Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping is a great way to use Thanksgiving leftovers, or make it with chicken if you prefer. And if you check the nutritional information, this is surprisingly low in carbs!
Yes, I realize a lot of you might still be looking for Thanksgiving Recipes, but in the weird world of food blogging I’ve already tested a few recipes for leftover turkey and fallen in love with this Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping. The days we sampled this recipe my nephew and cooking assistant Jake kept saying “This is really good” every time he took a bite.
The recipe uses turkey gravy, but if you don’t have any leftover gravy from Thanksgiving, you really should buy some gravy (like we did!) and give this recipe a try. We looked for the lowest-carb turkey gravy we could find, and this is much lower in carbs than the usual Shepherd’s Pie Recipes you’ll find, even with the purchased gravy!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
- Poultry Seasoning (affiliate link)
- frozen peas
- diced leftover turkey (or chicken)
- turkey gravy (use the gravy with the lowest amount of carbs you can find)
- grated cheese blend
- head of cauliflower
- large cloves of garlic
- milk, half and half, or cream
- finely grated Parmesan
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Can you use purchased mashed cauliflower for this recipe?
I created this recipe before frozen “cauliflower mash” was even a thing, and truthfully haven’t even used that kind of product. But if you’re a fan of that, it would probably work to replace the step of cooking and mashing the cauliflower for this recipe.
Is this really a Shepherd’s Pie?
The loose definition of Shepherd’s Pie is simply a pie of meat and vegetables in gravy that’s topped with mashed potatoes, but some people insist that true Shepherd’s Pie can only be made with lamb. No matter how strict your definition is though, using turkey in a dish called Shepherd’s Pie is not the norm, but I wanted to convey the idea that this turkey pot pie type casserole is topped with Cauliflower!
More Ideas for Leftover Turkey:
Low-Carb Turkey Casserole
Leftover Turkey Casserole with Brown Rice and Mushrooms
Low-Carb and Keto Recipes for Leftover Turkey or Chicken
Healthy Recipes for Leftover Turkey or Chicken (higher carbs)
How to Make Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping:
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- Cut up the cauliflower and cook with the garlic cloves for 12-15 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain cauliflower very well.
- We used a hand beater to whip the cauliflower and garlic like you would potatoes, adding a little milk, Parmesan cheese, and seasoning with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- While cauliflower cooks, saute the onion in a little olive oil, then add the poultry seasoning.
- I used one cup each of finely diced carrots and frozen peas. Cook the carrots in the microwave for about 3 minutes to barely soften them.
- You’ll need about 3 cups diced leftover turkey. We cut our turkey into chunks about 1 inch square.
- I wanted to use turkey gravy to hold the filling together and flavor it, so I looked for the lowest carb gravy I could find and this one that I found at Costco has 3 carbs in 1/4 cup or 21 carbs in the 1 3/4 cups I used in the recipe. It’s hard to make a diet-friendly recipe that has gravy, but this is definitely not too bad for a dish that makes 8 servings.
- Add the turkey, partially cooked carrots, peas, and gravy to the pan and simmer a few minutes so the gravy thickens a little more.
- Spray an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish with non-stick spray and spread the turkey mixture in the bottom.
- Then spread the mashed garlic-parmesan cauliflower mixture over that.
- Top with grated cheese.
- Bake uncovered at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and the casserole is bubbly. Serve hot.
- 1 onion, chopped in pieces about 1/2 inch
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 cup raw carrots, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 cups diced leftover turkey, cut into pieces about 1 inch square
- 1 3/4 cups turkey gravy (use the gravy with the lowest amount of carbs you can find)
- 1/2 cup grated cheese blend
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 2 T milk
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil.
- Chop cauliflower into small pieces and simmer with the garlic cloves until it’s soft enough to mash easily.
- Drain cauliflower very well; then use an immersion blender, food processor, or hand beater to combine the cauliflower with the milk and Parmesan.
- Season the mashed cauliflower with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- While the cauliflower cooks, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion 3-4 minutes, then add the Poultry Seasoning (affiliate link) and saute about 1 minute more.
- Put the chopped carrots in a glass measuring cup, cover with cling-wrap, and microwave about 3 minutes, or just until barely starting to soften.
- Add the partially cooked carrots, diced turkey, peas, and turkey gravy to the pan and simmer on low for 10 minutes, or until the gravy is slightly thickened.
- Spray an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish with non-stick spray. (You need a dish with fairly high sides. You can use a slightly bigger dish and have a thinner finished product if needed.)
- Spread the turkey-vegetable mixture in the bottom of the dish.
- Top with the cauliflower, using a rubber scraper to spread it out so it covers the filling.
- Top with the grated cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the top is lightly browned.
- Serve hot.
This freezes well; to reheat, cook in microwave for a few minutes or heat in an oven or toaster oven in a small ovenproof dish covered with foil.
Recipe created by Kalyn and Jake.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 562mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 22g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
I used mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes and looked for the lowest-carb variety of turkey gravy I could find to make this a lower-carb dish for the original South Beach Diet or other carb-conscious eating plans. And even though the gravy does contain some flour and the dish has carrots and peas, this is surprisingly low in carbs. You could skip the peas and carrots and use lower-carb veggies like red peppers and broccoli if you wanted to reduce the carbs even more.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Casserole Recipes to find more tasty ideas like this one! Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2012. It was last updated with more information in 2021.