Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie

I’m not really sure what constitutes the difference between  calling a dish shepherd’s pie and a casserole. Yes, shepherd’s pie has a top layer of mashed potato (or, in this case, squash) whereas not all casseroles do.

Which begs the question: maybe shepherd’s pie is a casserole, but a casserole is not necessarily a shepherd’s pie?

Whatever the answer, the one thing both casseroles and shepherd’s pie have in common is that they’re ugly. Well, except for my mom’s shepherd’s pie. I think that was my favorite meal growing up. Ironically, it was also my sister’s nemesis.

It’s debatable as to whether or not I truly loved the shepherd’s pie, or if I just wanted to get her upset. Hey, it’s fair; her favorite was cube steak, and that was always my nemesis.

For whatever reason, my mom hasn’t made shepherd’s pie in eons. I’ll have to beg her to make her original shepherd’s pie (sans hamburg) and enjoy a big bowl.

Until then, though, I think this butternut squash shepherd’s pie is a pretty good substitute. It’s a warm bowl of cozy comfort! Perfect for a chilly fall or winter day.

This is also pretty easy to make. Ironically, I had more plans – like using the frozen mixed vegetables  in addition to the broccoli, but I completely forgot about that sentiment.

I used White Bean Flour to thicken and make a bit of a gravy. I’m guessing everyone doesn’t have white bean flour hanging out in their kitchen cupboards, though.

The mild-flavor of white beans makes this flour ideal for sauces and gravies. It can also be used to thicken soups.  Add herbs and spices to reconstituted white bean flour for a flavorful white bean puree.



Bean flours are probably overlooked too often – but they’re really a great source of protein and a great gluten-free option, too. But, if I still haven’t convinced you – you could probably just sub the 1/2-3/4 c. water + 2 T. white bean flour for as much gravy, or veg. broth thickened with…cornstarch?

And, without further ado: Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie. Unless it should technically be called a casserole. Call it what you will. (What you will!) Name that song.

First, though: Don’t doubt the cranberries.

Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie

for 2-3 servings

  • 1 medium butternut squash, halved and baked
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 c. diced red onion
  • 1 small can of diced mushrooms (only lightly drained)
  • 1/3 c. frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 t. maple pepper
  • 1/4 t. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 c. black beans
  • 1/2-3/4 c. water
  • 2 T. white bean flour
  • walnuts – optional, for topping

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan, and add in the diced onion and broccoli. Cover and sautee until the broccoli is bright green.

2. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the mushrooms, beans, and cranberries. Leave over medium heat until the cranberries begin popping. While that cooks, work on the butternut squash topping by scooping the flesh into a medium sized bowl. Mash and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. When the cranberries have begun popping, add in 1/2 – 3/4 c. water, followed by the white bean flour, adding it 1/2 T. at a time and stirring well after each addition.

4. Once you’ve added the water and flour, cook over medium-low heat until it has begun to thicken. Once it has, pour into a medium-sized casserole dish, and top with the mashed butternut squash. Sprinkle the top with paprika, and bake in a preheated 400* oven for 40 minutes, or until top has begun to brown and bubbled are forming along the sides.

5. Allow to cool before serving – it’s hot! Garnish with chopped walnuts.

This. is. so. good. I think the combination of mushrooms, cranberries, and broccoli in the creamy sauce is just too perfect for words.

So. try it. But let me know what you think. You can let me know about the name verdict, too.

And what your favorite childhood meal was, especially if it was just your favorite if it irritated your beloved siblings 😉


Filed under dinner, health, lunch, recipe

25 responses to “Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie

  1. I would definitely call it a shepherd’s pie. I think in order to be a ‘pie’ it just has to have some sort of carb on the top… 🙂

    I have to admit.. I hate shepherd’s pie. I think it’s because I reallllly don’t like mashed potatoes.. but either way I feel like it’s just a bowl of paste 😛 That being said, I’ve never ever had it with anything exciting like cranberries or squash, so I’m not hating on your creation 😛

    My favourite childhood meal? Probably chilli.. or mac and cheese 😀

  2. This looks BEYOND delicious. I’ve heard of using sweet potatoes for this before but I love the idea of butternut squash! And I think the walnuts should be mandatory =P

  3. I think it looks delicious no matter what you call it! I was just talking to Tony about Shepherd’s Pie the other day. I want to make one with lentils since I know the boys will eat them. I am in love with bean flours too! Chickpea is my favorite so far and makes incredible savory waffles! Your dish looks amazing! Oh and I loved chicken and dumplings but only at the dumplings! My grandmother was the master of that meal!

  4. I didn’t know there was such a thing as bean flour! I guess it makes sense though, if both peanuts and beans are legumes and there is peanut flour.

    Your squash creations lately have been off the chain!

  5. You know, I never realized that this would be quite a marvelous compromise between myself and my meat-and-potato family. I could make this without meat and I’m sure they’d gobble it up (with cheese or something like BBQ on the side). Nonetheless, it’d be a good idea and a better alternative than pasta or having to make myself a separate plate.

    My Mom’s lasagna was my favorite meal growing up as a kid as far as I can remember or think of right now. Copious amounts of ground beef, cheese and Ragu layered in between thick ricotta cheese and moist lasagna noodles and lots of onion. So rich and artery-clogging but oh so good.

  6. I would think it’s a shepherd’s pie, but I can be easily swayed. Another recipe you have me wanting to make. I think next week…I’ll let you know if I do.

    Also, I love garbanzo bean flour, is white bean milder?

  7. This sounds delicious, especially with the cranberries, but I’d have to use fresh mushrooms. I’ll let you know if I do.

    My favorite dish growing up was probably roast beef with mashed potatoes, peas, and gravy. Funny that I haven’t eaten meat in over thirteen years.

  8. that’s totally going on the list for next week – you made it to the master list! yahooo!!

  9. All I can say girl is YUM!! You, my dear, are a genius.

  10. WOW WOW WOW!! i was just thinking about shepherds pie about an hour ago, no joke! my mom was talking about some she had today and ive been thinking about it non stop. i love the rendition of butternut versus potatoes!!

    and the photos are so bright that the dish really stands out. all the hunks of veggies are SO YUMSSS!

    and the layout is different too! its LOVELY ❤

  11. Smile. You are right. Despite how yummy casseroles taste and how delicious they smell…they don’t win any prizes in the appearance category! But your shepherd pie does a pretty good job! I’m certainly craving something nutritious and hearty…so this sounds like a great fit. Thank you for sharing love!

  12. Ohhhhmygosh yesyes yes! That (shepherd’s pie) looks right up my street! Love it 😀
    I think I should make that next week..I’ve decided I have to start making meals which are like, 2 servings so I have leftoevers for the next day when I’ rushed 😀 genius!

  13. teenagehealthfreak

    i have never had shepards pie. i don’t think i would want the orginal style …but this looks good and VEGGIE-fied. if my squash in my garden grow..i will try this..if not my mom probably won’t let me buy another $10 squash that i only like. 😦 but looks good! 🙂 i just tried kobucha?? squash…mmm!! i’ve been eating on it all week..my mom/dad aren’t fans..i’m like MORE FOR ME. lol yum!

  14. a pie or not, it sounds and looks delicious!
    I have to make something like this!

  15. i have never had shepard’s pie. yours looks awesome though. i’ve been wanting to make some kind of pie like this, but i have more of a pot pie in mind, without the chicken or beef. do you think garbanzo bean flour would work as well, since i don’t have white bean flour?
    also, i think you should just call it whatever you want. even if the name technically means something specific, who cares 😀

  16. I made Shepherd’s Pie last night as well with sweet potatoes! Love this dish. My favorite childhood meal would have to be my Grandmother’s chicken & dumplings….oh and pancakes, lol!

  17. Oh wow, this recipe sounds AMAZING because you know how much I love any form of squash anyway..and such a good idea to have cranberries in too!! Definitely going to try this one thankyouu 🙂 Here in the UK, shepherd’s pie is actually a pie made with beef mince with a crust made from mashed potato and we have a variation called a cottage pie which is the same but made with lamb mince and then ANOTHER variation called a cumberland pie which is any mince but with mixed vegetables like peas and carrots. So confusing lol! But vegetarian cottage pie is sold here with a quorn mince too..And then of course there are the shepherd’s pies made with lentils..
    Anyway, sorry to go off on one haha! When I was little I used to love garlicky chicken with peas and potato smilie faces with a big dollop of ketchup haha! I was always very happy coming home from school to that as a kid 🙂
    And I really love your new layout by the way..you’re amazing at creating them, I wish I was more inventive with mine!

  18. so many autumnal flavors going on- it looks warm and comforting. I just bought a butternut squash, and hopefully I’ll have time to make this!!

  19. Ayla

    I’ll definitely be trying this! I have a few cranberries left that need to be used up so this is perfect.

    I’ve actually only tried shepherds pie once and that was like.. 3-4 years ago. I really liked it though and I can’t wait to try this meatless version of it. Looks amazing.

  20. I used to love Shepherd’s pie when I was younger too! But I think one of my favourite meals as a kid was roast beef with potatoes, beans, and yorkshire pudding. It’s funny how much our tastes change. 😛 Although I really like the sounds of your version of Shepherd’s pie! Squash makes anything good!

  21. Wow! I never thought to use bean flour as a thickening agent. I love it! I am lucky enough to live near Bob’s Red Mill and have a coupon I need to use. I will definitely be picking some up. Your shepherds pie looks great. My Mom used to make one that my brother and dad loved growing up. I only wanted to eat the cheesy mashed potatoes off the top. I didn’t like the meat, plus it was full of onions. I am not sure how many kids like onions.

  22. Traditionally if pie is made with minced meat like lamb or beef it was called a Shepherd’s Pie. If it is chunks of meat it was called a Cottage Pie… old British. Doesn’t really matter though as yours is delicious and vegetarian and very beautiful!

  23. Pingback: Really Yummy Pot Pie « Healthy Exposures

  24. All I have to say is: bookmarking!

  25. Pingback: So Long, October « Healthy Exposures

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