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Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie Recipe That’s Paleo and Perfect For Fall

Fall is officially in the house!

  fall 2014

In case you missed it, I’m a huge fall fan! It’s probably my favorite season. Something about the leaves changing, the smell of crisp morning air, and of course the leggings/boots/scarves/over-sized sweaters just does it for me. But it’s not the clothes and changes in nature I love—fall food is definitely something I look forward to as well!

Sometimes I feel like the Paleo/Primal lifestyle is pretty much meant for fall. With all grains being off limits, squashes and root veggies are one of the few sources of complex carbohydrate available. And what better time to eat butternut squash than in the colder months like now?

Last night, I was really craving something warm, hearty, and comfort-foody to say the least. I was talking with a friend about making butternut squash lasagna. But since I also don’t do dairy, this too would’ve been difficult. I decided instead to make my version of a shepherd’s pie.

Why Is This Shepherd’s Pie Recipe So Healthy?

Although by no means is this a traditional recipe, this shepherd’s pie recipe is actually really good for you and full of nutrients! Traditional shepherd’s pie recipes use ground beef that’s high in saturated fat and white potatoes that rank very high on the glycemic index (GI). I decided to give this shepherd’s pie a bit of a makeover. Instead of white potatoes, this shepherd’s pie is loaded with vitamin A from butternut squash which is just as creamy and decadent as mashed potatoes. Instead of ground beef, I actually made a turkey meat sauce with tomatoes and mushrooms to add some vitamin C and lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in foods like tomatoes and watermelon.

One last note about the meat sauce for this recipe. I actually used a batch from my freezer that I had made a few weeks ago. This saved me a  lot of time, but there are plenty of ways you could do this. As long as your meat sauce is chunky and thick (not too runny), you could definitely use a frozen sauce. If not, I highly recommend making the sauce from scratch. This way, you’ll avoid excess sugar, artificial preservatives, and other nasty ingredients that could be lurking in your store-bought tomato sauce.

paleo shepherd's pie

Print Recipe
Butternut Squash Paleo Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut the butternut squash in half down the middle. Remove seeds and rub each half with one tablespoon of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste (note; salt and pepper not listed in ingredients). Bake face down at 350 for 50 minutes or until it can easily be pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pot saute the remaining oil with the onions and garlic. Brown the ground turkey, draining as needed. When meat is fully cooked, add the tomato products, mushrooms, and Italian spice blend. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes. You want the sauce to be pretty thick and chunky (not very runny). Continue simmering the sauce until it reaches this consistency.
  3. Remove cooked squash from the oven. Peel and mash with a fork and set aside. Spread the sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Top with even spoonfuls of smashed butternut squash and spread evenly over the meat sauce. Top with nutritional yeast, spreading evenly. Sprinkle walnuts and dried cranberries over the pan evenly.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving,
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