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Keto Mashup: Sloppy Joe Shepherd's Pie

February 18, 2019
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Step into the past with this Keto Friendly Mashup Recipe. A quick and easy low carb dinner that will make you feel like you're back at your childhood dinner table. Sloppy Joe Shepherds Pie is the Perfect Comfort Food you crave on cold days

Sloppy Joe Shepherds Pie

Sloppy Joe or Shepherds Pie??? Both Please!!!

I’d like to start off by saying I was neither high nor drunk when I came up with this. I'd been thinking about something fun I could do with keto recipes to make them more interesting. I decided that I’m going to begin a new series of recipes called “Keto Mashup”. I take 2 dishes and combine them in some manner. The idea popped in my head thinking about how I could make a keto version of a sloppy joe. I didn’t want to the same old sloppy joe recipe we all grew up on. Obviously, I’m not going to serve it on bread, even though I’m sure there’s some delicious keto buns that this recipe would be great with.

Shepherds Pie...The Perfect Keto Comfort Food

I’ve seen a bunch of keto shepherd's pie recipes that all look fantastic. However, I wanted to put a little more of a twist on it than just switching out beef for lamb. Changing the whole flavor profile completely while still maintaining some of the basic techniques. Sauté veggies, brown the meat, make a sauce and top with mash potatoes...or mashed cauliflower in this case. I noticed that the mashed cauliflower just doesn’t seem to brown like potatoes even though I sprayed butter on the top. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to add some cheddar cheese and jalapeños.

Cauliflower is the New Potato!!

To be honest as I made this for the first time I had no idea if this was going to suck. Would the sauce be too greasy?? Would the cauliflower mash sit on top or would it just melt into the beef and look like a hot mess. As you’ll soon find out if you make this dish, it’s amazing. The Creamy Cauliflower mash is a perfect topping for the sweet and slightly spicy sloppy joe mixture. The cheese and jalapeños on top take this keto mashup to another level.

Let’s talk about beef baby!

Sloppy Joe Shepherds Pie

I was lucky enough to film this video in one take but I wanted to change a few things that I wasn’t completely happy with. A lot of us low carb people are looking for the higher fat ratio ground beef grinds and I agree a tube of 73/27 is juicy and delicious. As the ground beef cooks you’ll soon have a swimming pool of grease that ends up steaming the beef instead of browning it.

For this particular dish I highly recommend using at least an 80/20 grind or a lean 90/10 cut. I can’t believe I’m saying this but even using lean ground chicken or turkey would work in this case. Even with the lean meat you may need to drain off any excess liquid. Remember it called sloppy joe not Greasy Greg. Lol

Since you bring it up where did the Sloppy Joe get its name?

Well as I researched this highly debated topic I discovered there are a few different theories. Apparently in the 1930’s at a cafe in Sioux City Iowa “loose meat sandwiches” were a cheap economical way to use up lesser cuts of beef. As the story goes a crafty cook named “Joe” decided to mix in some tomato sauce and spices in with the beef and the sloppy joe was born.

Key West, The Home of the Sloppy Joe??

The other story has roots in Havana and Key west at a bar opened on the exact day Prohibition ended named Sloppy Joe's Bar. The Island watering hole also served the Loose meat sandwiches even though the name of the bar had nothing to do with the sandwich. Sloppy Joes is still open to this day and apparently served over 50k of these messy masterpieces a year.

My first experience with the sloppy joe was at my family’s dinner table but I knew it as “Manwich”. I think you’d  be hard pressed to find a cupboard in America in the 70s and 80s that didn’t have a can of the tomato based concoction in it. If your mother was a gourmet she would add her own special ingredient that made hers the best. If I recall my mother would add extra Worcestershire to the beef. In my opinion it was the best on the block!

The colorful commercials of the 80s would always have a hungry child uninterested in dinner until the patriarch of the home would proclaim “its Manwich night”. Because “A sandwich is a sandwich but a Manwich is a meal". I shuddered to think of all the added sugar that was in that can combined with the horrific white hamburger buns I would pile high with the messy mixture. Thankfully today’s keto version is full of all those nostalgic flavors without all the carbs.

I don’t feel like boiling a pot of water and going through all the trouble of making Cauliflower Mash.

Sloppy Joe Shepherds Pie

I know we are all busy people looking for hacks and shortcuts to make life easier. I’ve got one that I’m quite proud of. I know you’ll never go back to making cauliflower mash any other way. You know that old microwaveable rice cooker that you got at a pampered chef party that you never even took out of the box??? Oh you didn’t get suckered into that like I did. Well good for you.

If you’re not familiar these Microwave Rice Cookers they make cooking Cauliflower Mash a breeze. Simply throw a head of cauliflower in in the cooker along with some heavy cream, cream cheese and salt. Microwave for two rounds of 6 minutes (12 total) and you’ve got tender delicious cauliflower mash. You just need to blend it up smooth with your Stick Blender. By the time your sloppy joe mixture is done cooking your hot fresh cauliflower mash is ready to slather on top.

As Hannibal from the A-Team would say “I love it when a plan comes together!!” Child of the 80s right here...guilty!!!

I hope that making this time machine dinner brings you back to a simpler time when sitcoms rules the airwaves and reality TV was called the nightly news! Just because you're all grown up but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our favorite childhood meals. We just have to clean up the ingredients a bit without sacrificing the familiar flavors we miss. Some keto recipes look good in the pics but disappoint on the plate. This one is a winner all the way and I’m willing to bet you’ll put this in the low carb dinner rotation for sure. Let me know what you think of the recipe and please share it with anyone who knows that Richard Dean Anderson is the only true MacGyver!!

To make individual servings portion the sloppy Joe mixture into 4 inch cast iron skillets.Top with cauliflower, cheese and jalapeno. Makes for great presentation.

Looking For More Keto Mash Up Recipes Like This One??

Sloppy Joe Shepherds Pie

Keto Sloppy Joe Shepherd's Pie

3 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Irish
Keyword: Cauliflower Mash, Shepherd's Pie, Sloppy Joe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 573kcal
Author: Culinary Lion



  • Chop up cauliflower and add additional ingredients to microwave rice cooker. Microwave on high for 6 minutes, stir then cook for another 6. Test cauliflower to make sure its fork tender. Leave in microwave while preparing sloppy Joe mixture.
  • In a cast iron skillet melt butter before adding your diced onions and bell pepper. Sauté over medium heat until veggies are tender
  • Add ground beef to the skillet breaking the meat down into a even mixture. Once Beef is almost fully cooked drain off any excess grease and turn heat down to low. then Stir in your ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire and spices. simmer to combine flavors.
  • Puree cauliflower mash mixture until smooth. Dollop your cauliflower mash in the center of the skillet and gently spread around covert the whole pan edge to edge. Top with cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeños 
  • Broil in high for just long enough to brown the cheese. (About 3-5 minutes). Let cool for 5 minutes before serving 


Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 741mg | Potassium: 831mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1715IU | Vitamin C: 57.3mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 4.4mg
Nutrition Facts
Keto Sloppy Joe Shepherd's Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 573 Calories from Fat 396
% Daily Value*
Fat 44g68%
Saturated Fat 19g119%
Cholesterol 153mg51%
Sodium 741mg32%
Potassium 831mg24%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 1715IU34%
Vitamin C 57.3mg69%
Calcium 128mg13%
Iron 4.4mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Recipe Rating

12 comments on “Keto Mashup: Sloppy Joe Shepherd's Pie”

  1. Excellent recipe, made this to feed my father and a friend helping with renovations at my place and they LOVED it. Both, including me, took seconds... They were surprised they ate a keto meal as well, and that the cauliflower mash was NOT potatoes 🙂
    I used 2 bags of frozen cauliflowers (500g each) and it produced about 1in thick layer on top of the meat. I also sprinkled the top with dried parsley flakes for looks. I drained roughly a bowl of excess liquid while cooking lean ground beef. The ketchup and W sauce add juices so it was just perfect this way. Also, this is a perfect size meal to fill the 10x3in Lodge skillet to the brim, and leftovers for work lunch. A+ recipe. Will make again.

  2. LOVE the rice cooker hack. We used the cooker all the time when we ate rice. And I have a really rough time making cauliflower mash. I’m psyched to try this. Thanks

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time last week. My husband hates cauliflower so I used kohlrabi for the mash instead. It was so good. I had leftovers for days and loved every bite. Frank, I’d love to see what else you can do with kohlrabi and celery root.

    1. Im so glad you enjoyed that recipe, I love Kohlrabi and celery root. i dont see it as often as other toot veggies anymore. ill work on it!

  4. 5 stars
    My go to for a comforting low carb dinner. We use Alternasweets spicy ketchup for a bit of heat. So flavorful, especially as leftovers!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for a family get together. I actually doubled the recipe divided it between to large casserole dishes and baked it for about 15 to 20 minutes. This was fantastic. What a great pairing of food. The sloppy joe stole the show in my opinion. Leftovers were even better.

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