I’ve been experimenting with unique ways to use vegetables for the past year. Just searching on Pinterest, I’ve found so many ways to use cauliflower! It can be used as a main ingredient in homemade taco shells or a pizza crust as well as treating it as a substitute for rice recipes! Using vegetables differently is a great way to replace routine meals with gluten-free or carbohydrate reduced options. I’ve tried using julienned zucchini or baked spaghetti squash to replace pasta in many dishes. Vegetables can be so versatile and mimic other foods in a healthier way when you add the right spices.
Last night I experimented and made a really awesome shepherd’s pie using puréed cauliflower to replace the traditional whipped potato topping. It turned out amazing! The potato wasn’t missed at all and I was surprised how smooth the cauliflower got in the food processor! Not only did it look like whipped potatoes, it had lots of flavor and you didn’t miss the potato at all. I also put a spin on the dish by adding a few new spices to my standard recipe to see how it would turn out. It was so fantastic I decided the recipe must go up on the blog!
Cauliflower Topped Shepherd’s Pie
Puréed Cauliflower Topping:
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons of milk
pinch of cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 medium chopped red onion
2 cups thinly chopped carrots
2 cups sliced celery
1 teaspoon salt, divided (I use pink himalayan salt)
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
3/4 cup chicken stock (I use 1 Knorr 25% less salt packet)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)
1 teaspoon thyme
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Puréed Cauliflower Topping:
Place cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very soft, 15 minutes.
Put cauliflower and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the milk, coconut oil, cinnamon & salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times and then blend until cauliflower mixture is smooth (like the consistency of whipped potatoes!) Transfer to a mixing bowl, give a good mix and set aside.
*note: adjust milk & coconut oil amounts accordingly, heads of cauliflower vary in size depending on the season, you want the same consistency of whipped potatoes!
Add oil to a large sauté pan over low-medium high heat. First add carrots and cook for 4 minutes. Then add celery and onion and cook for 3 more minutes. Add half the salt & pepper and cook until carrots are slightly softened (they will cook more in the oven) Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Put the vegetable mixture into a mixing bowl and set aside.
Using the same pan add ground meat and sauté on medium heat until cooked, breaking it into small pieces as you go. Add the fennel seeds and the remainder of the salt & pepper and cook for 1 minute longer or until the fennel becomes fragrant.
Add the vegetable mixture back to the meat mixture in the sauté pan.
Add in the peas, chicken broth, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring every now and again for a few minutes until mixture thickens.
Transfer the pie filling to a large casserole dish. Spoon the pureed cauliflower evenly in dollops over the top of the dish. Take a spatula to smooth the puree evenly and smoothly over the top. Sprinkle with a bit of freshly grated pepper and salt.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the edges of the pureed cauliflower are golden. Set the pie out to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
I hope you enjoy this dish! It’s a great winter staple and I’m going to make one with ground turkey next week!
Lv, Julie ♥