Paleo Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Recipe by Lisa Zerdes, Weavers Way Member and Professional Pastry Chef


  • 4 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 head of cauliflower (2-½ lbs.), cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp. minced chives
  • 4 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • .5 oz. dried chanterelle or any kind of mushroom (recommended Mycological wild gourmet mushrooms)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
  • 1-¼ cups chicken broth (recommended organic Imagine low sodium)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey (white and dark meat, recommended Koch’s brand)

Serves: 4-6

The origins of the Shepherd’s pie date back to the late 1700s or early 1800s. The first recipe was recorded in England and made good use of leftover minced meat with a potato topping. Some recipes had potato on the bottom and on the top. The pie sometimes is referred to as cottage pie; the difference between the two is that shepherd’s pie used lamb, while cottage pie used beef or mutton.

This paleo friendly version is as hearty as the original. It uses cauliflower that has been browned in ghee as the topping, which brings out the nuttiness of the vegetable, as well as a mixture of dark and white ground turkey, which gives it richness while keeping the calorie count low. You will not miss the flour-based gravy.

Browning the onions and mushrooms first before adding the rest of the ingredients elevates the flavor of this dish. Additionally, browning the top under a broiler adds more flavor and makes it look even hardier. Make sure you serve your pie hot. The flavor is amazing!


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. of ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat until simmering. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring constantly until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in ½ cup of water and ½ tsp. kosher salt, cover and cook until cauliflower falls apart easily when poked with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and remove the lid, being careful of the steam when you open it, and allow the cauliflower to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Place dried mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. Discard water and chop fine. Set aside.
  6. Process cauliflower in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, removing lid and scraping down sides as needed. Measure out ½ cup of processed cauliflower for the filling.
  7. Transfer the remaining cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in beaten eggs and chopped chives.
  8. Heat 1 tbsp. of ghee in the same pan that you used for the cauliflower (no need to wash it) under medium high heat. Add cremini mushrooms, carrots, onion, and ½ tsp. kosher salt and pepper and cook until softened and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes.
  9. Stir in tomato paste, chopped reconstituted chanterelle mushrooms, garlic, and thyme and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in broth, scrapping brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  10. Reduce heat to medium low, add ground turkey and break up in small pieces, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook covered until turkey is cooked through, 20-25 minutes.
  11. Stir in ½ cup of reserved cauliflower and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  12. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof casserole and either pipe on mashed cauliflower using a pastry bag with a decorative tip or use a large spoon. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp. of melted ghee. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes then switch oven to broil and brown for 5 minutes depending on your oven.
  13. Serve hot and enjoy!

Note: If you do not have a food processor, you can always mash the cauliflower with a mashed potato masher. It will not be as smooth, but it will be just as delicious!