Shepherd’s Pie

My mom used to make shepherd’s pie all the time when we were growing up. She made it with just meat and potatoes (some of us were picky eaters growing up…), but I’ve jazzed this version up with veggies, spices, and a parsnip-potato topping.

Shepherd’s pie is really easy to change up. Make a Thanksgiving version with ground turkey and a sweet potato or squash topping. Make a Tex-Mex version with ground beef, green peppers, corn, and taco sauce. You get the idea :).

Shepherd’s Pie


2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 lb ground meat (I used 1/2 turkey 1/2 beef)
1/2 can drained sweet peas
1 14 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup

smoked paprika


  1. Place potatoes and parsnips in a pot of boiling salted water. Cook until fork tender, 12-15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat oil in a large skillet over a medium flame.
  3. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add meat and cook 3-4 minutes until browned. Add peas, tomatoes, and ketchup, stirring to combine. Spoon into the bottom of a 3 quart baking dish.
  4. Drain potatoes and parsnips, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Mash potatoes and parsnips with olive oil and cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into baking dish, smoothing over meat mixture. Top with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until topping is browned.


  • I find that canned tomatoes are very salty unless you can find a no salt added version of fire-roasted tomatoes (I haven’t been able to), so I don’t find that I need any additional salt in this recipe. However, you might feel differently so add salt to taste.
  • You could easily make an abbreviated version of this dish with ground meat, a can of a sloppy joe sauce, and mashed potatoes. But it’s worth the extra work, I promise 🙂

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