Traditional Cottage Pie is a meat pie with a mashed potato topping. But today I’ve got a healthy low carb twist on the classic for you.

We’re subbing ground turkey for the beef, and topping it off with a creamy cauliflower mash that’s loaded with garlic and cheese!

The fresh ingredients in this cottage pie recipe make it’s flavor that much more outstanding. The best part is, it most definitely feels like comfort food, but won’t load you up on carbs.

If you’re looking for low carb recipes or keto friendly dinners, this is worth your time!

cottage pie with cauli mash in a white 9x13 dish garnished with parmesan cheese and parsley

This is a great all around comfort dish, and we typically eat it on or around St. Patricks Day. Be sure to see my entire collection of St. Patricks Day recipes!

It’s similar to Shepherd’s pie, but I’m not sure the kids would’ve noticed if I didn’t tell them. They did not miss the carbs!

Is Cottage Pie Healthy?

“Healthy” is such a broad term, isn’t it? So I think a better question is “Is it healthy for you?”. Some would argue that ground turkey is healthier than ground beef, but, it depends. What’s the meat/fat ratio? And is the ground turkey white meat or dark or a blend? All of that makes a difference.

And what about white potatoes? Perfectly fine if you are not on a low carb diet. However, if you are, there are better for you options.

And then there’s the cheese. Some people would say cheese is fattening, but again, it depends on what’s best for your body and your needs.

So, in my opinion, using fresh all natural, real food ingredients, yes, this recipe is healthy! We’re using lean meat, no white starches, garlic, vegetables, and fresh herbs.

ingredients for low carb cottage pie, ground turkey, cauliflower, onion, garlic, peas, carrots, cheese, broth, tomato paste

How to make low carb cottage pie

Cottage pie with cauliflower mash comes together in a few easy steps.

Step one: Prepare the cauli mash

  • Place the cauliflower florets in a large sauce pan with the garlic, and just cover with water.
  • Heat until boiling, then cover, lower the heat, and cook for 10 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Strain the cauliflower and garlic, and place in a food processor
  • Add butter, cream cheese salt, & pepper, and process until smooth. Set aside.

Step two: Prepare the filling

  • Saute’ the onions in olive oil until translucent
  • Add the ground turkey, and brown it while breaking it up with a wooden spoon or meat chopper.
  • Add peas, carrots, and garlic, stir. Then add tomato paste, rosemary, salt, pepper, and flour and stir again to blend
  • Add the broth, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
cottage pie filling in cast iron skillet.

Step three: Bake

  • Pour the filling into a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  • Carefully spread the mashed cauliflower on top
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Add freshly grated parmesan cheese and bake another 5 minutes (optional).
  • Garnish with fresh parsley (optional).
cottage pie with cauli flower mash in a 9x 13 dish before being baked.
How do you keep cottage pie topping from sinking?

If the topping is sinking, it’s probably that both the topping (whether potato or cauliflower), and the filling, are too warm. So they just kind of melt into each other.

If the topping is sinking, it’s probably that both the topping (whether potato or cauliflower), and the filling, are too warm. So they just kind of melt into each other.

If you follow the instructions in this post, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Freezing Instructions

For best results, make the topping, then the filling, and let them completely cool. Then put the pie together, cover well, and freeze.

To reheat Cottage Pie, you have two options:

option 1:

  • allow the pie to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

option 2:

  • Bake the pie from frozen. Cover it with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

Side Dish Serving suggestions

I always get stuck on the side dishes with casserole dinners, because they are all inclusive, they have all the food groups.  Here’s my suggestions:

  1. a garden salad (you can never have too many greens and veggies, right?)
  2. fruit salad, or just fresh fruit. One of our fav’s is cut up fresh fruit topped with vanilla yogurt.
  3. A green salad that contains fruit, like this salad with blackberries and pears. Or as you see pictured, a simple spinach salad with strawberries and toasted walnuts.

If you need to dress your salads, here’s some homemade salad dressings that only take a few minutes to make. We also love blueberry balsamic dressing.

plate with helping of cottage pie made with ground turkey and cauli mash, with a side salad

Variations

  • If you’re making a smaller amount, you can skip the 9 x 13 pan and use an 8 x 8, or just bake it all in a cast iron pan. I’d recommend this if you actually are using a cast iron pan or oven safe pan to cook your meat and vegetables in.  Yay for less mess!
  • you can make this a more traditional cottage pie by using ground beef. Or, make it Shepherd’s pie by using ground lamb.
  • Gluten free? Use a gluten free flour, a corn starch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1 tbsp cold water), or 1 teaspoon xantham gum instead of the flour. It is such a small amount that for the carb factor I don’t count it.
  • Dairy free? Skip the butter and cheese! The cauliflower mash will still taste great. Or use your favorite dairy free substitute
  • To lighten it further, use non fat plain greek yogurt in place of the cream cheese in the topping.

More Low Carb Recipes

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Low Carb Cottage Pie Recipe

📋 Recipe

plate with helping of cottage pie made with ground turkey and cauli mash, with a side salad

Low Carb Cottage Pie

A healthy twist on a classic, we made this delicious meat pie with ground turkey, fresh vegetables, and a creamy cauliflower mash topping loaded with garlic and cheese. It will not disappoint. True comfort food without the carbs!
4.50 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 344kcal

Ingredients

Low Carb Cottage Pie Ingredients

    For the Cauliflower mash topping

    • 1.5 heads cauliflower cut into medium florets
    • 10 cloves garlic peeled
    • 4 tbsp butter
    • 4 ounces l/3 less fat cream cheese
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper

    For The Filling

    • 1 tbs olive oil
    • 1 onion chopped
    • 2 lbs lean ground turkey 93/7 preferred
    • 2 cups peas and carrots frozen blend
    • 1 tsp fresh rosemary minced
    • 2 cloves garlic pressed
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 tbsp flour
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken bone broth or chicken broth or chicken stock
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated (optional garnish)
    • parsley optional garnish

    Instructions

    Make Cauliflower Mash

    • Place the cauliflower florets in a large sauce pan with the garlic, and just cover with water.
    • Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and cook for 10 minutes, or until fork tender. 
    • Strain the cauliflower and garlic, and place in a food processor
    • Add butter, cream cheese salt, & pepper, and process until smooth. Set aside.

    Make the Filling

    • Saute' the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the ground turkey, and brown it while breaking it up with a wooden spoon or meat chopper. Drain if necessary.
    • Add peas, carrots, and garlic, stir. Then add tomato paste, rosemary, salt, pepper, and flour and stir again to blend
    • Add the broth, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
    • Pour the filling into a lightly greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. 
    • Carefully spread the mashed cauliflower on top. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes
    • Add freshly grated parmesan cheese and bake another 5 minutes (optional). Garnish with fresh parsley (optional).

    Notes

    Gluten Free Option: Use gluten free flour, almond flour, cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch with 1 tbs water), or 1 tsp xantham gum in place of the flour.
    Dairy Free Option:  Eliminate the butter and cheese from the topping. It will still taste great. Or substitute with your favorite dairy free option.
    To lighten the recipe further:  Use plain non fat Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese.
    Make it more traditional by using ground beef instead of ground turkey.
    Don’t have a food processor? No problem, you can mash the cauliflower in a blender, a stand mixer, or an old fashioned potato masher. 
    You may need to mash your cauliflower in two batches, depending on the size of your food processor.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 790mg | Potassium: 777mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3750IU | Vitamin C: 62.3mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 2.6mg
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    2 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I made this low-carb cottage pie and froze it to have when company came when I knew we would be very busy. It froze well and baked up beautifully. Next time I may use ground beef as I like the flavor better, but this one was delicious. I was skeptical of the cauliflower topping… I don’t care for cauliflower, plus I thought I was using way too much garlic, but blended with the meat portion the flavors were just right. The butter and cream cheese give the cauliflower more body… In the future I might use a little more cream cheese.