Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie, wait!

Sweet potato topped shepherds pie is gluten free and delicious
Sweet potato topped cottage pie. Gluten-free.

A certain individual living by the mesa has some news. Can you guess? We sold the house. We're moving lock, stock and barrel (in reality, more like Macs, books and UGGS) to Los Angeles, packing up the Honda Fit again to head West and start our new life as Los Angelenos.

I am almost too wired to write.

The quasi-plan is to rent a furnished place for a month. In mid October. Once we're out there, we'll begin our search in earnest for a longer lease- a space we can call our own, not too far from the ocean, I hope. A place with a workable kitchen. Windows. Light. Simple criteria.

As I sort through art books to sell (all the impressionist/landscape books I once mooned over- like a school girl- no longer tug at my attention) I am imagining the new again. I am fueled by the scent of possibility and change and consumed with the urge for going. Three and a half years in the desert have inked their big sky imprint upon me.

I feel as if I sport an invisible tattoo.

Time and distance will reveal the wisdom gained here (if any is to be found). Time and distance will temper the losses. No doubt memory itself will soften the sharp hungers of the everyday isolation and doubt.

Some readers have asked me, What lesson did you need to learn? implying that there is a silver lining to every prickly, dark experience and that if we only embrace The Lesson, we'll be free.

Well, I can answer that. 

I have learned I am not a stoic at heart. Days invested in simply enduring feel like lost days to me. I have learned that loneliness is not a virtue. Or a weakness. It's just a feeling. I have learned that the stark isolation of the desert s not my muse. I miss people watching. I miss chance encounters. I miss the smells of coffee shops and bookstores.

So forgive me if I reprise an archived recipe today. I am distracted beyond the usual- and hungry for comfort food I can make ahead and forget. I'm craving simple soups and casseroles and slow cooked stews. Which explains this new shepherd's pie I threw together. 

With sweet potatoes.

Technically? It's a rancher's pie. Or what some might dub a cottage pie. Though traditional cottage pie recipes favor the combo of peas and carrots. I changed it up with Mediterranean flavors. Does that mean this is a Mediterranean ranch pie?

I'm just digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole, aren't I? 

This sweet potato shepherds pie is like a healthy cottage pie
This sweet potato cottage pie is omnivore comfort food.

Karina's Sweet Potato Cottage Pie Recipe

Not exactly a typical cottage pie. And shepherd implies a lamb. My recipe uses Black Angus beef. Perhaps I should have called this a rancher's pie. Obviously. What was I thinking? Wait. Do rancher's grow zucchini and artichokes?


For the topping:

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A dash of nutmeg
A drizzle of fruity olive oil, to taste
Plain hemp milk (or moo cow milk, if you like), as needed

For the filling:

1.5 pounds ground Black Angus beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 small to medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into pieces
1 cup artichoke hearts, cut up
1 14-oz can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons raw organic agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley or cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the sweet potatoes in a pot of fresh salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until under fork tender and mashable.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch:

Saute the ground Angus beef in a large hot skillet till lightly browned; pour off the fat; return the skillet to the stove. Add in the onions and garlic; stir and cook for five minutes or until the onions are soft.

Add in the zucchini; stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the artichokes and tomatoes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, agave, dried herbs and cinnamon. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced a bit. Remove from heat.

Back to the sweet potatoes:

Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them lightly. Season with sea salt, ground pepper and nutmeg. Drizzle with a little fruity olive oil. Add a couple of tablespoons of hemp milk and stir until smooth and fluffy.

Layer the beef and veggie mixture in a casserole or baking dish (or four individual gratin dishes, like I did).

Top with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until bubbling and hot- about 25 minutes.

Serves 4.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you.

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Karina's Tip:

Obviously, if you don't care for zucchini or artichokes, change them out for veggies you like. Though this combo is delicious with the spicy diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

More Shepherd's Pie Inspired Recipes:

Karina's Veggie Lover's Shepherd's Pie
Elise's Easy Shepherd's Pie at Simply Recipes
Kalyn's Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan and Goat Cheese
I Am Gluten-Free serves Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Susan's vegan Skillet Gardner's Pie at FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Sea's Veggie Pot Pie recipe at Book of Yum



Katerina said...

This sounds so good, I love the use of sweet potatoes and zucchini.

Amber said...

That sounds delicious! It's going on next week's menu. Thanks, Amber

Dianne said...

I would have never thought of this combo, but it looks fabulous together!

I'm ready for warmer food and cooler weather too! I am just not a hot weather person. I'm the geek that likes snowy/cloudy/rainy cold days! :)

Hannah said...

I love artichoke hearts and zucchini...love them. Does the balsamic take the place of more traditional worsteshire sauce (I have no idea how to spell that)? We have been hit with humid and hot weather these past few days and it is cramping the need for some real cooking here. Hot dogs and sauerkraut until this weather breaks, then bring on the bubbling hot meals...thanks!

Cherylharris said...

I've never heard of anything remotely like this. sounds neat!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Shepherd's pie and I have never been too close. Maybe my real love is rancher's pie. And those glorious orange sweet potatoes look irresistible.

seamaiden said...

Ooh, sweet potato shepherd's pie... I'm now daydreaming in sweet potato, thanks to you. We had them last night, actually.

I have two prospects for you... One, my spinach pie with a shepherd's pie version:


Or, alternatively, this is my favorite pot pie--- I seriously dig this recipe:


Hope you like!


PS I am also DONE with hot summers. DONE. We went to the Northwest and it spoiled me. Begone, blazing sun. Begone!!

Katie said...


And I agree - I think sometimes the "transitional" seasons can be the best of them all. A taste of two in one.

Kalyn said...

Wow! Does that sound delicious. I think I've pretty much lost my taste for regular potatoes, but I love sweet potatoes. Thanks for the inspiration of the mashed cauliflower for shepherd's pie too, what a great idea.

Sophie said...

This sounds heavenly. Sweet potatoes are so delicious, and I'm a huge fan of shepherd's pie so this recipe should definitely get a spot in my weekly menu :).

I Am Gluten Free said...

Dang, that sounds good. I love the sweet potato alternative to white potatoes. As soon as I can get myself back into the kitchen, this will be high on my to-try list. Thanks for the inspiration, Karina!

best, Ellen

Lynda said...

I bet this would be good in a vegetarian form, too, just to further shake things up. My daughter loves sweet potato, so I will certainly have a go at this.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

We're having a spate of weather so hot/humid that I can't bear to turn on the oven. But when I do, this recipe will be high on the list.

k said...

Mmmmmmm, my fall tastebuds are tingling. This sounds like a definite must-make. Thanks Karina!

jill elise said...

oh gosh, this looks sooooo good!

glutenfreeforgood said...

Karina -- I'm with you on the seasonal transition from salads to more hearty fare. I am a big fan of grass fed bison, so I'm going to try this rancher's pie of yours, but tweak it a bit. Good idea with the mix of sweet potatoes, zucchini, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and chiles. I put green chiles in almost everything I make, but mixed with artichoke hearts? Never would have thought of it. Very creative! Can't wait to try it. Tonight maybe?
Thanks! And happy chile harvest! :-)

Laura said...

What a great change from the regular fare that can be quite tired. Thanks for the updated ingredients--using the veggies we love.

Monique Attinger said...

I love this recipe... It definitely has me dreaming of the joys of slow cooked food. Since we also cope with both gluten and dairy intolerances in my house, it is also a perfect addition to my family's fall time meals.

In addition, I'll be pointing my allergy blog readers your way, to rediscover their joy in cooking (which is often temporarily lost when a new allergy is discovered.) Your passion and enthusiasm and wit are all welcome spices to each delicious blog posting!

Love your approach to food and writing! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I made this for dinner to night. I did not even attempt to serve it to the kids. They don't like zuccini, sweet potatoes or anything mixed together. They just don't know what they are missing! This was absolutely terrific. My husband and I really loved it! I was dubious about the mix of spices, but figured I would just trust your judgment. I am so glad I did! We have a new favorite.

Karina's Kitchen Fan said...

I made this and found comfort food bliss. The flavor combination was heavenly, thank you so much for sharing this! I'm a huge fan of your recipes and will continue to happily try each and every one.

Cathi said...

I make many dishes from your website. My daughter, Klay Arsenault, put me onto you and it is wonderful to have so many great recipes. I made my version of Shepherd's Pie to accommodate not only my GF diet, but my husband's dairy, eggs, and soy allergies. I seasoned the sweet potato with curry and coriander, put hemp milk in the potatoes and used goat feta for the cheese and it was the absolutely best Shepherd's Pie I have ever made!

BC said...

I made this last night and am looking forward to my leftovers for lunch. My teenagers claimed that this was the weirdest casserole they'd ever had. More for me!

City Girl said...

So very happy you sold the house :) And lovely recipe too :)

Sean said...

I am so burstingly happy for you! Congratulations!

Momat32 said...

Alleluia on the house sale!!

This recipe sounds scrumptious and healthy too. I'm so glad you are including meat-based recipes on your site. I feel much healthier when I eat meat along with my veg.

fibrofood said...

Hooray for selling the house!! I'm happy for you all. Here's to easy packing (yeah, right) and clear sailing.

Hänni said...

Well if you were going to reprise a recipe, this is a great one though I am *incredibly* fond of your turkey meatloaf version.

Congratulations of your move to the sunshine state.

Anonymous said...

Hello Karina,
Congratulations! I've been in your house-selling situation a couple of times...and the waiting can be literally painful. How thrilling that you will soon be free to fly away and find a new nest!
I am new to this gluten-free thing....and so grateful for you, your blog, and your wonderful recipes.
Enjoy your new adventure!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm. Sounds wonderful. I just found your site and some new inspriation! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I'm new to the GF lifestyle... diagnosed 1 week ago with Celiac Disease.

I love your site! I'm addicted to cooking so I am trying my best to look at this overwhelming diagnosis as a fabulous cooking adventure!

I have the tummy flu and was hoping to make my old Chicken 'n Dumplings... but Gluten! Do you know a GF way of making dumplings?

You rock! Thanks- Nikki

lisa (dandysugar) said...

What a delicious shepards pie! I'm new to gluten-free cooking and baking, and I've been loving reading through your blog. I can't wait to give some of these a try. Good luck with the move!

Kalyn said...

How exciting! I am so happy for you and excited that margarita together in LA may soon become a reality.

Andrea said...

I'm truly happy for you. Best wishes for an easy move and a new adventure in life.


great recipe - and welcome to los angeles!

Devorah said...

Congratulations on selling the house!!
I just dug some peach muffins out of the freezer-- made with your peach cake recipe-- and they were delicious, as usual.

~M said...

Mazal tov! I'm so happy for you and Steve!

annielaurie said...

congrats on the sale of the house. i know that's been hanging around your neck like an albatross.

the cottage/rancher's pie looks fab. i came here tonight to see if i could find some nice slow cooked autumn inspired recipe's for the week. thanks!!

MeetaK said...

karina - wishing you all the best for your new venture. like the priorities you set for the new home "workable kitchen. Windows. Light." a true foodie/photographer LOL! i have made shepherd's pie using sweet potatoes on a few occasions what i like here is the addition of zucchini. got to try that!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the sale and new beginn!! Wishing you safe travels plus inspiration and healing in LA!

Spring said...

Ooo, I am going to try this one with lentils instead of beef! Can't wait to taste it! Yay, on your house selling! I have been in a "for sale" house for nearly two years myself, and just finally went under contract...praying your freeing wind of favor blows THIS way! :)

tastyeatsathome said...

I'm so excited that you've sold the house! Woohoo! Congrats.

I love the sound of this dish. Wish the hubby liked sweet potatoes. I'd whip this up in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on selling the house! I sympathize with your need to get out of Northern NM. My Santa Fe house has been on the market to no avail (right near Sanbusco on Alta Vista St. if any one is interested!) and I just couldn't wait another brittle day and left. Your house-selling woes, desert challenges (the stark beauty feeds some but starves others....), and perfect allergy-free recipes have resonated with me and my family. Thank you. All best in your new ocean-infused LA phase.

Jennifer K said...

Karina, what a sense of relief you must feel. You've been set free!!


Anonymous said...

This looks like a great dinner! I can't wait to try it out. I miss the energy of the city as well, it's been two years out now and i feel my creativity seeping away slowly... so excited that you are headed back to more inspiration!

judie said...

i am so happy for you Karina. Get packing, we can wait for new recipes.Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on selling your house. Now you can go forward. I am happy for you.

moonwatcher said...

Dear Karina,

Congratulations on the sale of the house! (Finalmente, as my Italian Dad would say--this is to go with the Mediterranean style Shepherd's or Rancher's or Cottage Pie, whatever we put in it!) I am very happy for you--here's to a new future by the ocean, in the city, amongst people again . . all the best to you and Steve with your move--



Anonymous said...

My gosh, I am soooo happy for you. I am not a big desert fan (not as in the appliance) either. Thank the gods and goddesses that you will be by water once again. Sigh.

You have made my day.


Lisa said...

CONGRATULATIONS from the bottom of my ocean-hungering kindred-spirit heart!

GF Grannie said...

This recipe looks wonderful, can't wait to try it. Congrats on the selling of your house. Praying for safe travel to your new location and the finding of new living quarters.
My son lives in Santa Monica and he loves it. Maybe when I go out to visit with him sometime, we could meet for a gluten free lunch! All the best to you and yours.

KitchenTherapy said...

I understand how the ocean keeps pulling people back. Congratulations, and happy home hunting!

Karen said...

Awesome news on the house! It took alot of patience but you did it!

Betsy said...

I am so happy for you! Being closer to your boys has immeasurable rewards! I will also make this wonderful dish when the temperature here gets below 100 and I can stand to put the oven on.

barb said...

I'm glad you sold the house and are going home to your boys. Thanks for writing about your experience. Love the Shepperd's pie.

SusanV said...

I am so happy for you! I know it's a huge relief. I hope you find everything you want and need in your new city.

Anonymous said...


Just discovered your blog today through Simply Recipes. This pie looks to-die-for delicious. But as a GF newbie, I wonder what the agave nectar actually does? Hmm. I'll browse around your website to see if there's more on this new-to-me ingredient. Well, actually I've heard of agave in connection to the making of tequila, but clearly nectar is something totally different. I look forward to reading more of your recipes and musings. Good luck with your move!

Karina Allrich said...

Thanks, everyone! You're the best. We are very relieved, excited (you name it, we're feelin' it). xox

As for the agave nectar- good question!

Raw agave nectar is a vegan sweetener derived from the agave cactus. It behaves much like honey. It is low glycemic. Used in modest amounts in cooking it imparts a gentle sweetness to sauces and spicy, savory dishes. In baking it adds moisture to (often dry) gluten-free baked goods- if you don't use too much; too much creates a dense final product, I find.


Anonymous said...

Hooray! Congratulations on selling the casita. :) I hope you have an uneventful move and enjoy your new locale.

Thanks for the Shepard Pie riff, next Thursday it has my name written all over it.

~Jenn Scott from Forest Grove, Oregon

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Oh my goodness, this looks SO fabulous! Can you just open a resturaunt?? I'll come, I promise! ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is a really good recipe. We made this several times last fall.

Anke said...


I am soooo happy for you :-)

Misty said...

Congrats on selling the house and starting the move! I love the idea of a sheperd's pie type dish topped with sweet potatoes rather than the usual mashed.

Kat said...

This looks wonderful Karina! I came to your site today to get the recipe for your beef in pomegranate sauce, one of the first recipes I read of yours. I have been wanting to make this dish for over a year and a half and am finally getting to it. Exited...:-)
However, now I want to make this sweet potato sheppard's pie recipe. I may do it this week and substitute ground turkey, since we will have our share of beef with the beef in pom recipe. Thank you Karina. And congratulations on the house sale and moving back to LA. I live by the water in No CA and love being close to the ocean.

Ann said...

I made this last night, and it was mmm, mmm good! I really like the artichoke hearts, I think they lent a certain sweetness. I made it in a baking dish, but I think next time I will either use a smaller dish or the gratin dishes to give it more depth.

On another note, I made the move from NM to LA six years ago! We had some tough moments, but I have truly learned to love LA. Welcome!

Lauren said...

Karina, I love this! Just wanted to thank you, and to congratulate you on selling your house. It's been a long time in coming, huh? I made this with mashed squash, and extra 1/2 lb of beef, and a little grassfed cheddar sprinkled on top. Thank you soooo much! It's so nice to have lower carb colorful comfort food like this. I am always happy to see meat containing recipes here, as I know you like to cater to vegans. YOU ROCK! :) Best of luck with your moving, Karina.

Danielle said...

Hi Karina,
I am starting to cook...realizing I need to start someday...so far I've made your roasted corn chowder with chicken and cilantro, pumpkin corn muffins, and your carrot soup...although I added two apples instead of apple juice to avoid sugar...pureed it and it came out amazing...
I had a question...I am going to attempt your brown sugar glazed turkey meatloaf and was wondering if I could use the leftover meatloaf to make this sheperds pie recipe...what do you think...? Thank you for this amazing website...I tell everyone about it since I work at a chiropractors office and we know about being gluten free!

Karina Allrich said...

Danielle- Thanks so much! I think leftover meatloaf would be fab in this pie. Absolutely. Yes.


Michaele said...

I made this over the weekend and it was absolutely scrumptious! I made it with 2 15oz cans of black beans instead of the beef and was perfect. I also added some baby bella mushrooms, a cayenne pepper (seeded)and a few pinches of red pepper flakes. I'm from Louisiana and we like things spicey down here! My husband and I scarfed the entire thing down in a few days! Yummy! We used your pumpkin corn muffins to wipe our plates clean! Thanks so much for all of your creative ideas and keep 'em coming! Cheers, Michaele

~M said...

Do you ever make a shepherd's/cottage pie using leftover pot roast meat for day 2 like you made your meatloaf and meatloaf pie? Please share details - or the entire recipe! :)

Josie said...

I just made this and it was exceptional!

Karina Allrich said...

Michaela, and Josie- Thanks so much!

~M- I haven't but that sounds delicious! Just follow the basic recipe and use leftover pot roast, shredded into bites. Add the sauce if you have it.

xox Karina

Sarah said...

I have been gluten free for almost a year now, and it has been really hard on my mom (I'm 17), who might i add is always on the go with our school activities and sports, to come up with good, healthy recipes to make. Just when she thought she had it down, my sister goes dairy free. She had no clue what to make us! With her constant on-the-go lifestyle, and our picky eating habits, my sister and I ended up eating out every night. That, or picking through our pantry and fridge, trying to find something we can make individually for ourselves. I noticed i was gaining a few extra pounds with all the fast food outings, so today I decided to look up some gluten and dairy free recipes, and stumbled across your site. Looking through all the recipes, i found this one and thought it might be good. My mom made it and let me tell you, "good" is a major understatement. I thought i had died and gone to heaven! Something healthy shouldn't taste this good, right? Wrong! It was DELICIOUS. My brother and I love sweet potatoes, but my sister and mom HATE them. (On thanksgiving they wont even go near the sweet potato pie loaded with cinnamon, sugar, and marshmallows!) But they LOVED this recipe, that's saying something.

I want to thank you for creating this site with all these wonderful recipes!
We will definitely be coming back for more

Karina Allrich said...

Sarah, Thank you for stopping by to share your story! You made my day. I'm so glad you found my blog. Give my best to your Sis, Mom and Dad. xox Karina

The Daily Lito said...

Just a note... as I'm allergic to tomatoes (as well as my son being gluten- and casein-intolerant) I substituted pumpkin for tomato. Works great

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