Cauliflower Cottage Pie

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish)

Cauliflower Cottage Pie |

This past Wednesday I had one of those epic food days. I ate sushi for lunch; there was a over-priced (but worth it) fresh-pressed cucumber juice for a late afternoon drink situation; dinner was a decadent Italian meal, proceeded by a warm buttered rum as a nightcap. Oh and cookies and milk!

I’m not sure if I’ve had a better food day than that, ever, but it’s coming to a screeching half, ladies and gentlemen, because the month of March is all about eating healthy (for me). Don’t worry, A Cozy Kitchen won’t be turning into a Paleo blog but I will be sprinkling in healthier recipes from time to time, this one you see as my first.

For this post, I teamed up with McCormick Gourmet to give you a healthier take on cottage pie (also known as shepherd’s pie). It’s for St. Patrick’s Day or any day when you’re looking for a healthier but still comforting dish to make.

Cauliflower Cottage Pie |

The topping is cauliflower mash, which is the thing I sustain on during my ‘bouts of eating healthier. It mimics potato mash but really there is a taste difference. Don’t let anyone tell you they taste the same, they don’t!

I’m really selling this dish. The real winner is the filling. It’s so flavorful and tasty. I literally could eat a bowl of just the filling, it’s that good. I used ground lamb but if you can’t find it, using ground beef will be just fine, too.

The dried spices come in handy since we’re in the dead of winter and it’s just easier to use dried sometimes versus fresh. This dish bakes up pretty nicely. I actually made it one day and then kept it in the fridge and continued to eat the leftovers over a few days. It’s proof that eating healthy doesn’t have to be depressing.

Cauliflower Cottage Pie |

Cauliflower Cottage Pie |

Cauliflower Cottage Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serving Size: 1 (eight-inch) pan of cottage pie



  • 1 cauliflower head, stem removed and florets trimmed 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons plain European-style yogurt (Greek would work too!
  • Salt


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • Salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • McCormick Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet dried thyme 
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tbls all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas 


  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the florets into the boiling water and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until very soft but not overcooked. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly. Transfer the florets to a food processor (you may need to do this in batches), along with the butter, yogurt and a few pinches of salt. Pulse until the florets go from grainy to very smooth, add a tablespoon more of yogurt if you need to, about 2 to 3 minutes. Salt to taste and set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium pot (you can use the medium pot from above and no need to wash it—you can just dump out the water), set over medium heat, heat olive oil. Once warm, add the onion and carrots and a few pinches of salt; cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic cloves, a few pinches of freshly ground pepper and the dried herbs. Add the ground lamb and break it up into crumbles with a spoon; cook until mostly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, tomato paste, chicken broth and worcestershire. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly. Lastly, stir in the frozen peas. 
  • Spread the mixture evenly in a 8-inch square dish. Top with the cauliflower mash and make a smooth topping. Bake for 25 minutes or just until the fill in begins to bubble. 

(The post is sponsored by McCormick Gourmet. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)

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  • Avatar
    Reply Cristina February 28, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I completely agree with you! Cauliflower is an excellent substitute for potatoes, but there DEFINITELY is a taste difference! Can’t fool me 😉 This sounds amazing, I will have to try it for sure!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 2, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Fluffy potatoes will never hold a candle to cauliflower puree. But you know, we gotta do what we gotta do!

  • Avatar
    Reply stephanie @ iamafoodblog February 28, 2015 at 10:20 am

    i just made shepherd’s pie the other day! (well, actually i made cottage pie, since i used beef instead of lamb, but whatevs) twins!!! i’ve got to do a cauli-topped one. or maybe a roasted cauli-top!??!?

    cauliflower is my ultimate healthy eating trick too. but i don’t think it counts when i’m consuming a head a day!??!?!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 2, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Umm…how did I not know that cottage pie was made with beef and shepherd’s pie was lamb. I guess that makes total sense, duh! Shepherd’s herd sheep. GOSH! Well this one is totally named incorrectly then. DOH!

      • Avatar
        Reply stephanie @ iamafoodblog March 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

        to be honest, i call all my potato-topped pies shepherd’s pies (^‿^v)

        • Adrianna Adarme
          Reply Adrianna Adarme March 2, 2015 at 5:53 pm

          I called this one “cottage” because what’s cuter and more cozy than a cottage? I SAY LET’S FORGET THE RULES!

  • Avatar
    Reply Michelle February 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Stoked on this! Your last shepherd’s pie, the one with the carrot topping, was so phenomenal. A sprinkling of healthier meals is always a good thing especially when you make them as flavorful as you do. Everything in moderation!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 2, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      OH YES! Dude, I love that one. And yes, I love your motto: Healthy food in moderation.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kari February 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I make a version of this too! I love how its so much lighter it is than traditional cottage pie!

  • Avatar
    Reply bev @ bevcooks February 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    WAT. I’m so into this.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kelsey M February 28, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    I adore cauliflower and I love how you incorporated it into this Cottage Pie! Looking forward to seeing other posts in this series.


  • Avatar
    Reply jenna @ just j.faye March 1, 2015 at 6:36 am

    This looks delicious! I love cottage pie. I have tried it with sweet potatoes on top and now really want to try this cauliflower version!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lucy March 4, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Love this 🙂 I’m a big fan of cauliflower. Using it to make a cottage pie sounds delicious, thanks for sharing!
    Life inside the Locket

  • Avatar
    Reply Flor March 10, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I made this the other night for my girls and they loved it. I’m a huge fan of lamb but my girls have not eaten as much. This is a good recipe because it’s ground lamb. I will definitely make this again.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Oh yay! Ground lamb is definitely less game-y than say a rack of lamb. I’m sure they didn’t even notice! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Anna June 14, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I’ve made this a couple of times now and it’s turned out great both times! Even converted the boyfriend over to cauliflower mash 😉

  • Avatar
    Reply Anna June 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I’ve made this a couple of times now and it’s turned out great both times! Even converted the boyfriend over to cauliflower mash 😉

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