A comforting and satisfying take on the traditional Shepherd’s pie made with a combination of ground chicken and lentils instead of lamb for the filling. This lightened up version of the traditional, hearty dish mixes turnips with potatoes for the topping uses olive oil and almond milk instead of butter and heavy cream and got the 100% taste-test approval from my Irish husband.
So there’s a bit of a story that goes along with this recipe.
Let’s rewind to last year St. Patrick’s Day when I whipped up a batch of delicious fish tacos with a homemade pineapple salsa. Yes, I love holiday-themed meals and nodding to the cuisines of other cultures, but growing up my mom would make corned beef and cabbage on this Irish holiday and that dish has just never quite been my kind of thing. So, I thought nothing of the yummy and fresh tacos, until my Irish husband wondered where the potatoes, meat and Irish stout were (oops!).
Of course we enjoyed the tacos, but he vowed to never let me “forget” to make some sort of an Irish something on St. Patrick’s Day.
This year, I was determined to make something very “meat and potatoes” without being too “meat and potatoes.” What a challenge…right?
incorporating turnips in with the mashed potatoes on top for an added vitamin C boost
using olive oil and unsweetened original almond instead of butter and heavy cream
swapping the lamb for lean ground chicken and lentils (lentils are a great source of folate, fiber and a slew of other micronutrients)
adding in zucchini for more veggie power
I thickened it with a combination of almond and tapioca flour instead of traditional all-purpose wheat flour
While I clearly made several tweaks, the dish maintained it’s savory flavor profile in addition to the overall heartiness of the meal.
I’m really not sure WHY it took me so long to make a satisfying St. Patty’s Day meal that pleased both my palate along with my husband’s, but I’m so happy I finally did!
For those with dietary restrictions, this dish is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and mostly low FODMAP (watch out for the serving size on the lentils!). It has tons of flavor thanks to the chives, coconut aminos, tomato paste, and rosemary.
I hope you enjoy my version of Shepherd’s Pie as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year! (You know that’s what we’ll be eating!)
3/4 lb russet potatoes (about 1 large potato or 2 medium sized)
3/4 lb turnips (about 1 large turnip)
1/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1–2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg yolk
For the Filling:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced chives
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 cup zucchini, peeled and diced small
1 celery rib, diced small
1 1/2 cup cooked lentils*
1 cup vegetable stock**
1/2 lb ground chicken
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp almond flour
1 Tbsp tapioca flour or starch
For the Potatoes: Peel the potatoes and turnips and cut into small cubes, about a 1/2 inch in size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover and bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat down to low. Allow the potatoes to boil until very tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the pan. Add the almond milk, olive oil, salt and pepper and mash until smooth in consistency. Stir in the egg yolk.
While the potatoes are cooking: preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and get out a medium sized casserole dish (slightly larger than 8×8).
For the Filling: Place 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the chives, carrot, celery, and zucchini and cook until fragrant. About 3-4 minutes. Add the ground chicken, salt and pepper and cook until browned, occasionally stirring. About 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, 1 cup vegetable stock, coconut aminos, rosemary, lentils and mix until combined. Sprinkle the almond flour and the tapioca starch over the filling and stir in thoroughly. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer this mixture for 10-12 minutes allowing it to thicken.
Once the potatoes and filling are ready: Pour the chicken and lentil mixture into the baking dish and smooth so it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Top the filling with the potato and turnip mixture and evenly smooth the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes prior to serving.
*1/2 cup canned lentils are low FODMAP. If not sensitive to FODMAPs, you can cook your own. **for low FODMAP vegetable broth, make sure the ingredients do not include onion or garlic. You can make your own broth, or use FODY Foods vegetable broth base.
This recipe has not been tested for FODMAP content, but ingredients are used in amounts compliant with the Monash University App and guidelines. Please eat the foods that make you feel your best!