Beef And Cauliflower Cottage Pie Recipe

While shepherd's pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with beef, both of these traditional British casseroles are typically topped with mashed potatoes. Here, however, recipe developer Tess Le Moing opts to use mashed cauliflower instead. She's not just using this vegetable as a substitute because it's more keto-friendly than potatoes, though, but because she loves its light and airy texture.

"The first time I tried cauliflower mash, I was blown away," says Le Moing. "If no one had told me, I would have thought it was the lightest mashed potatoes I've ever had." She loves how easy mashed cauliflower is to spread on top of the meat — much more so than mashed potatoes, she tells us — and calls the texture "super light and fluffy, like eating a cloud." What's more, using cauliflower as a potato substitute allows the cook to "sneak in even more veggies into this classic dish" without anyone being the wiser.

Gather the ingredients for this beef and cauliflower cottage pie

The meat of this recipe (in a literal sense) is ground beef, while the topping is composed of mashed cauliflower. Additional ingredients you'll need for the filling include olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, flour, ketchup, rosemary, salt, black pepper, beef broth, stout beer, soy sauce, and frozen peas. For the topping, you'll also need butter, garlic powder, and Irish aged cheddar.

Step 1: Warm the cooking oil

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Saute the vegetables

Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Brown the beef

Add ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.

Step 4: Add flour, ketchup, and seasonings

Stir in flour, ketchup, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Step 5: Mix in the liquids

Stir in broth, beer, and soy sauce, scraping up any brown bits from the pan with the wooden spoon.

Step 6: Simmer the filling

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick but still saucy, about 10 minutes.

Step 7: Add the peas

Remove from heat, stir in the frozen peas, and season with salt to taste.

Step 8: Put the pie filling in a pan

Spoon beef mixture into a casserole dish.

Step 9: Boil the cauliflower

Add cauliflower florets and water to a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until very soft.

Step 10: Drain the cooked cauliflower

Drain and let sit in the strainer for 5 minutes to release any extra water.

Step 11: Puree the cauliflower with butter and seasonings

Transfer cauliflower to a food processor or blender with butter, garlic powder, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pulse to break up larger chunks of cauliflower.

Step 12: Make it cheesy

Add cheddar.

Step 13: Blend the cauliflower and cheese until smooth

Pulse until fully incorporated and smooth.

Step 14: Cover the cottage pie with mashed cauliflower

Spoon dollops of mashed cauliflower evenly over the beef filling and smooth into an even layer.

Step 15: Give the topping some texture

Using a fork, rake the surface of the mashed cauliflower to make ridges.

Step 16: Broil until golden

Adjust an oven rack about 5 inches below the broiler and broil casserole until topping is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 17: Cool and enjoy

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

What ingredient swaps can I make in this beef and cauliflower cottage pie recipe?

This cottage pie recipe is something you can easily customize to your tastes. For starters, Le Moing suggests swapping out the soy sauce for Worcestershire, explaining, "I always have soy sauce in my fridge more than Worcestershire, so that's why I use it in this recipe." She also enjoys ground turkey in place of the beef in this cottage pie, calling it "a leaner and lighter option that can work well in the dish." As for the beer, Le Moing realizes that not everyone wants to cook with alcohol, so she notes that "you can use either non-alcoholic beer or just beef broth." The Irish cheddar, meanwhile, can be swapped out for a different cheddar, Gruyére, Parmesan, or another cheese. You can also substitute dried rosemary for fresh, although Le Moing advises reducing the amount to ⅓ teaspoon if you do so.

When it comes to the vegetables, you can get as creative as you wish by swapping or adding at will. Le Moing notes that "chopped mushrooms can enhance the umami flavor and add a meaty texture," while "small diced and roasted butternut squash can provide a slightly sweet and creamy texture." Other vegetables she recommends using include frozen corn and green beans.

What can I do with leftover beef and cauliflower cottage pie?

If you have leftovers of this cottage pie, Le Moing says you can just cover the casserole dish with foil and refrigerate it. The casserole will be good for up to 4 days, and whenever you'd like another helping, all you need to do is dish it up on a plate and microwave it for 2 minutes. You can also portion out individual servings to be frozen for later use, although if you're reheating them straight from the freezer, you should make sure that the storage container is microwave-safe and plan on the process taking longer than 2 minutes.

If you're a meal prepper, you might also want to freeze an entire cottage pie, but if you do so, Le Moing offers a tip that will help it retains its flavor. "If you want to freeze this," she says, "add 1 extra cup of beef broth to the filling, because the freezer dehydrates food."

Beef And Cauliflower Cottage Pie Recipe
4.9 from 16 ratings
Mashed cauliflower not only makes cottage pie a low-carb dinner option, but it also adds a lighter, fluffier touch to the recipe than classic potatoes.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
6
servings
cottage pie serving on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ⅓ cup finely diced carrot
  • ⅓ cup finely diced celery
  • 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup frozen peas
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 ½ pounds), cut into florets
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 ounces Irish aged cheddar
Directions
  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
  4. Stir in flour, ketchup, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir in broth, beer, and soy sauce, scraping up any brown bits from the pan with the wooden spoon.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick but still saucy, about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in the frozen peas, and season with salt to taste.
  8. Spoon beef mixture into a casserole dish.
  9. Add cauliflower florets and water to a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until very soft.
  10. Drain and let sit in the strainer for 5 minutes to release any extra water.
  11. Transfer cauliflower to a food processor or blender with butter, garlic powder, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pulse to break up larger chunks of cauliflower.
  12. Add cheddar.
  13. Pulse until fully incorporated and smooth.
  14. Spoon dollops of mashed cauliflower evenly over the beef filling and smooth into an even layer.
  15. Using a fork, rake the surface of the mashed cauliflower to make ridges.
  16. Adjust an oven rack about 5 inches below the broiler and broil casserole until topping is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  17. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 504
Total Fat 34.9 g
Saturated Fat 17.3 g
Trans Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 109.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Total Sugars 6.0 g
Sodium 1,056.0 mg
Protein 27.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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