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Easy Low Carb Cottage Pie

This keto cottage pie combines a rich and flavorful ground beef filling with a crispy golden brown mashed cauliflower and parmesan cheese crust. Every serving is packed with filling protein and fiber. And thanks to convenience ingredients like frozen mashed cauliflower, it’s one of the easiest low carb cottage pie recipes you’ll come across!

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How to Make a Keto Cottage Pie

Traditional cottage pie calls for a mashed potato crust on top. To reduce the carbs, this version uses the omnipresent cauliflower instead. I’ll touch on cauliflower substitutes and other ingredient notes in the recipe tutorial below, and you’ll find additional notes and recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Low Carb Cottage Pie Ingredients

Don’t be deterred by the lengthy ingredient list. This recipe is as simple as cooking everything together in one pan before adding some pre-made mashed cauliflower on top.

Here’s everything you’ll need grouped together by how they go in the pan:

  • lean ground beef
  • olive oil
  • diced onion, carrot, and celery
  • flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • tomato paste
  • broth, Worcestershire, and red wine vinegar
  • thyme and bay leaves
  • mashed cauliflower and optional parmesan cheese
frozen mashed cauliflower, ground beef, and ingredients for cottage pie

Ground Beef

Traditional cottage pie is made with ground beef or beef mince, while shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. If you’re looking to avoid red meat, you could use ground chicken or turkey. I won’t tell anyone.

browning ground beef with onion, celery, and carrots before adding flour, spices, and tomato paste

Flour

Why is there flour in cottage pie? It’s for thickening the filling. The recipe calls for all purpose flour but if you’re looking to minimize carbs, you might use something like King Arthur keto wheat flour that has 4g net carbs per serving.

I’m not an expert on low carb thickeners, but Mark Sisson has a post on keto friendly thickening agents with more options. My understanding is that typical keto flour alternatives like coconut and almond can leave sauces gritty and alter the flavor without doing all that much thickening.

cooking down the low carb cottage pie filling

Beef Bone Broth

Most beef broths don’t have much actual beef in them. So unless you’re using a higher quality broth, you’re better off using low sodium chicken broth. I like using Kettle & Fire beef bone broth. It’s rich, flavorful, and gives dishes a nice protein boost.

Mashed Cauliflower

The recipe calls for Green Giant frozen mashed cauliflower. There are tons of frozen options these days but if you have trouble finding any in your store, you could make homemade mashed cauliflower or other keto potato substitutes like mashed turnips or radish (like in my low carb pot roast recipe).

And if you’re not that concerned with carbs, check out the premade mashed potatoes I used in my chicken shepherd’s pie.

cottage pie filling in a baking dish beside a container of frozen mashed cauliflower

As a pro tip for assembling your low carb cottage pie, you want the mashed cauliflower warm and easy to spread and the filling cool (or even chilled). It makes spreading the cauliflower mash a lot easier and will prevent the cauliflower from sinking into the filling.

Parmesan Cheese

mashed cauliflower on top of the cottage pie filling in a baking dish with grated parmesan and olive oil drizzled on top

The parmesan is an optional ingredient, but it helps the top crust get extra crispy and golden brown. Be careful adding too much, as you don’t want it to brown too quickly. The longer bake time removes moisture from the cauliflower mash and lets all the flavors in the pie filling develop.

What to Serve with Cottage Pie

To lighten things up and balance the richness of cottage or shepherd’s pie, green veggies are always a great idea. If you have an air fryer, I would recommend making some citrus garlic green beans or honey mustard or balsamic air fried brussels sprouts with goat cheese. You might also look into making some keto Irish soda bread.

For more ideas, check out this list of what to serve with shepherd’s pie.

And that’ll do it. I can’t wait to hear what you think about this recipe. Be sure to come back and let me know in a recipe review or comment. If you have any questions about the recipe, you can leave that in the comments as well.

Keto Cottage Pie

Keto Cottage Pie

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A low fat cottage pie filling topped with frozen mashed cauliflower and baked to crispy golden brown perfection.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Beef (96/4)
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, diced
  • 1 large (3oz) Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon (16g) Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup (30g) All Purpose Flour or Keto Wheat Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Tomato Paste
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3-4 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
  • 2 Dried Bay Leaves

For the Topping

  • 20 oz (2 1/4 cups) Frozen Mashed Cauliflower**
  • 1 Tablespoon (7g) Grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (8g) Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Flip and push to one side of the skillet. Add the olive oil and onion, celery, and carrot. Stir everything together, breaking the beef apart.
  2. Once fully cooked, add the flour, salt garlic powder, and pepper. Stir until no flour is visible. Add the tomato paste and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the broth, vinegar, Worcestershire, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring up to a boil before reducing the heat to a medium-low simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat mixture is thick like a gravy or bolognese.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and place in the freezer while you microwave the cauliflower mash. (I used a smaller 10" x 6" dish but an 8" x 8" or larger will work.)
  5. Top the mixture with the cauliflower mash, followed by the grated parmesan. Drizzle the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over the top. If you're using a smaller dish, you may want to place it on a sheet pan to catch any drippings.
  6. Bake at 350ºF for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and serve.

Notes

*With King Arthur keto wheat flour, each serving has 36g of protein, 17g of carbs, 17g of fat, and 5g of fiber (12g net carbs).

**I used Green Giant mashed cauliflower, but any frozen cauliflower mash will work. You can also make your own instead of frozen. Read my keto potato substitutes guide for recipes with cauliflower and other root vegetables. You can also use mashed potatoes, both pre-made or homemade.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: about 12 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 17gCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gProtein: 32g

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Misty

Tuesday 11th of January 2022

This recipe hit the spot tonight! Super cozy and tasty. The whole family loved it. Thanks!

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