Shepherd’s Pie (or cottage pie) is an old English recipe that has been around for a VERY long time. Even these classic comfort foods could do with a makeover now and then! Let’s bring it into the 21st century and brighten it up with some colour why don’t we?
The traditional version is “meat and potatoes” focused, while this version allows for lots of flexibility, a rainbow of veggies and a choice of meat (or meatless) for the bottom layer.
- 2 lbs ground turkey, lean ground beef or meatless ground round
- 2 small onions or 1 large onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1-2 tsp dried)
- ½ tsp salt
- 4-5 tomatoes, sliced
- 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 large or 2 small yams, chopped
- 2 cups corn (frozen)
- 2 cup peas
- 2-3 zucchinis, sliced
- 4 cups kale, spinach or mixed greens
- 5-6 potatoes
- 2 large beets, sliced *optional
- 2-3 Tbsp butter or oil - divided
- ¼ cup milk of choice
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp salt - divided
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Slice and chop all the vegetables you plan on using.
- Fill 2 medium pots with water (half way) and bring to a boil. One pot for the potatoes and one pot for the yams/carrots. Put the potatoes in first as they will take longer to cook,
- In a non-stick skillet or pan, start cooking the meat over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, worcestershire sauce, rosemary and salt. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked throughout.
- While the meat is cooking, check the status of the cooked potatoes and yams/carrots. They should be fork-tender or soft enough to mash.
- Layer the cooked meat/meatless option in the bottom of a rectangular or circular casserole dish.
- Keep the same skillet and add your greens to the pan. Add the peas first, then zucchini and lastly the fresh leafy greens. Cook "al-dente", or until bright green ~4-5 minutes.
- Mash the potatoes with 1.5-2 Tbsp butter or oil, salt, pepper and milk
- RED layer- add your sliced tomatoes on top of the meat
- ORANGE layer - Mash the cooked yams and carrots with 1.5 Tbsp butter or oil, 1 Tbsp honey and ½ tsp salt. Layer over the sliced tomatoes
- YELLOW layer - if using frozen corn, cook the corn in the microwave for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the orange layer
- GREEN layer - layer the cooked greens over the corn.
- BLUE/PURPLE - layer the sliced cooked beets (or alternative) over the greens
- WHITE/BROWN - layer the mashed potatoes on top
- Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
- Bake uncovered in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes start to crisp on top.
#eatyourcolours has been my MO for awhile now. There’s no denying the benefits of incorporating more veggies into your diet. Let’s practice what we preach and make a family-friendly comfort food perfect for those cold rainy days.
Why the “RAINBOW”? We know that different coloured vegetables have different nutritive qualities, so why not make it as balanced as possible. If you’re not a fan of some of the veggies listed in the recipe, feel free to substitute.
Did anyone else remember learning the rainbow as ROY G BIV? Here are some other vegetable colour options that you could try!
RED: tomatoes or red bell peppers
ORANGE: yams, carrots, squash
YELLOW: corn, spaghetti squash, yellow zucchini
GREEN: green peas, zucchini, spinach, kale, collards, arugula, chard, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, celery, brussels sprouts, watercress, gai-lan
BLUE/INDIGO/VIOLET: beets, purple potatoes or carrots, radicchio, purple cabbage, eggplant
WHITE/BROWN: potatoes, cauliflower, parsnips, mushrooms, turnips
I certainly welcome substitutions as necessary or feel free to skip a few layers if you don’t have the ingredients or time to put it all together. However, try and get as much of the rainbow in there as you can!!
This could also be a great way to get the family involved in cooking. Ask your kids, “what X coloured vegetable would you like to add”, and see what creative combinations you can come up with!
Hopefully this gets you thinking of some alternative colour options to try.
This particular meal makes #mealprep !