Healthy Shepherd’s Pie With An Autumn Twist

recipe_bAs diligently as I follow a gluten-free diet (and I am diligent—I never, ever knowingly and willingly cheat), sometimes it happens—I get glutened.

Such was the case sometime Saturday. I woke up Sunday with my typical signs: a migraine headache and a mysterious, unrelenting itchiness.

Unfortunately, ingesting gluten does nothing to dampen my appetite. No matter how icky I feel, I still need to eat. And at that point I want “comfort food.”

For me, Shepherd’s Pie is pure comfort. My mother made it often when I was growing up, usually using leftovers. I loved it more than whatever the original dinner was.

So I scrounged around my kitchen to see what I could find to put together for a quick and effortless Shepherd’s Pie. I had half a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, a large sweet potato in my veggie bowl and in my pantry a can of gluten-free vegetable soup. Using the soup made it super easy to put the pie together and in about 25 minutes, dinner was ready.

This is seriously one of the easiest gluten-free recipes I have ever made. Perfect for a time when you feel like “cooked-all-day comfort food” but don’t have the time or energy to cook all day.

Autumn Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 2

3 cups diced sweet potatoes (from 1 large potato, about 1½ lbs) cut into one-inch dices
1 (14 ounce) can gluten free vegetable soup
2 cups cooked chicken (about half a chicken) shredded or diced
2 Tbsp dairy-free butter substitute
¼ cup rice milk
1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the sweet potatoes into a pan with heavily salted cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil cook until fork tender, about
10 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, microwave the soup for 3-4 minutes or until hot. Stir and pour into a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Divide the mixture between two oven safe bowls or ramekins (my ramekins hold 18 ounces).

When the sweet potatoes are done, drain them and then return them to the hot pot. Put back on the fire and cook for another 30 seconds or so to evaporate any excess liquid.

Turn off the heat, mash the potatoes with a potato masher, then add the butter, rice milk, salt and pepper. Mash together until fairly smooth. Divide the potato mixture between the ramekins on top of the chicken mixture. Spread all the way to the edges of the ramekins.
With the tines of a fork, rake the top of the potatoes to create little ridges.

Cook for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. If you want the top of the potatoes a little more browned, turn on the broiler and broil for a minute, but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Carol Kicinski
Carol Kicinski is a chef and the editor of

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