Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

Shepherd’s pie is not just a budget-friendly meal; it’s also warm, deeply comforting, and utterly delicious! This recipe puts a few twists on the modern classic, while keeping everything Paleo-friendly!

The switchouts: sweet potatoes for white potatoes, coconut aminos and several spices for Worcestershire sauce, and a veggie medley that doesn’t contain peas (legume) or corn (grain). Other than that, it’s made in pretty much the same fashion as the traditional version. And it’s super delish!

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

My mom used to make regular ol’ shepherd’s pie for our family all the time when we were growing up, and it was wonderful. I always looked forward to those nights, I guess because it’s such a “homey” dish that made me feel so full and just…. ahhhhhh. You know?!

I particularly like this version of shepherd’s pie because of the sweet potatoes. I actually prefer them to any other kind of potato, both before and after going Paleo. In fact, it’s quite possible that I may have a slight obsession with sweet potatoes. And if you love these orange-fleshed beauties, too, then you don’t want to miss my recipes for sweet potato fries and a sweet-n-savory breakfast scramble!

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

The basic method behind this recipe is exactly that: basic. You just make your mash, prepare the filling, and then put it all together so it can be baked to a golden luster! Indeed, it’s the sheer simplicity that makes meals like this stand the test of time (in this case, nearly 225 years)!

Pretty much any one can make this dish with relative ease, as it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or techniques. The only thing you WILL need is an hour to cook, since there are several components that go into making a proper shepherd’s pie.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

Once you’ve got the filling and the mash made, you’re nearly in the clear! You don’t have to get crazy with the top layer, although when I’m done assembling everything, I like to use a fork to lightly scrape the the mash because it creates more surface area for browning while in the oven. Plus, it creates a nice, rustic look! :)

I’ll be sending lots of warm fuzzies your way as you make this recipe!

Share your thoughts… what was your favorite comfort food as a kid?

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

4.9 from 15 reviews
Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: (1) 8x8" casserole dish
For the sweet potato mash:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (approx. 1 ½ lb), peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
For the filling:
  • 1½ lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (+ ½ tsp for greasing)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped/sliced
  • 8 baby carrots, sliced (about 1 medium carrot)
  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
  • 2 shakes of ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Ground paprika (for garnish only)
Prepare the sweet potatoes:
  1. Put the sweet potato chunks into a medium pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. The potatoes are done when one of the larger chunks can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Drain the water, and put potatoes back into the dry pot (no heat). Add grass-fed butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mash the potatoes with a masher, and stir everything together thoroughly (or, mix with a hand mixer if you like a really smooth mash). Cover pot with a lid and set aside.
Prepare the filling:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8x8” (or similar sized) glass casserole dish with ½ tsp olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Drain the fat, and transfer beef to a large bowl and set aside (or leave in a colander in the sink).
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in the large skillet you just used for the beef. Add the onions, and saute for 3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  4. Add the celery, carrots, and cauliflower florets to the skillet. Stir, then cover with a lid and allow to saute/steam for 6 minutes. Remove lid, add the garlic, and saute for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring periodically.
  5. Add everything else (except paprika) to the skillet: cooked ground beef, beef broth, tomato paste, coconut aminos, rosemary, cinnamon, sea salt, and pepper. Stir everything thoroughly and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until most (but not all) of the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated.
Put it all together:
  1. Scoop the beef mixture into the casserole dish so that it covers the whole bottom. Layer the sweet potatoes on top of the beef mixture, using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to help spread it out evenly. Lightly scrape the top of the potatoes with a fork, and lightly sprinkle with paprika.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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41 Comments on Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

  1. I disliked shepherd’s pie back in my college days — they collected leftovers, marginal ground beef, and marginal white potatoes to top it with, and served it up for Sunday Supper. We had another name for it, which I won’t write here, but which fully expressed our attitude. THIS rendition looks awesome (and as is your photography). I’m putting this on the Short List of things I Need to Make SOONEST. Thanks.

  2. I just found this recipe via Pinterest. I changed it up a bit–I’m a vegetarian but not paleo–and it looks and smells SO good. It’s in the oven now. I can’t wait to eat dinner! :) Thanks for sharing!

    For those who are wondering, I subbed lentils and peas for the meat and veggie broth for the beef broth. :)

  3. Danielle, I’m so glad you were able to adapt this recipe to your needs. And I’m SO happy that you liked it because I, too, think it’s deeeeelicious! :) Thanks for sharing the vegetarian subs you used, always very useful to know.

  4. I am not a huge califlower fan (so I would be buying it for this recipe) do you think I could substitute broccoli? I am new to this Paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle (W30 day 4) and am so thankful for all your recipes!


  5. I just couldn’t resist trying this recipe once I discovered it on here… We made it a few nights ago & it was absolutely DELICIOUS! I actually caught my husband just about licking his plate clean… haha! Thanks so much for such a wonderful recipe… it is most definitely going to become a staple at our house.

  6. This was my favorite thing I ate on my entire whole 30! I have only 4 days left and I am making it again! I am making two so I can take one to my sister-in-law who just had her baby. Thanks for this amazing recipe. BTW, I didn’t have the coconut aminos and it still tasted amazing. Perfect fall comfort food!

  7. I’ve been craving Shepherds Pie and just made this tonight. Boy did it hit the spot! It’s the perfect meal for a chilly Sunday evening. Thanks for the great recipe! I’ll definitely be making it again and again.

  8. I made this for whole30, and with recipes like this, whole30 has been a breeze! Delicious! The man was happy, too. This is a keeper. Thank you!

    • Sorry for the delay, didn’t see your comment until just now! This serves about 4 really hungry people, maybe 5 or 6 if the servings are smaller. :) As far as a side dish, it has so many veggies along with the meat, I see no reason for a side dish. At least, my financee and I usually eat this as a stand-alone meal. It’s quite filling!

  9. This is by far my favorite paleo shepherds pie recipe. The prep time/ cook time Is deceiving though. When I read “cook time” I think that is when I am done and time for it to do its own thing in the oven. Not the case here. Still worth it if I prep enough.

    • In no way did I intend to be deceiving on the cook times, so sorry! I have adjusted the prep time to include everything if it were to be prepped separately (although I usually prepare the filling and potatoes simultaneously, so the prep time is typically less than 25 mins). Also, the cook time now reflects the 5 minutes of final assembly, plus 20 minutes in the oven. :) Hope that helps!

  10. I’m not following Paleo, but was searching for a casserole with Sweet Potatoes, and stumbled on this. Yum, absolute keeper, Whole family loved it. I didn’t have cauliflower, so I just skipped it, and I put in a dash of soy sauce since I didn’t have coconut amino’s. We love Shepherds Pie, but this tops it!

  11. I’m going to add some coconut cream (the thick part from the coconut milk) to the meat mixture, to thicken it up like a gravy. Sounds like a good recipe! Thank you!

    • Making this tonight, I’m wondering how it came out with the coconut cream that you added? I’ve never made this but it seems to be a bit saucy from the pictures and would love to have it as a gravy if possible. I would love to know!

  12. Just wanted to say that I made a variation of this and it worked out really well! I used ground turkey, celary, carrots and onions because I did not have cauliflower. I didn’t have broth so that didnt happen, and I used Braggs in place of coconut aminos and olive oil in place of ghee. Super tasty!! (and quick)

  13. Made this for my husband and myself (used fresh tomatoes in the skillet instead of the paste, because I didn’t have paste, and dried rosemary instead of fresh) and it was delicious! Thank you!

  14. I came across this recipe looking for something I could easily tweak to be vegan, low sodium and low fat, yet a satisfying winter meal, plus I have always loved sweet potato on shepherds pie. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. I subbed TVP and lentils for the ground beef, and low-sodium vegetable stock for the beef stock. All the veggies were sautéed in vegetable stock instead of oil. I didn’t have any cauliflower so I added mushrooms and peas, and a can of chopped tomatoes. I omitted the butter in the mash and added a touch of soy milk instead and threw in some nutritional yeast, onion powder and garlic powder. Very tasty !!! Thanks for a great recipe.

  15. My husband found this recipe since I needed to use the sweet potatoes that have been sitting in my fridge. While I was putting it together I kept tasting it because it was so delicious. It’s in the pennies and can’t wait to eat it! I added thyme and it is wonderful! I didn’t have the coconut amino but its ok because it tastes great! Thank you so much for sharing, I will definitely be making this again!

  16. I made this recipe last night for my family. It was a hit, even with my picky 5 year old! I made a slight alteration to the recipe – I used broccoli instead of cauliflower because that’s what I had, and once I had laid out the beef mixture in the casserole dish, I thought it could use some more greens so I added a layer of chopped up kale (1 bunch) before spreading on the yams. It was delish!

  17. This recipe is perfect. I had loads of roast chicken and ham to use up but when I searched for chicken & ham pies I got the pastry versions, so I decided to search for shepherd’s pie and alter it to fit my available ingredients. I substituted the beef for chicken and ham, the beef stock for chicken stock and the cauliflower for broccoli, the rest of the ingredients I kept exactly as is. It turned out lovely and I have lots of leftovers for this weeks’ lunches. Thanks for creating and posting it!

  18. Holy crap woman! I the only substitution I made was that I used Broccoli instead of Cauliflower (because I prefer the taste).

    It was absolutely Delicious. The simmer time at the end took a while to thicken and evaporate, but my oh my it was worth it! I also almost doubled the amount of ghee because the mash was a little dry.

    5 star recipe! Brought leftovers to work and coworkers loved it!

    Thank you! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  19. Ok this recipe looks awesome!! Only thing is my husband HATES rosemary (bummer for me) any suggestions for subs for the rosemary? Would love to try but not sure if worth it without the rosemary.

  20. This came out really delicious! Husband and kids (8 and 11) and I LOVED it. I used ground turkey rather than beef, and peas rather than cauliflower which I didn’t have. Husband came back for 4ths. Note: it takes longer than the recipe states. I’m no slouch in the kitchen – and I did cook the potatoes while cooking the meat – and it took 1 hour and 20 minutes, including the 20 minutes baking plus 10 minutes resting time. It’s worth the wait! It would be faster with a food processor to do the chopping.

  21. This was amazing. My husband and I loved it. The cinnamon really gave it a great taste. I left out the tomatoe paste but chopped up a tomatoe and added that. I was looking forward to leftovers but it is all gone. I will be making this again. Thank you.

  22. Holy Heck! That was delish! Thank you for such a great recipe! I love cauliflower, but forgot to add it to my shopping list, so I added fresh green beans. Loved the cinnamon in it! Adding this meal to my list of favorite dinners and putting a link to it in my blog post tomorrow.

  23. I made this recipe for sunday dinner for my family and it was a hit. I follow AIP so I did not add the butter to the sweet potato and the tomato to the sauce and it was so good. There was so much flavour to the meat. My children are not used to eating sweet potato and turned their noses up quickly when they saw I had changed my usual recipe to include sweet potato on top but they tried it and liked it. Even my husband wasn’t sure of the sweet potato on top and he took the leftovers to work today for lunch. So this recipe is a keeper and I even think I will serve it to guest in the future. thank you for a great recipe.

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