Home / Real Food Recipes Blog / Beef / Healthy Butternut Squash Shephard’s Pie

Healthy Butternut Squash Shephard’s Pie


I recently went out to lunch with my mom and all my sisters and my mom was telling all of us that she had the best dinner at her favorite restaurant the other day. She proceeded to tell us it was shephard’s pie and that I must experiment and come up with a “paleo healthy version” for my website because she wants to make it right away.

Yes ma’am, I’m on it! I love challenges and this was no exception. I went home that night and got to work. I was wondering what I was going to use for the topping when I spotted a beautiful butternut squash staring right at me begging to be used. I thought the slightly sweet squash would pair so well with the savory meat and vegetables and boy was I was right.

After a few experiments and taste tests from my mom, we came up with a healthier version of the traditional comfort food that I think you’ll love. 

Now in full disclosure, I normally do not care for shephard’s pie. I mean, I’ll eat it, but it’s never been anything to get really excited about. But this version took me by surprise. The flavor was phenomenal and I loved it. I even had it for lunch and dinner the next day. I rarely eat leftovers so this is kind of a big deal.

My mom even said she now has a new favorite dinner and this healthy version is even better than the restaurant version. Mission accomplished!

 Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

6 servings


 1 ½ lbs grass-fed ground beef

1-2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil or other fat of choice

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 turnip, chopped

6 oz mushrooms, sliced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons all natural ketchup (I use THIS)

3 tablespoons all natural worcestershire sauce (I use THIS)

2 cups chicken stock or broth

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

heaping ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

salt and pepper

1 butternut squash or 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks

1 tsp additional minced garlic

3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

¼ teaspoon additional smoked paprika

sea salt and pepper


 Preheat oven to 400.

Place your butternut squash chunks into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain and place back into the pot. Add butter, garlic, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Blend or mix until combined and creamy. Set aside.

Brown meat in a skillet over medium high heat. Try not to completely crumble the ground beef – you want to leave mostly larger, about 1 inch, chunks in there.Once browned, remove the beef from skillet, but leave in the beef fat. Add 1-2 tablespoons butter or fat of choice, if necessary and lower heat to medium. Saute onion for about a minute. Add in celery, carrots, turnip and garlic for 10 minutes. Add in mushrooms and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Add in salt and pepper, smoked paprika, ketchup, worcestershire and browned beef and stir.

Mix the arrowroot powder and chicken stock together until combined. Pour the chicken stock mixture into the skillet with the beef and vegetables. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Pour the meat mixture into a baking pan or a 13×9 pan. Spread the butternut squash mash all over the meat mixture until the meat is fully covered. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Check Also

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

How to Make Snow Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

Learn how to make ice cream using fresh snow! It's delicious, fun and it's only 2 ingredients! Dairy and dairy free recipe included.


  1. Avatar

    I had all the ingredients, except the turnip so I just left it out and added a few more mushrooms, so I made this last night and it was a huge hit with the family! The best paleo shephard’s pie I’ve made so far. It will go in our winter rotation. Thank you!

    • Primally Inspired

      So glad to hear that, Mariah! Sometimes I don’t have the turnip on hand either and I do the same thing 😉 But a lot of times I buy turnips just so I can make this! So happy you all enjoyed it – thanks for the comment!

  2. Avatar

    My sister told me about this website. She said everything she’s made so far on it has been really great. I checked several of your earlier posts and it all looks really good. Continue to keep up the very good recipes. I can’t wait to try this one in particular. We love shephard’s pie.

  3. Avatar

    I’ve always called this dish LEFTOVER PIE, because my mom would only make it when she had leftover cooked veggies and leftover mashed potatoes… your version looks a lot better! 🙂

  4. Avatar

    I made this last night and it was amazing! My hubby loved it! My kids HATE mushrooms, but I chopped them up really small and hoped they wouldn’t notice. And they didn’t!!! They gobbled it right up and asked for 2nds! Gotta love that!

  5. Avatar

    Would I be able to make ahead of time and just put in oven when needed? (Assemble in morning, refrigerate and cook after work for dinner?)

  6. Avatar

    This was AWESOME! Wonderful flavor. Seriously could eat and eat and eat this. I will for sure keep this in my rotation. Thanks so much!

  7. Avatar

    Kind of new to Paleo, do you know if rutabega is allowed? It might be a good substitute for turnips if so. It’s sort of my white potato sub for now, unless and until I find out it’s a problem veg. 😉

  8. Avatar

    Would it be possible to use Jicama in this recipe?

  9. Avatar

    This was soooo good!! I used ground bison instead of ground beef. The best shepherd’s pie I have ever made or tasted. Thank you. I will share it on my Facebook page if that is OK.

  10. Avatar

    I made this last night and it was a sloppy, soupy mess. I think it was because of the broth. In the 10 minutes additional cook time after the broth/arrowroot powder mixture has been added to the meat and veggies, is the liquid supposed to mostly cook off and evaporate? Flavors were good though, so we’re just pretending it’s stew!

  11. Avatar

    I got all the ingredients to make this…well, I’m trying to chop my butternut squash (first time ever buying this). Is it suppose to be so hard? I can’t even cut it, it’s so hard…LOL! How do you do it?? Thanks for your recipes!!

    • Primally Inspired

      ugh I hear you! It’s such a pain to cut!!! I usually end up putting mine in the oven (at 400 degrees) for about 10 -15 minutes (or more if needed) to soften it up so it cuts easier! Hope that helps 🙂

      • Avatar

        Thank you! I’m making it again (it’s been too long!)…I was wondering also with the butternut squash, do you cut the skin off of it and throw it away or do you use it? I’m not sure so for now, I’ll throw it away but if you can, I would love to! Anything that adds extra nutrients is a plus but want to make sure that’s what you do too! Thank you!!!!!

  12. Avatar

    Could you tell me the calorie content?

  13. Avatar

    Heading out to buy the final products to test this awesome dish…family and friends and waiting…Supper time! ;-D Thank you for sharing and your website. Aye! Capt. Rick.

  14. Avatar

    This dish was a hit with whole family including my 8 and 9 YO’s 🙂 they rated it as a definite make again! Thanks for the awesome meal ideas, love your site.

  15. Avatar

    My family lives this recipe! Especially my husband.
    I have made this 5 times (today is my 5th). This is a once a month meal in our household.

  16. Avatar

    This is currently cooking and my kitchen smells amazing! Not tasted it yet but I can’t wait for dinner tonight, especially after reading all the amazing reviews! Cottage pie is one of my favourite winter staples so I hope this is better than the standard variety I ate pre-paleo!

  17. Avatar

    Has anyone tried this recipe without Arrowroot powder? I forgot to buy it at the store and am making it now! Thanks!

  18. Avatar
    Pamella Sealander

    Does this freeze well? I want to make it ahead of time and take it to the beach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *