This Paleo shepherd’s pie from Melissa Joulwan is the healthy comfort food you need right now

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Salad, grain bowls, and zoodles are deliciously healthy staples, but when your body is craving deep-dish, dig-in comfort food, you have to answer the call. And shepherd’s pie—the classic British comfort fare smothered in mashed potatoes—is the epitome of hearty winter fare.

But if you’re looking to fill up on something a little less rich, are devoted to your Paleo diet, or are just a little obsessed with cauliflower (same), this recipe from Well Fed‘s Melissa Joulwan is a game-changer.

The Paleo-obsessed blogger fills her shepherd’s pie with good-for-you fats (looking at you, ghee), loads of flavor courtesy of spices, and the aforementioned head of cauli standing in for spuds.

Added bonus? The lightened-up take is ready in a half an hour, so that you can feed your comfort food cravings before you go hangry.

Keep reading Melissa Joulwan’s delish take on shepherd’s pie.

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Melissa Joulwan‘s deconstructed shepherd’s pie

Serves 2–4

For the cauliflower mash:
1⁄2 cup water
1 large head cauliflower
2 Tbsp ghee
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp ground black pepper

For the lamb:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 medium yellow onion
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic
1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1⁄4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 1⁄2 lbs ground lamb
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1⁄2 cup water or chicken broth
1 tsp coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce
Handful of fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Place the water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Break the cauliflower into florets and add them to the pot, cover, and steam for about 10 minutes or until tender, adding more water if necessary. Remove the pan from heat, cover to keep hot, and set aside.

2. Warm the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, two minutes. While the oil heats, finely dice the onion. Add the onion and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook until tender and translucent, five to seven minutes.

3. While the onion cooks, peel and crush the garlic and combine it with 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme in a small bowl; set aside.

4. Crumble the lamb into the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is just pink, about three minutes. Add the spices and stir to combine. Push the meat to the side of the skillet and drop in the tomato paste; fry it about two minutes. Add the water and coconut aminos, then stir to combine and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the water is mostly gone and the meat is saucy, about 10 minutes.

5. Place about half of the steamed cauliflower into a food processor bowl and purée until smooth. Add the rest of the cauliflower and purée again. With the motor running, add the ghee, salt, and pepper through the feed tube. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Mince the parsley.

6. To serve, divide cauliflower mash among individual serving bowls, then top with ground meat and sprinkle with parsley.

Each week we spotlight a healthy-delish recipe that’s truly genius (and easy to make) from someone who’s wowed us in the food world. We’re talking buzzy cookbook authors and Instagram foodies to brilliant chefs. Get more must-try, mind-blowing ideas from the Recipe of the Week archive.

Reprinted with permission from Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less by Melissa Joulwan, copyright © 2016. Distributed by Greenleaf Book Group.

Meat gets a bad rep sometimes, but as long as you’re choosing the high-quality, responsibly raised stuff, you may be surprised by the benefits of digging. And these 10 recipes are (delicious) proof that you can be a plant-based Paleo, too.

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