Hi, there! Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am Emily, a Type 1 Diabetic managing my blood sugar level through diet, exercise, and healthy habits. Holidays can be tricky for anyone trying to maintain health and minimize waste. I threw together this leftover-eliminating, gluten-free, and dairy-free sweet potato shepherd’s pie this weekend, and it was so good! Holidays don’t have to mean loads of trash for the garbage men! After the turkey is completely used up, the next step is to eat all those leftovers! Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie from Thanksgiving leftovers can use all the vegetables you’ve got to create a “new” meal and eliminate waste! A holiday victory, right?! Let’s take a look at the recipe…
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While I love the great spread at Thanksgiving dinner as much as the next person, the leftovers can get old. Particularly if I’ve been able to convince my husband to get a large turkey. One year I convinced him to buy a 24-pound turkey for only four of us at Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, 24 pounds for 4 people. I had no idea how much meat that was! We had turkey for weeks!
Should you find yourself in a similar situation with turkey to spare and possibly lots of other sides too, then make sweet potato shepherd’s pie with all those leftovers to give your palate something new.
Use All The Leftovers
Shepherd’s pie is a great way to use a variety of leftovers from your holiday meal. From cooked dishes like green bean casserole to raw veggies from a vegetable platter, this recipe can use any type of vegetable. Don’t worry about the vegetables blending together. Once they are smothered in gravy and topped with mashed vegetables, all will be fine!
For the sauce over the vegetables and meat, make use of any leftover gravy or turkey stock from the gravy making process. Simply pour that delectable gravy right over the mixture and save yourself from making a new roux or sauce! If you don’t have enough gravy to wet the meat and veggies, add a bit of turkey or chicken stock to get the volume of liquid right.
For the recipe below, I used the leftover fresh veggies from a vegetable platter. I gave them all a quick chop into bite-sized pieces so they would cook quicker. The leftover turkey meat also got a quick chop then I threw a 1/2 cup of leftover gravy to be the base of my sauce coating the meat and vegetable mixture. That little bit of gravy didn’t quite create enough sauce to coat everything so I add homemade turkey broth from the neck and organ meat to create enough extra liquid to make the perfect sauce.
If you have more than 1/2 cup of gravy leftover, you may not need to add any additional stock. Aim for a liquid level of just pooling around the vegetables, not completely submerging them.
Now for the topping, any type of leftover mashed vegetable is a great topping. I happened to have mashed sweet potatoes, but you could put anything on top: regular mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or mashed parsnips. Whatever mash you have, use it!
As you read through my recipe, don’t limit your shepherd’s pie to the leftovers I had on hand. Got green beans? Chop them up and add to the meat mixture! Broccoli and Cauliflower from a veggie tray? Chop small and saute with the onion before adding the meat! Use all the things!
Make it a One Pan Dinner
Completely by accident, I made this a one-pan dinner! Normally, I pour the meat and vegetable mixture into a glass 9×13 pan then top with mashed vegetables and bake it (**Note: If you use a glass baking dish, DO NOT broil the dish at the end for browning. There is a chance the pan could break.**) However, the maid at this house has not kept up with dishes this week, so there were no clean baking pans when I was ready to bake. None. Zilch.
I was feeling frustrated as I thought of the work to swap food out of a pan and then wash it then continue on with the recipe, and then I realized…I can bake it in the cast iron dutch oven I have the meat and vegetable mixture in! Woot! More dirty dishes averted!
To make this recipe easier on you, begin with a dutch oven that is oven-safe (not necessarily cast iron, most dutch ovens can go from stove-top to oven. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s directions for the temperatures the pan can withstand). I used a 6 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven. The sides were a tad high for proper browning, but that is a sacrifice well worth making for the sake of fewer dishes!
Steps to a Great Shepherd’s Pie
Here are the basic steps of making shepherd’s pie. Don’t feel limited by the ingredients used in this recipe. Substitute whatever is in your kitchen, just use this basic method:
- Saute chopped onion with any fresh vegetables until just soft
- Bloom spices in vegetables
- Add chopped turkey and any other fully cooked vegetables
- Stir in gravy and additional broth
- Taste for seasoning
- Thicken meat and vegetable mixture
- Top with mashed vegetable
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375° then broil for browning, if desired
That’s it, really! You don’t need a recipe for shepherd’s pie. It is a catch-all recipe, and truthfully, what doesn’t taste good drowning in gravy and covered in mashed potatoes? Give it a try with your Thanksgiving leftovers!
Check out the recipe below and use up all those bits and pieces of holiday leftovers! Try this Paleo-friendly, turkey sweet potato shepherd’s pie to minimize waste and create a whole new meal from Thanksgiving leftovers.
***Looking for ways to have less food waste this holiday season? Check out these 5 ways to use ALL the parts of a whole turkey!***
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie from Leftovers
Need a meal for all the bits and pieces left over from your holiday gathering? Look no further than this Paleo and AIP friendly sweet potato turkey shepherd's pie! Whatever your assortment of fresh or cooked vegetables, meat, and gravy, you can throw together a delicious, "new" one-pan dinner tonight!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cups celery chopped
- 3 cups carrots chopped
- 1 tsp. dried ground sage
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1-2 tsp. sea salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste, omit for AIP
- 4 cups turkey chopped
- ~1 cup gravy
- 1-2 cups turkey broth
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tbsp. cold water
- 2-3 cups mashed vegetable (I used sweet potato)
Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oven-safe dutch oven over medium heat then add olive oil. Add onion, carrots, and celery along with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and saute until just soft.
Add spices (sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper) to vegetables and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Stir in turkey meat and gravy, then add enough broth so the liquid is just beginning to pool over meat/vegetable mixture. Do not completely submerge! That will be too much liquid!
Bring to a boil and taste for seasoning. Add sea salt and pepper as necessary. Remove from heat.
Mix arrowroot powder and water in a small container then stir into meat and vegetable mixture until thickened slightly.
Spoon mashed vegetables onto the top of the meat and vegetable mixture. Spread out to smooth, covering the meat/vegetables completely.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Turn off the oven. Turn on the broiler. Broil until desired browning occurs, 3-5 minutes. Enjoy! **Note: only broil in a broiler-safe pan. Do not put a glass baking dish under the broiler!**
**Each serving contains 20 net carbs, 24 total carbs.**