Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Low Fat Shepherd's Pie

Why is it that all comfort is laden with calories. You wouldn’t call a salad or vegetable stir fry comfort food would you!?!

No, the essence of comfort food for me is something you eat when you are feeling melancholy or sentimental. It’s food that gives me a sense of wellbeing, and perhaps a visit down memory lane. Sometimes making something ‘just how mom would make it’ brings loads of fond childhood memories flooding back.

My Top 10 Comfort Foods

  1. Shepherds’ Pie
  2. Lasagna
  3. Roast chicken &  gravy
  4. Beans on Toast
  5. Bangers and mash
  6. Vanilla Ice-cream
  7. Buttery Toast
  8. Big Bowl of Pasta & cheese
  9. Chilli con carne
  10. Cheese on Toast

Just because you are watching what you eat, doesn’t mean you have to ban all the comfort food we grew up on, and ban the food you need for a little boost on days that you are down, or simply on cold rainy days.

With 3 weddings just around the corner, I really need to get my act together and start living on salads and stir fries, but it’s easier said than done with the coldest wettest summer yet. All I want when I get home in the evenings these days, is either a big bowl of pasta or some creamy mash potatoes. So I’ve decided that I can have those things, I just need to make them the low fat way. So first things first, my skinny twist on a classic Shepherds pie recipe….. Shepherd’s pie was a staple in our house growing up, it was very cheap to make, and it froze well. Classic shepherds Pie is made with creamy mash potatoes and mince beef/lamb. This skinny version will have mash sweet potato and parsnip as the topping and I’m using turkey mince for the filling, but I’m enriching it with tomatoes and tomato puree and chopped herbs, using Italian flavours, keeping this dish really yummy. You won’t find any cheese in this recipe, or cream or butter for that matter.

Serves 2


  • 400g Turkey Mince
  • Tin of chopped Tomatoes
  • Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of thyme leaves
  • 10 mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Worchester sauce
  • Low Cal Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of sugar


  1. Large frying pan or work, fry off the turkey mince until its completely cooked through.
  2. Add the tomato puree, herbs, garlic and onion and fry for a further few minutes.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and mushrooms and continue to stir around.
  4. Add a pinch of sugar, a 5-6 drops of Worchester sauce and the tin of tomatoes, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes to let the sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, get a pan of water on the boil, add the chopped sweet potato and parsnips and one of the chopped carrot, and boil for 10 minutes
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees
  7. Once the potato,parsnips, and carrot are cooked, drain and allow the steam to escape from them to dry them out a bit.
  8. To create your mash topping, add 1 tsp of olive oil to the vegetables and salt and pepper, and mash with a masher until you have a smooth consistency.
  9. In a baking dish, add the mince mixture and top with the sweet potato/parsnip mash. Spritz the top of the mash with a low cal olive oil spray if you like.
  10. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Serve with a leafy green such as cabbage/kale or spinach, or broccoli.

Now how healthy is that! This recipe keeps well for the following day cooked, cooled and in an airtight container.

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