This cauliflower shepherd’s pie is a comfort food classic made lower carb! It’s paleo, whole30, and AIP compliant.

When I think about nourishing winter comfort foods, Shepherd’s Pie is one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s warming, filling, and a complete meal! Traditionally, it’s made with either beef or lamb, tomato paste, Worcestershirepeas, corn, carrots, celery, lots of butter, and white potatoes. Now that’s hearty, right?! So how do you lighten it up just a bit with some different vegetables, no nightshades, and make it paleo, whole30, and AIP compliant? This cauliflower shepherd’s pie does just that!

This recipe is a lower carb version of the classic and uses creamy and nutrient dense cauliflower in place of potatoes, and removes ingredients like butter, corn, peas, and Worcestershire (which has gluten). Trust me, you won’t even miss them!

The Ingredient’s You’ll Need

Ground beef

You can also use ground lamb for this recipe, but ground beef is often cheaper!

Coconut aminos

Wait, huh? This is not a typo! It’s the substitute for the umami flavor of Worcestershire sauce which is not gluten-free. It’s subtle and not overpowering but adds just a bit of depth to the flavor.

Tomato paste/nightshade free tomato sauce

This is technically an optional step if you don’t have any on hand, but it really adds a lot of flavors. Use this recipe for AIP!  I love to make this recipe for nightshade free marinara in bulk and then freeze it so I can have it on hand for recipes like this. It really is a true lifesaver for AIP cooking.

Carrots, onion, and celery

Easy, cheap, and traditional filling for Sheperd’s Pie.


This is where we’re getting a little different. This is the low-carb/nightshade free swap for white potatoes. We’ll steam them in the instant pot and then blend them to make a mash.


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Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)

  • Author: Michelle
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped in florets
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp sea salt (divided)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste/nightshade free sauce for AIP
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and prepare a 9×13″ casserole dish, or another large casserole dish.
  2. Steam the cauliflower by filling a soup pot with about 2 inches of water and bringing to a simmer. Add a steamer basket and cover with a lid. Steam for 5-8 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork tender. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once the cauliflower has cooled, combine with the coconut oil and about 1/4 tsp of salt in a food processor. Blend until fully mashed and set aside.
  4. Using a large deep skillet, salt the ground beef and add it to the pan. Start to brown the ground beef and add in the tomato paste (or AIP alternative) and coconut aminos, continually stirring as it cooks. Once browned, set the meat aside and drain the excess fat, keeping about 2 tbsp in the pan.
  5. Using the same pan, saute the onions until translucent. add the carrots and celery and saute for about 5-7 minutes or until slightly fork tender.
  6. Add the ground beef, rosemary, and thyme into the skillet and stir until well combined.
  7. Pour the beef mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish and top with mashed cauliflower.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!


To cut down the cook time, cook the cauliflower and ground beef simultaneously.

All nutritional information are estimates and will vary.

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Category: Main Dish


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 255
  • Fat: 10.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5g
  • Fiber: 3.7g
  • Protein: 27.6g