Shepherd’s pie (or cottage pie as some call it) could be the very definition of comfort food. It’s the type of dish that when you eat, would transport you to your very best memories with your grandma, who made it especially for you, and you have nothing else to worry about except when the next meal time would be.
Basically, it’s like that moment in the movie Ratatouille when the food critic takes a bit of the Ratatouille dish.
If you want to be transported back to the good old times, here are several recipes for Shepherd’s pie with some other variations for when you feel a little bit adventurous with your taste buds.
1. First off, we salute the classic!
Before we start with the other variations, why don’t we start with the classic? By that, we meant the traditional way of cooking Shepherd’s pie, with the cooked minced meat of your choice (in this case, beef), mashed potatoes on top, and the savory gravy that blankets everything in its goodness. Now, that’s comfort food!
2. Sharing the best comfort food with our vegan friends
Not everyone can eat meat or dairy, whether by choice or because of certain allergies and other health-related risks. Since the classic Shepherd’s pie recipe has meat, many of our vegan friends won’t be able to enjoy it. But thanks to this vegan recipe, the “meat” portion can be enjoyed by everyone.
3. Cow? No. Pig? No. Guinea Fowl? YES!
We’re now in the territory of variations of Shepherd’s pie recipe. And we’re starting with a rather unusual protein: a small guinea fowl. While this small bird is often consumed roasted, you can use it as the meat filling for your pie. This recipe even uses the legs!
4. Cheesy goodness with your Shepherd’s pie!
We all know that potatoes and cheese go perfectly well together. So, if you want your comfort food to feel much more comforting, here’s a recipe for a cheesy Shepherd’s pie. It’s an additional layer to the flavors, making your pie creamier and smoother.
5. No oven? Here’s how to make Shepherd’s pie with a skillet!
Have you ever experienced wanting to make some food, but you realized you don’t have an oven and the recipe calls for it? You might actually be thinking of making a Shepherd’s pie. But worry no more since you can make this comfort food with just a skillet.
6. Mini lentils for more guilt-free eating!
Although Shepherd’s pie is definitely not the unhealthiest of comfort foods, some still find it a little too much for their diets. But if it changes anything, you can add mini lentils to your recipe so you feel more guilt-free with every bite. Plus, it adds a certain nuttiness and earthiness to your pie for a little more flavor.
7. Slow cooked for more flavor
There’s something about slow cooking that makes dishes tastier. So, if you want your Shepherd’s pie to have more distinct layers of flavor, you can use a slow cooker to make one. This is also another option if you don’t have an oven to bake it.
8. A little bit of sweetness and a healthier version with sweet potatoes
Yes, white potatoes are still healthy. But sweet potatoes are often touted as the healthier version of their cousin. But besides that, sweet potatoes are a great sub for potatoes as they add a little more sweetness to your Shepherd’s pie. It’s definitely a different flavor profile than the classic recipe.
9. Freezer friendly recipe to cut the cooking time
Let’s be honest, nobody has all the time in the world, and not everyone always has an hour to spend on prepping and cooking food. Unfortunately, Shepherd’s pie usually takes an hour or so to make. But good thing is, there are freezer-friendly recipes like this one that allow you to make them ahead of time and heat (or re-heat) when it’s time to serve it.
10. A vegetarian Shepherd’s pie recipe for better inclusivity
We’ve said this time and again: some people just don’t eat meat. This recipe is made for all vegetarians (not to be confused with a vegan recipe that doesn’t use any dairy products), complete with veggies and mushrooms as a meat substitute. Even non-vegetarians would love this yummy Shepherd’s pie recipe!
11. Counting calories? Here’s another guilt-free Shepherd’s pie recipe with cauliflower
Potatoes are rather heavy in calories. Even sweet potatoes, which are healthier than white potatoes, share basically the same number of calories. So, if you’re watching your calorie intake, you can use this recipe to make your next batch of Shepherd’s pie. It’s not going to be starchy, but cauliflower does offer a mild sweetness to your pie, so it’s still a win-win situation.
12. Shepherd’s pie ala Gordon Ramsay, minus the swear words
Despite his reputation, Gordon Ramsay is a great chef and one of the most successful in the world. But while we may not be able to taste the food he makes, we can at least create recipes based on how he makes them. This recipe is one of them. You can now make a Shepherd’s pie like how Ramsay does them, minus all the swearing (but you could, if you want, just for the experience).
13. One pot of gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-carb Shepherd’s pie
When you read all of these frees and less, you wouldn’t really think it would be a tasty dish. But this recipe promises all the health benefits without compromising the taste. You still get the beef, but instead of mashed potatoes, you’ll be using a parsnip puree. It’s definitely a different treat than usual!
14. Sichuan-style Shepherd’s pie: Yes to a little bit of tasty heat!
Sichuan-style food is best known for its variety of flavors. From spicy, savory, a little bit of sweetness, the right kind of saltiness, and often smoky and flowery. You get all of that with this Sichuan-style Shepherd’s pie, combined with the creamy, buttery goodness of mashed potatoes and smooth gravy.
15. Forget about the aesthetics, this upside-down Shepherd’s pie is best for quick preps
The need to layer Shepherd’s pie calls for the extra prepping time. But if you don’t have all the time in the world for the extra step, you can definitely forget about the looks, and focus on the taste. After all, it will start to lose its looks once it’s in your mouth, so what’s the difference?
16. Shepherd’s pie with boneless short rib is the perfect way of using leftovers
Traditional Shepherd’s pie calls for lamb. But since ground beef is easier and, depending on where you are, could be cheaper than lamb meat, it’s the typical choice. But what if you have leftover boneless short ribs from last night’s dinner? It would definitely make a great Shepherd’s pie meat filling that has more flavor and tenderness.
17. This Paraguayan variety has an unexpected mashed potato sub: cassava!
I’m not familiar with Paraguayan delicacies, but this version of Shepherd’s pie that uses yucca aka cassava is a unique but tasty experience. The yucca is also mashed, and it’s enriched with eggs, cheese, and evaporated milk. It has a mild, sweet flavor, and is a little bit grainy.
18. Pub-style Shepherd’s pie that’s best partnered with your favorite beer
Many, if not all, pubs have amazing comfort foods on their menu. That could be one of the reasons why people would go to pubs, for the comfort of people and the comfort of foods and drinks. And this Shepherd’s pie recipe replicates just that. You’ll want to grab a glass of your favorite beer with this one!
19. Two comfort foods in one: Shepherd’s pie twice-baked potatoes
Shepherd’s pie and twice-baked potatoes are two great comfort foods that each would require time to make. So, if you’re craving both, this recipe is the perfect way to have them. You combine two greats with just the prepping time of one, and it’s sure to become a favorite!
20. Adding cheese crusted leeks for cheesiness and sweetness
Most recipes are versatile since you can add ingredients or substitute some. Shepherd’s pie is one of these recipes. For this one, you can add cheese-crusted leeks, which add another layer of flavor to this savory comfort food.
21. Cheesiest, creamiest, most flavorful Shepherd’s pie with this rustic recipe
Have you been making Shepherd’s pie but it’s usually bland? If not bland, the spices are too much that it’s overwhelming? This recipe promises a tasty Shepherd’s pie with just the right combination of flavors.
22. Very MUSH tasty Shepherd’s pie
This is yet another vegetarian version of the classic Shepherd’s pie, but for sure, everyone will still love it despite the lack of meat. That’s thanks to the portobello mushroom, which is best known for being meaty, making it the best veggie sub.
23. Guinness Shepherd’s pie: The perfect comfort food for beer lovers
Shepherd’s pie is already satisfying on its own. But adding a can of Guinness to the mix instantly gives it an earthy flavor and more depth. It balances the flavors, making it a more hearty dish that gives you comfort with every bite.
24. Another tasty (and vibrant) mashed potato sub: pumpkins!
Mashed potatoes are a Shepherd’s pie staple, but changing it from time to time is a great choice to make the taste and experience different. One delicious option is to substitute potatoes with pumpkins. It adds a hint of sweetness and makes the dish look more appetizing.