Shepherd’s Pie (AIP, Paleo, Whole30)

I love mashed potato. I used to eat it at least once a week in one way or another but those days are long gone. On the AIP potatoes are prohibited because they’re of the nightshade vegetable family and feared for their inflammatory properties. In addition, their high starch content is thought to provide food to bad bacteria in the gut and cause gut dysbiosis. Not only are they excluded from the AIP, they’re also not considered to be Paleo.


Potatoes have a glycemic index that is higher than sugar which can generate huge spikes in our blood sugar and with repeated consumption lead to insulin resistance. They contain a chemical know as glycoalkaloid that has the ability to create holes in the gut lining and increase intestinal permeability causing what is known as a ‘leaky gut’. But what is a leaky gut? Exactly as it sounds. The holes in the gut lining allow its contents to leak out into the bloodstream. There it is met by our immune cells which attack the food as if it were a foreign invader – it’s not supposed to be there after all! Inflammation levels in the body rise and the immune system wreaks havoc. This inflammation is general and not limited to the gut; it is without a target and any cell in the body can fall victim to it – your hair, your skin, your joints. Say hello to your new autoimmune disease! To read more on potatoes, have a look at this post: http://thepaleodiet.com/are-potatoes-paleo/#.VhUCnrRN3FI

So how did I make such a gorgeous fluffy mash without potatoes? Cauliflower and parsnips I tell you! I’d been making cauliflower mash for a while but sometimes it can be a little soggy and I really felt it needed some potato-like starch. It occurred to me then that parsnips (which have a safe level of starch) could be a great addition. What I love about this mash is that it is super easy to make and doesn’t require a long boil like potatoes do! My family was totally fooled.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. Recipe is at the bottom of the page.

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Serves 4

400g minced lamb
400ml bone broth/fresh stock
2 parsnips (use 3 if small) sliced
Half a head of a large cauliflower cut into florets
2 large carrots chopped into small cubes
1 celery stick chopped into small pieces
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp lard plus another 1 tsp for later (BUTTER IS NOT AIP)
1 tsp fresh rosemary (replace with 1/2 tsp of dried)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp arrowroot starch mixed with a couple splashes of water
1 tsp red wine vinegar (fine without it)
salt to taste (careful if your broth or stock is already heavily salted)
black pepper to taste (if you have reintroduced it on AIP)

The Mince
1. Heat 1 tbsp of lard in a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the onion and celery. Cook for 5 mins until beginning to soften.
2. Add the chopped carrots and fresh rosemary and fry for a further 2 minutes. Follow this with the minced lamb and cook until browned. Stir in the dried rosemary and thyme.
3. Pour in the bone broth or stock and red wine vinegar and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cover with a lid for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add in the watered arrowroot starch, stir, cover with lid but leave it slightly ajar for a little steam to escape and cook for a further 15 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
5. If the mince and broth is still looking watery after 15 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes on a slightly higher heat to boil off the water and allow the gravy to thicken a little.

The Mash
1. Put the cauliflower florets, parsnips and 2 cloves of garlic into a steamer and cook for 10 minutes. Allow an extra 2 minutes if the cauliflower is too hard to fork.
2. When cooked, place into a bowl along with a tsp of lard and salt and pepper to taste. Blend with a hand mixer or add all of these ingredients to a conventional blender. Blend well to ensure there are no lumps.

The Pie
1. Pour the mince meat into the bottom of 4 small oven dishes or 1 large oven dish.
2. Spread the mash over the top of the mince and create ridges over the top of a mash using a fork. This will allow it to go crispy in the oven!
3. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. If the mash hasn’t begun to brown on top yet leave it for a further 10 minutes or if you’re impatient like me, place the dish under an oven grill on a medium-high heat until golden brown and crispy.
4. Serve with some steamed greens like kale.

If you’re only cooking for two people, these reheat amazingly the next day. Just place in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes and they’ll crisp up even more ❤

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7 thoughts on “Shepherd’s Pie (AIP, Paleo, Whole30)

  1. Hi Stella, your recipes sound amazing!! You seem to cook very similar to me with LOTS of spices that help the food to taste good. I’m only seeing a few recipes on this site. Do you have them somewhere else? I am not on Facebook or other social media as I am a homeschool mom of two and I own my own business. That being said I don’t choose to spend time with social media as it can take up huge blocks of time. Can’t wait to try your recipes I’ve pinned. Saw you on Phoenix Helix round table

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  2. hi stella, i saw on your instagram that you have a rice dish. Is it not paleo? I am going to start on AIP as i have alopecia areata too.

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    • Hi Liz! That is true, rice is not Paleo. However, white rice it is the only grain that is considered digestible once the hull has been removed (so not brown rice!). White rice is not allowed on the AIP but after you’ve seen improvement for a few months you can experiment with making reintroductions such as eggs, seeds, alcohol, nightshades, etc and white rice is one of them. The photo with the rice dish was a reintroduction day which was successful but I won’t be making a habit of eating it regularly. xxx

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