat until carrots are soft, about 12-15 minutes. Begin making the topping while the meat filling cooks.
  4. Once the carrots are soft, stir in tomato paste, water, seasonings, salt and pepper.
  5. For the topping: Steam or bake (at 375℉) the sweet potatoes until fork tender. You can find are directions for Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes here.
  6.  Then add all of the topping ingredients to a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. NOTE: If using white potatoes, we recommend mashing them by hand rather than blending to prevent them from getting pasty.
  7. Final step: Top the meat filling with the sweet potato mash. If you’re not using a oven-safe 10-inch cast iron skillet, transfer the meat filling to a casserole dish or 9×9 inch baking dish and top the meat filling with the sweet potato mash. Dash with sea salt and chili powder.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Photo of Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping in a cast iron.

Meal Prep: How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie

We’re all about freezer-friendly recipes. Cooking once, eating twice (or more) is the BEST! This dish freezes nicely, so you can go ahead and double the recipe making two 9×9 dishes and freezing one of them for a future meal.

Freezing Instructions:

  1. Prepare recipe as instructed, stopping before the final bake in the oven.
  2. Let container cool on the counter to room temperature, then wrap tightly in foil and place in your freezer. This will last in the freezer ~2 months.
  3. You can even take it a step further by portioning out servings into individual containers. Having a freezer full of already prepared meals makes for easy weeknight dinners, or awesome meal prep lunches.

Reheating Instructions:

You have two options for reheating (depending on how far head you plan your meals):

  1. Thaw in Refrigerator. Remove from freezer and place in fridge the day before you plan to serve it. Simply reheat in the oven set at 375℉ for about 20-30 minutes or until center is hot (~165℉).
  2. Reheat Directly From Frozen. You can reheat from frozen, it will however take a little longer. If reheating from frozen, cover with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until center is hot (~165℉). We recommend checking it around the 60 minute mark.

Photo of Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping in a cast iron with a wooden serving spoon.

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Serve it with a fresh mixed green salad or steamed green beans for a veg-heavy meal.

We like to round this meal out with a serving of extra veggies. Simply steam up some green beans or whip up a mixed green salad. If you’re looking for a homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered – try our Paleo Ranch or Citrus Vinaigrette with Thyme.

Photo of a serving of Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping on a white plate.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

  • High in Vitamin B6 which reduces homocysteine in the blood reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C which enhances immunity, produces collagen for healthy skin & bones and promotes healthy digestion.
  • A good source of Vitamin D, which is important for energy and mood as well as bone and skin health.
  • The rich orange color indicates that sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids like beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A which promotes eye health and enhances immunity.
  • Rich in anti-aging antioxidants (carotenoids). 

Other healthy comfort-food recipes to try:

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping

A hearty and satisfying meal for the entire family to enjoy. This dish freezes well, so you can go ahead and double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal. Having a freezer full of already prepared meals makes for easy weeknight dinners. Feel free to substitute regular potatoes for the sweet potatoes if you wish.

  • Author: The Real Food Dietitians
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Entree – Paleo – Whole 30

Ingredients

Pie Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or dried herb of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water

Sweet Potato Topping:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 12 ounces each), peeled and cubed (~6 cups cubed)
  • 1 tablespoons butter (may substitute ghee or coconut oil for Whole30)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Instructions

*We recommend a 10-inch cast iron skillet so that you can cook everything in the skillet, top it with the mashed sweet potatoes and bake it right in the cast iron.

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, chopped carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms and minced garlic.
  3. Cook on medium heat until carrots are soft, about 12-15 minutes. Begin making the topping while the meat filling cooks.
  4. Once the carrots are soft, stir in tomato paste, water, seasonings, salt and pepper.
  5. For the topping: Steam or bake (at 375℉) the sweet potatoes until fork tender. Then add all of the topping ingredients to a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. NOTE: If using white potatoes, we recommend mashing them by hand rather than blending to prevent them from getting pasty.
  6. Final step: Top the meat filling with the sweet potato mash. If you’re not using a oven-safe 10-inch cast iron skillet, transfer the meat filling to a casserole dish or 9×9 inch baking dish and top the meat filling with the sweet potato mash. Dash with sea salt and chili powder.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Notes

To reheat if frozen: Remove from freezer and place in fridge the day before you plan to serve it. Simply reheat in the oven set at 375℉ for about 20-30 minutes or until center is hot (~165℉). You can reheat from frozen, it will however take a little longer. If reheating from frozen, cover with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until center is hot (~165℉).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 395
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Sodium: 350 mg
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 26 g

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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter

This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Stacie Hassing

Stacie is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from rural southern Minnesota where she, her husband and daughter reside with their two pups. She’s a co-founder of The Real Food RDs and content creator of simple and wholesome recipes. She loves all kinds of fitness and has a passion to inspire as many as she can live a healthier and happier life both in and out of the kitchen – the driving force behind the co-development of the The Real Food RDs brand.

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