Home » Recipes » Fall » Easy Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Turkey

Easy Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Turkey

posted September 29, 2022
by Cassandra Morris
A classic fall recipe made healthier, this sweet potato shepherd’s pie is filled with lean ground turkey and topped with mashed sweet potato.

Traditional shepherd’s pie is one of the recipes I learned to cook at the start of my culinary journey. I always enjoyed eating it because the lamb filling was so intensely flavored and every bite was so satisfying. 

Unlike most pies, this dish doesn’t call for a crust and that was a big thing for a beginner home cook like me. I also tried my hand at cottage pie – which is the same, except it uses ground beef. With more tinkering, I finally arrived at this recipe: turkey shepherd’s pie. 

Beneath a dense and creamy sweet potato mash is a generous helping of ground turkey seasoned with paprika and oregano. Alongside some vegetables, the meat is buried in rich, savory juices made of chicken broth and tomato paste. 

This easy sweet potato shepherd’s pie is the ultimate Thanksgiving dish with a healthy twist. 

Is This Recipe Really Healthy?

Comfort food often brings with it images of overly-rich, high-calorie foods that encourage gluttony. However, this shepherd’s pie recipe will surprise you. It uses lean ground meat (in this case, turkey) and doesn’t contain any refined carbs. Instead, sweet potatoes which are rich in fiber and minerals make up the main carb in this recipe. 

One way to make this recipe even healthier is by doubling down on the vegetables and cutting back on the meat. In addition to frozen peas and corn, throw in diced carrots, parsnips, celery, and even mushrooms. 

Easy Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie with Ground Turkey | cookingwithcassandra.com

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe makes 6 servings of shepherd’s pie. Gather these ingredients to make the best mashed sweet potatoes:

  • Sweet potatoes – Peel and chop 4 large sweet potatoes into small chunks, small enough to be mashed easily. I like these as they have a silkier texture than regular white potatoes. 
  • Sour cream – Sour cream makes the mash extra creamy. Measure ¼ cup of sour cream, heavy cream, or milk. 
  • Unsalted butter – We will need to melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter to make the mash smoother and richer too.
  • Italian seasoning, sea salt, and pepper – Season to taste. 

The shepherd’s pie filling is loaded and is sure to satisfy hungry bellies:

  • Lean ground turkey – Instead of traditional shepherd’s pie that uses ground lamb, we are using lean ground turkey which is lower in calories and higher in protein than red meat. 
  • Chicken broth – In order to add flavor and depth to the filling, we are also using chicken broth. 
  • Tomato paste – Prepare 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. It has all the concentrated flavor of tomato which instantly adds umami to our filling. Worcestershire sauce is a great alternative. 
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon of olive oil for cooking the ground turkey. If your meat is very lean, you may need more olive oil. 
  • Sweet onion and garlic – Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Guaranteed satisfaction to complete the shepherd’s pie filling. 
  • Oregano and smoked paprika – For seasoning, we will use 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika for a slightly smoky and spicy kick, as well as 1 teaspoon of dried oregano to introduce fragrance and aroma. 
  • Frozen peas and frozen corn – Defrost 1 ½ cups each of frozen peas and frozen corn. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Set aside a prep time of 20 minutes and a cooking time of 45 minutes. 

Step One: Make the mashed potatoes. 

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Place them in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Then, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. This should take about 12 minutes.

Drain the water and mash the potatoes using a masher. (You can go as smooth or lumpy as you’d like – I prefer them completely smooth.) Then, season with salt, pepper, sour cream, butter, and Italian seasoning blend.

Step Two: Cook the turkey. 

While the sweet potatoes are boiling, heat olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the chopped onions for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Then, stir in the minced garlic and cook for a minute or so until fragrant. 

Add the ground turkey to the pan and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon until the meat is cooked through. You can tell when all the meat has turned brown and there are no pink pieces. 

Step Three: Make the shepherd’s pie filling. 

Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes until the liquid is reduced. Then, stir in the peas and corn.

Step Four: Assemble the shepherd’s pie. 

Spread the meat mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish or a rectangular baking dish. Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes on top of the meat and spread it evenly all the way to the sides.

Step Five: Bake the pie. 

In an oven preheated at 400°F, bake for 25 to 30 minutes the pie until the mashed potatoes are just starting to brown. Let it cool, then slice into squares to serve.

Bon Appetit!

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie | cookingwithcassandra.com

Expert Tips & Tricks

To thicken the shepherd’s pie filling – Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour (or corn flour for gluten-free) into the shepherd’s pie once the peas and corn have been mixed in. This isn’t necessary, but it will result in a thicker, molten filling that somehow feels so homely and comforting. 

Create two clean layers of mash and filling Let the meat cool for a short period of time before spreading the mashed sweet potato on top. That way, the potato will not melt through into the filling causing a mushy mess.

Crispin the mashed potato topping If the surface of your pie doesn’t seem to brown, broil it for three minutes at the end of the baking time to make it brown and crispy. You can also add a crusty texture by sprinkling bread crumbs on the mash before baking. Jazz it up even more by making criss-cross lines on the top with a fork. Again, not a deal-breaker but nice to have. 

Storage Instructions

Turkey shepherd’s pie can be kept and enjoyed over a few days, so you can rest knowing that you have comfort food within reach. Whether you are making this dish in advance as meal prep or storing leftovers, follow these storage instructions to keep your shepherd’s pie fresh. 

To chill leftovers: Ensure the leftovers have completely cooled to room temperature before keeping them in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, microwave it in 5-minute increments until the filling has warmed up. 

To freeze/make ahead: Assemble the pie either in a large baking dish or smaller individual dishes. Do not bake. Ensure the pie filling and mashed potato have completely cooled to prevent them from spoiling. Freeze for up to 2 months and thaw overnight before serving. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375°F. 

Easy Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie with Ground Turkey Recipe | cookingwithcassandra.com

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

A classic fall recipe made healthier, this sweet potato shepherd’s pie is filled with lean ground turkey and topped with mashed sweet potato.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt & pepper

The Filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 ½ lbs lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cup frozen peas defrosted
  • 1 ½ cup frozen corn defrosted

Instructions

  • Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. About 12 minutes.
  • Drain and mash, then season with salt, pepper, sour cream, butter and Italian seasoning blend.
  • While sweet potatoes are boiling, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or so.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the meat is cooked through.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and broth. Simmer for a few minutes until the liquid is reduced, then stir in the peas and corn.
  • Spread the meat mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish or a rectangle baking dish. Add mashed sweet potatoes on top and spread it evenly all the way to the sides.
  • Bake until the potatoes are just starting to brown, about 25-30 minutes. Rest, then serve.

Hi, I’m Cassandra!

I’m a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin’ Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up for free recipes straight to your inbox:

Free E-Cookbook!

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Subscribe & receive my favourite 10 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes in an easy e-cookbook format!

You Might Also Like

Flourless Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Chocolate chip muffins | cookingwithcassandra.com

These gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffins are the perfect snack food that you can gobble down in two bites. While I’d happily reach for these in the morning for a quick breakfast, I can totally picture this being wrapped up in a box and shipped as a Mother’s Day treat as well.  And this isn’t one of those desserts that the elderly would want to stay away from. They’re so healthy that it can be enjoyed by anyone – kids or adults. They’re free from refined flour. Instead, it uses old-fashioned oats and also has coconut oil. It is naturally sweetened by chocolate chips, bananas and...

How to Make French Toast

French toast with Syrup and Strawberries  | cookingwithcassandra.com

French toast is a breakfast staple, though I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying it throughout the entire day. It’s yummy even at teatime or as an after-dinner sweet treat. This easy French toast recipe has soft Brioche bread soaked in an egg mixture that is milky and sweet which is then pan-fried with butter.  Whether you are making French toast for two or twelve, this recipe is so quick and easy that it won’t feel like cooking at all. Read on for a no-nonsense guide on how to make french toast.  What is the Best Bread to use for French Toast?  This French toast recipe...

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Chicken Noodle Soup | cookingwithcassandra.com

I don’t remember the last time I was able to say the words ‘chicken noodle soup’ without triggering a catchy song in the back of my mind. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go listen to the Korean Pop song, Chicken Noodle Soup by BTS and Becky G, which pretty much took over the world in 2019.  Real talk now, I’ve got a no-frills, easy chicken noodle soup recipe that will melt in your mouth. Every spoonful has tender cooked veggies, soft shredded chicken, and a heartwarming chicken broth. Oh, and noodles, of course, but more on that later. This one-pot chicken soup is healthy...

Easy Sheet Pan Nachos Recipe

Sheet pan nachos | cookingwithcassandra.com

You NEED to make these easy sheet pan nachos for your next game day. They are sure to be a hit. With the crispiest tortilla chips and the most amazing beef-olive-tomato toppings, these loaded nachos are seriously addictive.  Whether you’re entertaining friends or family, I recommend you wait for everyone to get to the party before arriving. Two reasons: 1) everyone will get to enjoy it when it’s piping hot and the cheese is still gooey; 2) the nachos will be gone so quickly that latecomers may not even get a taste. Talk about party favorites!  To make these nachos, all you have...

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @cookingwithcassandra on Instagram and hashtag it #cookingwithcassandra

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Hi, I'm Cassandra!

I'm a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin' Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up for free recipes straight to your inbox:

Free E-Cookbook!

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Subscribe & receive my favourite 10 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes in an easy e-cookbook format!

Jujeh kabab - Eating | cookingwithcassandra.com

Get the Inside

Scoop

Be the first to receive free e-books, recipes, inspiration, and exclusive extras you won’t want to miss!

FREE E-COOKBOOK10 Quick & Easy Dinners Recipes

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Get our newest recipes, exclusive content PLUS our 10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes to get you started!

FREE E-COOKBOOK10 Quick & Easy Dinners Recipes

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Get our newest recipes, exclusive content PLUS our 10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes to get you started!