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Cheesy Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie with Mushroom-Onion Gravy

Photo: Tawnie Kroll, RDN

The other day my friend posted something online that looked delicious, and I had to ask her what it was, of course. It was a healthier version of shepherd’s pie, made with sweet potato instead of regular potatoes, and a few other changes. I looked up some versions to get my own ideas and came up with the recipe below. 

Per a bit of online research, cottage pie — a name that predates shepherd’s pie by around 100 years — was a term first used by Great Britain’s rural working class, who often lived in cottages, as they discovered ways of cooking with potatoes, an inexpensive ingredient, near the end of the 18th century. Though the two terms came to be used interchangeably, shepherd’s pie described the dish when it contained lamb, and cottage pie was used when the dish was made with beef. Technically my recipe is neither of these since it uses ground turkey, but there are several different variations. If you are a vegetarian, you can even substitute the turkey or other meat with lentils!  

Cheesy Sweet Potato 'Shepherd's Pie' with Mushroom-Onion Gravy 

Serves 10


  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • ½ pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ large yams, washed, peeled and cut into cubes (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large white chopped onion (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For the mushroom gravy (optional):

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large white chopped onion 
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium pot bring 8 cups water to boil. Cook bell peppers and fresh green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes then remove from water with a slotted spoon and set aside in a small bowl.
  2. Add yams to same boiling water and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Strain and set aside to cool.
  3. While yams are boiling, add olive oil in a large pan and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Add in ground turkey, garlic powder and oregano. Cook until no longer pink.
  4. Once fully cooked, add tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, bell pepper and green bean mixture, carrots and peas and corn. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.
  5. In a food processor, puree sweet potatoes with butter and milk until fluffy. Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray and spread ground turkey and vegetable mixture on the bottom. Carefully scoop and spread the sweet potato mixture on top of the turkey. Top with cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. While the dish is baking, make the gravy, if desired. In a medium sauce pan, sauté onion and mushrooms in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir, then slowly whisk in beef broth and red wine. Simmer until mixture thickens and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Once removed from the oven, let shepherd’s pie sit for about 10 minutes, then top with gravy and enjoy!

​Tawnie Kroll, RDN, is a Clovis, Calif.-based registered dietitian nutritionist. She has a passion for media, public speaking and freelance writing with an emphasis on nutrition and wellness. Read her blog, Kroll's Korner, and connect with her on TwitterInstagramPinterest and Facebook.

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