How do you define comfort food? Maybe it’s food that you grew up with that brings back fond memories (sloppy joes or mac & cheese, anyone?). Maybe it’s something that you rely on when you’re stressed or feel like you want to curl up under a mound of blankets and hibernate.
However you define comfort food, it doesn’t have to be unhealthy, ground you to the couch, “I’ll surely regret this later” kind of food. For me, comfort food is usually something warm and hearty that not only feeds the body but the soul too. It’s the food equivalent of a really good book you can’t put down or a Harry Potter ⚡ movie marathon. My Cottage Pie with Horseradish Cauliflower Mash fits neatly into this category. It bridges the gap between comfort food and food you can feel good about later.
What’s the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb meat, specifically. Cottage pie swaps out the lamb for beef, or even turkey, if you want to be a rebel. Otherwise, they are really the same beast. Traditionally, both dishes are also topped with mashed potatoes before baking, but I prefer the easy swap of low-carb creamy horseradish cauliflower mash as my cottage pie topping.
- A large dutch oven or cast-iron skillet is my go-to for this recipe, so it can go from stovetop directly to the oven. However, you may also brown the beef in a traditional skillet and transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.
- A large microwave-safe bowl
- A cutting board
- A good knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A food processor is my preferred tool for blending the cauliflower to mash, however, this can alternatively be done in a high-powered blender or with a hand mixer.
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Easy meal prep and freezing
This Cottage Pie is a favorite of ours for weekly meal prep because it reheats so well. Portions keep well stored in microwavable airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This recipe also stores exceptionally well in the freezer for up to two months. When freezing, I like to store the Cottage Pie in freezer-friendly baking trays covered in tin foil so they can go from freezer directly to the oven. To reheat, I generally set the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and bake with the tinfoil top intact until warmed through (about 1 hour). If you thaw the pie in the fridge the night before you can generally cut the baking time in half.
A note for special diets
This Cottage Pie is grain-free, gluten-free, and friendly for Paleo and Keto diets if prepared as written below.
For Whole30 diets, you may wither omit the peas or substitute them for diced celery.
But sometimes, I just want a little cheese – who doesn’t? If your diet allows dairy, this cottage pie can level-up with the addition of 1 cup of shredded white cheddar or gruyere, which I sprinkle on top of the filling right before I layer the cauliflower mash. You can also blend this directly to the mash if you prefer.
Cottage Pie with Horseradish Cauliflower Mash is comfort food and food that you can feel good about later. It fits Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 diets.
- 2 tbsp garlic oil (may sub 2 tbsp avocado oil plus 2 cloves minced garlic)
- 2 lb grass fed beef (may sub ground turkey or blend 50/50)
- 1 1/2 cups green onion, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups frozen peas (may omit or sub for diced celery for Whole30 diets)
- 1/14 cups frozen carrots
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (may sub 1 tbsp dried)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
For cauliflower mash:
- 1 medium head (about 5 cups) cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or ghee for Whole 30)
- 2 tbsp horseradish paste
- 1 tbsp garlic oil (may sub 1 tbsp avocado oil and 1 clove minced garlic)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
For the filling:
- In a large dutch oven or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic oil and ground beef. Brown fully and then drain excess grease.
- Lower heat to medium. Add green onions to the meat mixture and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add frozen pea and carrot mixture, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper. Stir gently and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until peas and carrots are cooked through. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
For the cauliflower mash:
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl combine chopped cauliflower and ghee.
- Microwave for 6 minutes. Remove from heat, stir to coat butter over the top of the cauliflower, and microwave for an additional 6 minutes. The cauliflower should be easily speared with a fork at this point.
- Add cauliflower, horseradish, garlic oil, salt, and pepper to your food processor. Pulse until well-blended and creamy. If you do not have a food processor, this can be done in a blender or even with a hand mixer, though I find it turns out creamiest in a food processor.
- Stir in chives until well incorporated and taste for salt and pepper. Adjust if needed.
- Spread the cauliflower mixture over the top of your meat and veggie mixture
- Place the pie in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The top of the cauliflower mash should be starting to turn slightly golden by this point. Serve warm.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 479
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 509 mg
- Fat: 35 g
- Saturated Fat: 13 g
- Carbohydrates: 14 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 32 g
- Cholesterol: 117 mg