cottage pie

It doesn’t get more comforting than a creamy casserole like shepherd’s pie, or its cousin “cottage pie” – which is what it is properly called with made with ground beef instead of lamb. Yes, I’m a stickler on that point. Why the heck would a shepherd be eating a pie made with beef? Shepherds herd sheep, not cows!

[I’m sure that my insistence on labeling this paleo shepherd’s pie variation by its proper moniker will cause it to be completely buried in the rankings of the great search engine, but its a penalty I am willing to take to be correct!]

I actually created this recipe several months ago – hence the photographs with the autumnal table decorations – but life has been crazy and therefore I am only now getting around to posting it. It seems like a good time though, because many of my friends in the United States seem to be in sore need of some comfort right now. Regardless of who you voted for, we all can agree that this has been an emotional and tumultuous time that is really testing our sense of decency and the strength of our union. On the one hand, I’m quite worried. We live in the Washington, DC area and we are among the many whose livelihood is dependent on government functioning normally. But on the other hand, I am buoyed by the way I see people banding together to stick up for those whose voices are not usually heard.

But this is not a political blog, so that’s all I will say on that point for now. Instead, I give you food. Good, comforting, nutrient dense, and autoimmune protocol (AIP) friendly cottage pie! This recipe is dairy free, gluten free, and thanks to white sweet potatoes – also nightshade free.

A note on white sweet potatoes… I know they can be hard to find in stores and even produce managers may not know what you are talking about if you ask for them using the term “white sweet potatoes.” If that gets you just blank looks, try asking them to order you some Japanese sweet potatoes, or perhaps Hannah or Jersey sweet potatoes. All of those varieties have white flesh and will work beautifully in this recipe. Or if all else fails, go ahead and use the typical orange sweet potatoes. Either way, it will taste great and that is all that really matters!

Note – I do have a shepherd’s pie recipe on the blog, but it is not AIP. You could use the filling from that recipe and the topping from this one to create a version that is, though!

AIP Cottage Pie Recipe

Cottage Pie (AIP, Paleo)
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Cottage pie is the proper name for a shepherd's pie made from ground beef. Feel free to use lamb in this recipe if you have it. Either way it is 100% AIP compliant and hits all the right notes for comfort food. TIP: White sweet potatoes might be labelled as "Hannah," "Jersey," or "Japanese."
  • 2-3 small white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1-2 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, or other cooking fat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 parsnip, grated
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ cup bone broth, plus more if needed for potatoes
  • additional salt to taste
  1. Boil sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, until very soft. Drain and mash.
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and ½ teaspoon salt. If potatoes are very thick, add up to ¼ cup of broth. Set potatoes aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the beef. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to pan and saute onion, carrot, and parsnip for about 10 minutes, until soft.
  6. Add herbs. Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  7. Add broth and return beef to pan. Stir to combine and salt to taste.
  8. Transfer mixture to a small baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving


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Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.

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