Lightening Up Shepherd’s Pie

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 09, 2008
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Amy Yamamoto has been an express service adviser at Windward Honda for the past two and a half years and enjoys helping people.

ACastle High School graduate, Amy excelled in dance classes that focused on the latest in jazz and modern dance interpretation. In her spare time, she loves to go to horror movies with her friends - the scarier, the better.

It is a pleasure to dedicate this column to Amy, who tries her best to provide excellent service to Windward Honda customers.

I get many requests for this lowfat shepherd’s pie, as it doesn’t contain any beef and is so tasty it pleases even the most discriminating palates. This is real comfort food and, in these days of increased food prices, an economical dish!

Traditional shepherd’s pie is made with meat, but I have created this alternative, with excellent results.

Shepherd’s pie was originally created as an inexpensive way to use leftovers from the Sunday roast, and the Scottish classic version is made with lamb (hence the name).

In England and Ireland, the dish is served at just about every pub. The traditional English version of shepherd’s pie uses gravy to flavor the meat, which is often ground mutton or lamb, and there are those who are firm in their belief that it is called shepherd’s pie when made with lamb, and cottage pie when made with beef. (Most American recipes for shepherd’s pie use ground beef).

There are many recipes for shepherd’s pie. They range from using leftover roast leg of lamb with its pan gravy and carrots, peas, or corn, topped with mashed potatoes and baked in an oven. Other methods use cooked, diced roast beef, diced steak or ground lamb. All are topped with mashed potatoes and baked.

I like to serve this dish with a crisp green salad and some brown bread or crusty rolls. Try some vanilla pudding made with lowfat or skim milk for dessert; top each dish of pudding with a dollop of raspberry jam and some light whipped topping.


* 4 large uncooked potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces. Boil and mash with 1/4 cup skim milk and 1 tablespoon Smart Balance light margarine, adding salt to taste; set aside. (Note: You may also use instant dried potato flakes to make six servings)

* 2 cups frozen peas and carrots, defrosted in microwave but not cooked thoroughly

* 2 teaspoons olive oil

* 1 medium Maui onion, chopped fine

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 pound ground turkey breast (Note: You may use ground lean turkey, but fat content is more than double)

* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* salt, to taste * 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

* 1 can vegetable broth, low-salt, no MSG

* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tablespoon broth until smooth

* paprika, for top

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for about three minutes or until soft; add turkey and cook until warmed through and lightly browned. Add pepper, salt and parsley, and mix to combine. Add broth and stir in, then add the flour mixture and cook until sauce starts to thicken.

Transfer mixture to a casserole dish, spread vegetables evenly on top and spread mashed potatoes over top, covering the vegetables completely. Make swirls on top with a fork and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake 35 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned. Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 320

Fat: 5 grams

Cholesterol: 40 milligrams

Sodium: about 200 milligrams (depending on how much salt you add)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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