Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie

I hated shepherd’s pie when I was a kid. I have never liked canned green beans, and my mom always used those for the layer between the meat and the potatoes. When I tried it with different vegetables, I liked it a little better. Then I found this recipe, which blows regular shepherd’s pie completely out of the water.

We do eat white potatoes occasionally, but our family eats sweet potatoes regularly. They have so much flavor and don’t go bad as quickly if you don’t use them right away. Sweet potatoes are good sources of potassium and vitamin A, and their naturally sweet taste makes them kid friendly, too.


Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie (serves 6-8)


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb ground turkey, ground beef, or chopped chicken breast
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 cup corn
1 (15 ounce) can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 lbs sweet potatoes (enough to make about 5 cups of mashed sweet potatoes), peeled and diced
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons chili powder

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When water is boiling, add sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 15-30 minutes (depending on how small you cut the potatoes).

3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic powder; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add meat and cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Add tomato paste, 2 tablespoons chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until spices become fragrant. Add tomatoes, salsa, corn and beans. Simmer until liquid reduces, about 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Spoon into one 9×13 pan or two 8×8 pans.

5. Mash sweet potatoes with butter, milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons chili powder. Spread mash over meat mixture.

6. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until heated through and top is beginning to brown.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 8 servings):

Calories: 409
Protein: 20 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 51 mg
Carbohydrates: 60 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 483 mg

Recipe Notes: In this picture, I made this dish with chicken. I prefer it with ground turkey or ground beef, but the chicken is very tasty as well. You could add 1 diced jalapeno with the garlic powder for even more heat. I usually divide this into 2 pans and freeze one of the pans for later. After freezing, I bake it at 400 for at least an hour, until it is heated all the way through.

Source: slightly adapted from Parade Magazine

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