Shepherd's Pie Makeover: Comfort Food After a Hard, Rainy Practice

June 21, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

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Editor's Note: From the fast food drive-thru and the take-out box to the backyard BBQ, STACK Expert Kait Fortunato is taking our favorite indulgences and turning them into healthy, everyday meals. Now you can eat what you love on a daily basis without compromising your performance or your health. These simple do-it-yourself recipes prove you can eat good fats, lean protein and whole grains but still have meals that taste great. This week, Kait shows you how to create a healthy Shepherd's pie. (See Part One in this series: Grill a Guiltless Burger: The Healthy Cheeseburger Recipe.)

Shepherd's Pie

Seriously, what could be better after a rainy night practice than a pile of juicy beef covered with creamy mashed potatoes and cheese? (Hard day on the field? See Foods To Boost Your Mood After Tough Games.)

Shepherd's Pie practically screams comfort food. Unfortunately, the original recipe calls for items like cream cheese and butter, which are high in saturated fat (i.e., the unhealthy fat) and will not adequately fuel your performance.

Traditional Shepherd's Pie

  • 452 calories
  • 17 grams fat
  • 7 grams saturated fat
  • 295 mg sodium
  • 52 grams carbohydrates
  • 7 grams fiber

At first glance, this doesn't look too bad in terms of calories and fat for the occasional indulgence. But the calories come from saturated fat and unhealthy carbohydrates, which will leave you feeling heavy and slow.

Healthy Shepherd's Pie (adapted from this recipe)

With heavy casseroles, you're confined to small servings, but meals like this give you more bang for your buck.

For healthy shepherd's pie, we removed the creamed potatoes due to their high glycemic index and need for butter. This eliminated some of the saturated fat. Thanks to great seasonings and a variety of add-ins, we were also able to sneak in more servings of vegetables. This swap provides healthier carbohydrates to replenish your energy levels after practice or a game. (Want more great seasonings? Check out The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric.)

To keep the same creamy texture as the original recipe, I recommend a side of baked sweet or russet potato. This will allow you to control the amount of butter you consume.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup roasted corn (I love the Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon each of rosemary, thyme and sage

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Boil the cauliflower in a pot over medium heat until soft (about seven to 10 minutes)
  • As the cauliflower boils, sautee the ground turkey until brown (about 10 to 15 minutes)
  • Chop vegetables and add to the cooked ground turkey; heat through until soft
  • Sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour and bring to a boil (because the turkey is so lean, there should be enough water in the pan)
  • Add half the seasonings
  • Drain the cauliflower and "mash" in one egg and the emaining seasoning (either by hand or with a blender)
  • Grease a nine-inch square pan and fill with the ground turkey and vegetable mixture
  • Top it off with the cauliflower mash and cook for 10 minutes at 400F
  • Switch the oven to broil so the top browns and cook for another 10 minutes

Nutritional Profile

  • 220 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 16 grams carbohydrates
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 26 grams protein
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
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