Pilar Valdes' Shepherd’s Pie

10 minsPrep Time
40 minsCook Time

50 minsTotal Time


For Puree:

  • 1 head Cauliflower, cut into large florets (stems included)
  • 4 stalks Celery, cut into 2” pieces (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Lemon, zested
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped Parsley, for garnish

For Base:

  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped Leeks
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, quartered (larger pieces cut into 6ths)
  • 3 large leaves Rainbow Chard, chopped (about 2 heaping cups)
  • 1/2 lb Ground Turkey (90% lean)
  • 1 tsp chopped Thyme
  • 1 ½ tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store bought Vegetable Stock
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper


Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and celery and boil until completely tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and the zest of 1 lemon. Add the butter and puree until completely smooth. (You are looking for a mixture with no lumps, but that still has a bit of heft—it will be slightly looser than mashed potatoes. Loosen puree with 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock at a time until desired consistency is reached.) Set aside.


Preheat the broiler to 400 degrees.


In a 10” oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the pan. Add the ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and sauté, breaking up the meat with your spatula, until browned and fully cooked through. Remove the cooked turkey from the pan and return the pan to the heat. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add carrots, leeks, thyme and celery and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes more. Add the mushrooms, chard and Worcestershire sauce and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are just about cooked, 3 more minutes. Check for seasoning. Add the cooked turkey and any accumulated juices to the pan and mix to combine. Fold in 1 cup of the cauliflower-celery puree. If the mixture feels dry, add a little bit of vegetable stock (Keep in mind that the mushrooms and chard will continue to release a bit of liquid.) Remove from heat. Dollop the remaining cauliflower-celery puree on top and spread in an even layer, covering the surface completely. Top with parmesan cheese and transfer to the oven. Broil until golden and bubbling, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and freshly cracked black pepper before serving.