Bacon Shepherd’s Pie (gluten-free + paleo)

Bacon Shepherd's Pie #glutenfree #paleoShepherd’s pie (also known as cottage pie) layered with sauteed beef, bacon and veggies in a smoked sauce, topped with garlic mashed cauliflower and baked until crisp.

I’m not eating many potatoes these days…

Not because I don’t love them (because, wow, do I love potatoes) but because when I pop, the fun just don’t stop.

French fries, potato chips, mashed potatoes… I just go crazy when I’m around them! After I eat them, I get sleepy. And then I get hungry again and want more.

Viscous cycle. And in my experience? Viscous cycles in relation to food, isn’t a healthy thing.

So for now, there ‘aint no potatoes in the Healthful Pursuit household. Which, sounds a little difficult but replacing them (and making space for creativity) isn’t as challenging as it once seemed.

Bacon Shepherd's Pie #glutenfree #paleo

And when dinner looks like that ^, I don’t miss the potato one little bit.

The idea of using mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes sounds absurd, doesn’t it? But, so did using cauliflower as the base for pudding… and that recipe? Is one of my most popular recipes ever.

We invited a couple of our close friends over for dinner a couple of weekends ago and I made them this casserole. Except I didn’t tell them that I used mashed cauliflower instead of the classic, mashed potato topping. They assumed that it was potato the whole time… even after their third helping of the stuff.

So you see? Whether you’re trying to avoid nightshades (potato is a nightshade), reduce your GI (potatoes have a high glycemic index rating) or your leaky gut healing protocol has you saying ex-nay to saponin, this recipe? Is so totally for you.

Or, maybe you’re like me and you’re just looking to broaden your eating style horizons and share new foods with your family.

I have no doubt that everyone (even your neighbors) will enjoy this one.

And seriously, bacon? Makes everything better.

Bacon Shepherd's Pie #glutenfree #paleo

Inspired by Elana’s Pantry

4.3 from 3 reviews
Bacon Shepherd's Pie (Gluten-free & Paleo)
Recipe type: Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
Shepherd's pie (also known as cottage pie) layered with sauteed beef, bacon and veggies in a smoked sauce, topped with garlic mashed cauliflower and baked until crisp.
Beef Layer
  • 375 grams (approximately 15 strips) smoked ham bacon
  • 0.75kg (1.6lbs) extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup (approximately 2 small) diced onion
  • 1 cup (approximately 3 sticks/ribs) diced celery
  • 1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons no-salt seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
Mashed Cauliflower Topping
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, florets removed from stem
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 egg white
  1. Preheat oven for 350F and set aside a 9x13 casserole dish.
  2. Add bacon and beef to a large pot and cook on medium-high until beef is no longer pink.
  3. Add carrots, onion and celery. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, starch, no-salt seasoning, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to coat and continue to cook for 3 minutes, until thickened.
  5. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and flatten out with the back of a spatula.
  6. Meanwhile, add water to a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
  7. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 20 minutes, until softened.
  8. Drain the water, transfer the cauliflower back to the pot, and mash with a potato masher. Add coconut oil, garlic powder, pepper and onion salt. Mash until super smooth and amazing.
  9. Top the meat layer with the mashed cauliflower and spread evenly. Top with egg white and, using the prongs of a fork, fluff up the top, incorporating the egg white to each bit of the top of the casserole.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes OR cover and allow to sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours until you're ready to bake.

View nutrition information (once on page, scroll down)

Bacon Shepherd's Pie #glutenfree #paleo

I bet you could use regular ‘ol bacon in this recipe but it would be pretty oily. Turkey bacon could work, too.

The no-salt seasoning that I use is from Costco. It’s organic, it’s amazing, I highly recommend it.

Bacon Shepherd's Pie #glutenfree #paleo

Smoothing and packing down the meat is the key to this recipe. So is mashing the cauliflower until very smooth (especially if you want to trick people in thinking it’s potato!)

Bacon Shepherd's Pie #glutenfree #paleo

I would love to hear from you –

What foods do you go crazy over – like my obsession with the potato?


What steps have you taken to heal your relationship with that specific food?

Sharing your strategies and experiences will help support the many women in our community. We all struggle with similar things and hearing the stories of others validates our struggles and helps us see a way out of them. Please, share!

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  1. Going to try this. Do you beat egg white like a whipped topping or lay egg white on top..

    • Hi Kay! You actually mix the egg white into the cauliflower top, but I might suggest whisking it a bit to get an even consistency!

  2. apparently i need primer on “Top with egg white and, using the prongs of a fork, fluff up the top, incorporating the egg white to each bit of the top of the casserole.” i just made a mess and will have a large wad of white in places. do you dip fork into white and incorporate or pour on and fluff up? of course, had i remembered to add white before 10 minutes of cooking time, i might have had better experience. LOL. my bad.

  3. This looks awesome. I believe I have everything to make this tonight!!! I have been using the Costco No Salt Seasoning for about 4 years now. I love it! I use this and garlic powder in everything. ❤
    I can’t wait to try this!!! I’ve been craving some comfort food. Even though it’s Aug and hot.

  4. A shepherd’s pie is made with LAMB! as a shepherd tends sheep!
    A cottage pie is made with BEEF! goes to old english times when they made it when they slaughtered the old milk cow that every cottager kept for dairy food

  5. Just searching for the 21 day no sugar challenge and tonight is beef and bacon cottage pie. She keeps her recipes off of the internet in hopes that you’ll buy her books… teehee I found it! Thanks so much for freely sharing!

    • Hey Christine… I haven’t participated in the challenge. I think perhaps this is a different recipe? This recipe is not part of your challenge, so wanted to make sure you knew, just in case there was something in it you’re not supposed to be having :)

  6. Made this recipe last week, substituting uncured bacon for the ham (couldn’t find it anywhere where I live) and substituted 1c of Syrah for 1/2c of the broth (the pub in Solvang makes a GF Shepherd’s Pie in a wine sauce, so I was trying to duplicate that taste). It came out tasting incredible! Definitely a keeper! (although mine didn’t serve 16; it only came out to 6 dinner-sized portions.)

    Personal history: Diagnosed with Celiac at age 8, and have been semi-Paleo for the last 5 years. I’m 43 now, and in the best health of my life.

    • Wow, awesome that you found paleo and feel that you’re at your strongest, Patrick. That’s rad! Happy that you enjoyed my recipe, too!