Shepherd’s pie is one of our favorite meals. It’s pretty easy to love something that’s covered in potatoes in my opinion. Beyond the carbs, what I really love about shepherds pie is that you can completely customize it based on what you have in the fridge. Most vegetables will work in a shepherds pie, and you can use ground beef, turkey, or even lentils if you want to go vegetarian. What I learned this time around, is that you can even replace the classic mashed potato topping with tater tots!
Recently I found myself with a lot of miscellaneous vegetables and a bag of frozen tater tots on hand. I figured why not try to make a shepherds pie out of this, and the result was delicious!
I now consider myself an expert at cooking random stuff I have laying around. I’m here to encourage all of you not to be scared to combine ingredients without a recipe! If I didn’t have the tater tots, I still would have eaten this skillet of meat and vegetables as is, or cracked an egg on top. A cliche as it sounds, when in doubt, put an egg on it. It also would have been great with pasta, or topped with melted cheese. If you have mixed vegetables and/or ground meat, you have a blank slate for dinner.
Gone are the days of the 4 component dinner. Meat, starch, two kinds of vegetables (did everyone’s mom serve them this or just mine?) Garlic and onions make a flavorful based for any healthy combination of skillet friendly ingredients. Plus, when you cook everything together in one pan, there are less dishes to clean!
If you have tater tots, or the makings for mashed potatoes, make a shepherds pie. If not, don’t discard this “recipe” just turn it into something that works with what you already have.
Tater Tot Shepherds Pie
An untraditional twist on a classic shepherds pie. Crispy tater tots create a savory potato topping on this hearty dish.
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 c chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 zucchini chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1 bag frozen tater tots thawed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add carrots, zucchini, asparagus and tomatoes. Cook 6-8 minutes until tender. Set vegetables aside.
- Heat remaining 2 t. olive oil in the same skillet and saute turkey until browned. Add thyme, oregano and pepper. Return vegetables to pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer turkey mixture to 9 inch pie plate or shallow cassarole dish. Top with an even layer of tater tots.
- Bake on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes until top is golden brown.