Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Shepherd's Pie

Confession- I don't like white potatoes.  Like, at all.  

Gasp!  But...you're Irish!

I know, I know.  I'm a total traitor to my people.  And it gets worse, as I've gotten older, I like them less and less.  So much that, unless smothered in ketchup and cheese and sour cream, I don't even care for french fries.  French Fries!!

So now, not only am I a traitor to my Irish ancestors, but also my American roots.  After all, when I think of 'American' food, I think of hot dogs, hamburgers and, of course, French fries (even though the "French Fry" originated in Belgium.  Thanks, Google).  Oh, and don't fret, I know that potatoes originated in Peru and that they only get their name, the Irish Potato, due to the Irish Potato Famine.

Phew. That's enough history for one day, back to the food.

I don't dislike all potatoes.  Red potatoes aren't so bad when prepared the right way. However, as I've talked about in previous posts, I love love love sweet potatoes.  And sweet potato fries?  The best.  So that got me thinking, what about Shepherd's Pie with sweet potatoes?  Which then got me thinking even more.  What about a Shepherd's Pie with mashed sweet potatoes and butternut squash?!  

Yes, yes, and yes! This was going to be the best thing ever.

To lighten the dish up a bit, I chose to use ground turkey rather than ground beef and spiced it up a bit with chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. The combination of flavors from the sweet potatoes, smoke and spice from the adobo sauce and mild mozzarella cheese makes this one of my all time favorite casseroles. The result is a delicious, and surprisingly healthy comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out.

Between the husband and myself, the entire casserole was gone in 2 nights and 1 lunch.  Yep, we're pretty big fans around here.

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time:  20 minutes  /  Cook Time:  1 hour  /  Total Time:  1 hour 20 minutes
Servings:  8 smaller portions, 6 large portions


1 lb. ground turkey
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
10 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2-3 chipotle chilies, chopped (more if you love heat)
2 Tbsp. adobo sauce (you can always add more later)
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth (more if needed)
3 tsp. tomato paste
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cups pureed butternut squash
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large cubes
1/2 cup milk (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. sour cream
salt to taste


  1. Fill a large pot with water and add the chopped sweet potatoes.  Over high heat, bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer the potatoes until fork tender and nearly falling apart.  Remove from heat and drain water using a large strainer. Return potatoes to the same pot and add the pureed butternut squash, milk, butter, sour cream and salt.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
    • note:  if you're butternut squash is not previously pureed, simply peel, seed and chop your butternut squash into 1-inch pieces and boil them along with the potatoes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large saute pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the ground turkey and a dash of salt and pepper.  Continue to cook over medium heat until fully cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In the same saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your pan. Add the chopped onion and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Turn down heat to medium-low and add the minced garlic and grated ginger.  Mix the garlic and ginger with the onions and saute for an additional minute or so.  Now mix in the mushrooms, peas, corn and carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the chopped chipotle chilis, adobo sauce and worcestershire sauce, as well as the pre-cooked ground turkey. Mix well.
  5. Creating a well in the middle of your pan, whisk in the flour with the juices from the veggies and meat.  Once a paste is formed, slowly whisk the chicken broth in with the flour paste and finally mix in the tomato paste. Mix everything together well.  Allow meat and vegetable mixture to simmer on low for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
  6. Lightly spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  First pour the meat and vegetable mixture into the bottom of the dish and top with a layer of mozzarella cheese (I probably used 2 cups because I love cheese). Carefully spread the sweet potato/butternut squash mash evenly over the top of the cheese.  Use a fork to scrape the top of the potatoes to make ridges.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until potatoes turn golden and start to bubble at the corners. Allow it to cook for 10 minutes before serving.



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