I always keep sweet potatoes in my pantry, as this superstar vegetable is so nutritious and versatile. If you’re a sweet potato lover like me, you’ll definitely want to try my other sweet potato recipes. Some of my favorites are Sweet Potato Spiral Noodles, Sweet Potato Soup, and Quinoa Sweet Potato Bowl.
Why is This Recipe Awesome
Comfort foods aren’t always nutritious, and nutritious foods aren’t always comforting, but this sweet potato shepherd’s pie is the best of both worlds. It’s hearty, filling, and packed with nourishing ingredients so you can indulge guilt-free. Here are some other reasons to get this easy recipe on the table:
- Special diet safe: This recipe accommodates so many special diets, as it’s Whole30 approved, low-carb, low-fat, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free and paleo friendly.
- Freezer friendly: Shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash stores and freezes well, making it perfect for meal prep.
- Ready in a jiffy: This recipe will be your new favorite addition to your list of easy weeknight dinners. It uses simple ingredients and is ready in less than an hour, so you can have it on the table with minimal effort or cleanup.
The simple, no-fuss ingredients in this recipe make for an easy grocery list (or an opportunity to clean out your fridge). Plus, we’re using lean turkey and nutrient-dense sweet potatoes, so you can be confident that you’re getting in your nutrients for the day.
You’ll need two sets of ingredients for this shepherds pie with sweet potatoes: one set for the healthy mashed sweet potatoes and another for the meat filling.
- For the mashed sweet potatoes, you’ll need sweet potatoes, unsalted butter, kosher salt, and allspice. We’re using an adaptation of my Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe for the sweet potato topping, which uses the quick and easy stovetop method. You can also cook your potatoes in the oven, but just keep in mind that it will take longer than boiling them on the stove.
- To make the meat filling, gather olive oil, a small onion, carrots, ground turkey, garlic, fresh herbs (such as rosemary and thyme leaves), paprika, ground cumin, allspice, cinnamon, tomato paste, chicken stock, and blanched frozen peas. I went with lean turkey to make this a low calorie shepherd’s pie, but feel free to substitute with ground beef or lamb.
While shepherd’s pie is a classic recipe, it has undergone several adaptations over the years because of its simplicity and versatility. Feel free to follow my take on this classic dish, or make it your own with various substitutions. Here are some suggestions:
- Meat: Ground lamb is the traditional meat component of shepherd’s pie, but I used lean ground turkey to make this easy healthy shepherd’s pie lower in total fat and total carbohydrate. Feel free to keep it traditional and use ground lamb, or turn this recipe into a sweet potato cottage pie by using ground beef. If you choose to use ground beef, add a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (a classic ingredient for cottage pie) and use beef broth instead of chicken stock.
- Seasoning: Since it’s the fall season and we like to be festive here on the blog, we used fall spices like rosemary and thyme in this shepherds pie with sweet potato mash. However, you can switch up the spices to suit your desired flavor profile. In the past, I have made this recipe Italian seasoning or chili powder as well and it turned out very well.
- Potatoes: For a more classic version of shepherd’s pie, sub white potatoes for the sweet potatoes in this recipe. You can sub the potatoes 1:1, and the cooking instructions stay the same.
How to Make This Recipe?
The beauty of this recipe for shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes is that you can cook and assemble it all in one skillet! All you need to do is boil and mash the potatoes, make the meat filling, top it with the potatoes, and throw it in the oven. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:
- Preheat the oven: Set your oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Boil the potatoes: Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by 1 inch, and top with a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for 12-15 minutes or until you can insert a knife easily into the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan.
- Mash the potatoes: Add the butter and use a potato masher or fork to mash the potatoes until smooth. Cook and constantly stir for about 3-4 minutes, until all the water has evaporated and the sweet potato mixture has thickened slightly.
- Sauté the veggies: Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Sauté the carrots and diced onions for about 8-10 minutes until they are soft. Make sure the carrots are soft and fully cooked.
- Cook the ground meat: Add the ground turkey meat to the skillet. Cook, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add the herbs and spices: Add the garlic, fresh herbs, and spices to the skillet. Cook and constantly stir for 1 minute.
- Add additional ingredients: Stir in the tomato paste and chicken broth. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes to let some of the liquid evaporate.
- Stir in the peas: Add the green peas to the meat mixture, stir to incorporate, and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Top with potatoes: Spread the mashed potatoes evenly to cover all the filling.
- Bake: For the final step, bake for 15-17 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be just beginning to brown when done. Brush with extra butter, if desired. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
How to Make Ahead, Store, Freeze, & Thaw?
Not only is this sweet potato shepherd’s pie recipe quick and easy to whip up for a weeknight dinner, but it’s also perfect for meal prep. Simply make this dish ahead of time, store, and reheat it on a busy night when you’re craving classic comfort food. Here are some tips:
- Make ahead: You can make this turkey sweet potato shepherd’s pie a day in advance and store it in the fridge. Just make sure to store the meat filling and sweet potatoes in separate containers. When you’re ready to bake, spread the sweet potatoes over the filling and pop it in the oven.
- Store: Bring the leftovers to room temperature, place them in an airtight container, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: This dish is a great freezer meal, so I recommend doubling the recipe so you have plenty of leftovers to enjoy for weeks to come. Simply prepare the recipe as instructed, but don’t bake it just yet. I also recommend assembling it in a baking dish instead of a cast iron skillet (skillets are a little clunky to store in the freezer). Let the prepared shepherd’s pie cool to room temperature, then wrap the baking dish first with plastic wrap, cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. Another option is to portion the pie into individual servings before freezing. The recipe will stay good in the freezer for about two months.
- Thaw: You have two options when it comes to thawing and reheating: reheat from frozen or thaw in the fridge. The easiest way, in my opinion, is to reheat from frozen.
- To reheat from frozen: Simply remove the baking dish from the freezer, cover it with foil, and bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the center is about 165 degrees F.
- To thaw in the fridge: Remove the dish from the freezer the day before you’re planning to serve, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until the center is hot (about 165 degrees F). You can also reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, which would work well if you froze the dish in individual portions.
What To Serve with This Recipe?
Serve this family favorite recipe alone for a quick and easy dinner, or pair it with a fall-inspired side dish for a more well-rounded meal. Feel free to get creative, but here are some of my favorite pairings:
- Serve it with a salad: Get in your daily greens by serving this sweet potato turkey shepherds pie with one of our delicious fall salads. Keep it simple by whipping up a Spring Mix Salad, or amp up the veggies with my Kale Brussel Sprout Salad or my Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad.
- Add a side of veggies: A healthy veggie truly rounds out a meal, so feel free to browse through my library of Vegetable Side Dishes for inspiration. Some of my favorites to pair with this recipe are my Butter Garlic Green Beans, my Roasted Acorn Squash, or this Baked Delicata Squash.
It’s hard to go wrong when making this shepherds pie with sweet potato, especially if you follow my foolproof method, but I’ve put together a few tips to help you make this recipe like a pro:
- Use a cast iron skillet: I recommend using a 12-inch cast iron skillet (such as the one I am using – affiliate link) for this recipe, as you can make the filling, assemble, and bake it all in one dish. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, assemble and bake the recipe in a square or round 9-inch baking dish, or even a 9×13 inch casserole dish (just keep in mind that the recipe will be a bit more shallow in a rectangular dish).
- Double the recipe: Since this healthy shepherd’s pie recipe is so freezer-friendly, go ahead and make a double batch so you can have a ready-made meal when you’re in a pinch.
- Make sure to cook the carrots: When sautéing your veggies (step 4 of the recipe), make sure your carrots are fully cooked and soft before moving on to the next step. Raw, hard carrots aren’t super fun to eat!
Yes, you can. Sweet potatoes are a delicious substitute for regular potatoes and can be substituted 1:1.
Traditional shepherd’s pie recipes may not be the healthiest choice, but my low fat shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes and lean meat is a healthier option. In fact, sweet potatoes have many health benefits. They are an excellent source of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, and provide a great dose of vitamin C and potassium.
The meat filling differentiates a shepherd’s pie from a cottage pie. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with ground lamb, although it can be made with different meats, while cottage pie is made with a ground beef mixture.
A classic shepherd’s pie consists of a filling made with ground lamb and veggies, which is topped with mashed white potatoes.
Other Sweet Potato Recipes You Might Like
Since sweet potatoes are so nutritious, versatile, and inexpensive, we love to pack them in as many recipes as possible here on the blog. If you love sweet potatoes as much as we do, you have to give these recipes a try:
And if you have leftover ground turkey, feel free to try my Zucchini Turkey Meatballs and Turkey Meatloaf Recipe.
If you try this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Recipe recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potatoes Recipe
For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or avocado oil or ghee for dairy free option
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon all spice
For the Filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped – approximately 1 cup
- 2 small carrots peeled and chopped – approximately 1 cup
- 1 pound ground turkey or ground beef or ground chicken
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme – finely chopped plus more as garnish
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- Pinch cinnamon
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Preheat the oven: Set the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Boil the potatoes: Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with a lid. Add water to cover by 1-inch and put the lid on. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Check doneness by inserting a knife into a potato. If it comes in and out easily, it is ready. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan.
- Mash the potatoes: Add in the butter. Mash them using a potato masher (or a fork). Cook, stirring constantly, until all the water has evaporated, 3-4 minutes. It should slightly thicken. Set it aside.
- Sauté the veggies: While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the filling. Heat oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet* over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and saute until they are softened, 8-10 minutes. Make sure that carrots are fully softened.
- Cook the turkey: Add ground turkey and cook, breaking the large chunks with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through, 10 minutes or so.
- Add the herbs and spices: Stir in the garlic, fresh herbs (chopped thyme and rosemary), paprika, allspice, ground cumin, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
- Add additional ingredients: Add tomato paste and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes or until some of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in the peas: Stir in the frozen peas and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Give it a quick taste to make sure that it is seasoned well. If needed add more seasoning.
- Top with potatoes: Evenly spread the mashed sweet potatoes over the filling, making sure that it is fully covered.
- Bake: Bake for 15-17 minutes or until sweet potato topping is just beginning to brown. If preferred, brush it with a little bit of butter. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
- Skillet: I recommend using a 12-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, as you can make the filling, assemble, and bake it all in one dish. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, assemble and bake the recipe in a square or round 9-inch baking dish, or even a 9×13 inch casserole dish (just keep in mind that the recipe will be a bit more shallow in a rectangular dish).
- Seasoning: This sweet potato shepherd’s pie recipe is one of those dishes that you can experiment with when it comes to seasoning. The amount of spices and fresh herbs I used in this recipe is pretty conservative. So, my recommendation is for you to taste as you go and add more if you like.
- Make ahead: You can make this recipe a day in advance and store it in the fridge. Just make sure to store the meat filling and sweet potatoes in separate containers. When you’re ready to bake, spread the sweet potatoes over the filling and pop it in the oven.
- Store: Bring the leftovers to room temperature, place them in an airtight container, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Simply prepare the recipe as instructed, but don’t bake it just yet. I also recommend assembling it in a baking dish instead of a cast iron skillet (skillets are a little clunky to store in the freezer). Let the prepared shepherd’s pie cool to room temperature, then wrap the baking dish first with plastic wrap, cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. Another option is to portion the pie into individual servings before freezing. The recipe will stay good in the freezer for about two months.
I made this yesterday and it was delicious!Everyone liked it!
Thanks for letting me know Matea.