This Turkey Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Topping is a great way to use Thanksgiving leftovers, or make it with chicken if you prefer. And this tasty casserole is kid-friendly and South Beach Diet Phase Two.
Yes, I realize a lot of you are still looking for Carb-Conscious Thanksgiving Recipes, but in the weird world of food blogging I've already tested a few recipes for leftover turkey and fallen in love with this Leftover Turkey Shepherd's Pie Casserole with Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Topping. The days we sampled this recipe my nephew and cooking assistant Jake kept saying "This is really good" every time he took a bite. The recipe uses turkey gravy, but if you don't have any leftover gravy from Thanksgiving, you really should buy some gravy (like we did!) and give this recipe a try.
I wanted to use turkey gravy to hold the filling together and flavor it, so I looked for the lowest carb gravy I could find and this one that I found at Costco has 3 carbs in 1/4 cup or 21 carbs in the 1 3/4 cups I used in the recipe. It's hard to make a diet-friendly recipe that has gravy, but this is definitely not too bad for a dish that makes 8 servings.
I used one cup each of finely diced carrots and frozen peas. Cook the carrots in the microwave for about 3 minutes to barely soften them.
Add the turkey, partially cooked carrots, peas, and gravy to the pan and simmer a few minutes so the gravy thickens a little more.
Leftover Turkey (or chicken) Shepherd's Pie Casserole with Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Topping
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
1 onion, chopped in pieces about 1/2 inch
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 cup raw carrots, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups diced leftover turkey or chicken, cut into pieces about 1 inch square
1 3/4 cups turkey gravy (for South Beach Diet, use the gravy with the lowest amount of carbs you can find)
1/2 cup low-fat grated cheese blend (I used Four Cheese Blend from Costco)
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
3-4 large cloves garlic
2 T low-fat or skim milk
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Chop cauliflower into small pieces and simmer with the garlic cloves until it's soft enough to mash easily. Drain cauliflower very well; then use an immersion blender, food processor, or hand beater to combine the cauliflower with the milk and Parmesan. Season the mashed cauliflower with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
While the cauliflower cooks, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion 3-4 minutes, then add the poultry seasoning and saute about 1 minute more. Put the chopped carrots in a glass measuring cup, cover with cling-wrap, and microwave about 3 minutes, or just until barely starting to soften. Add the partially cooked carrots, diced turkey, peas, and turkey gravy to the pan and simmer on low for 10 minutes, or until the gravy is slightly thickened.
Spray an 8" x 8" casserole dish with non-stick spray. (You need a dish with fairly high sides.) Spread the turkey-vegetable mixture in the bottom of the dish. Top with the cauliflower, using a rubber scraper to spread it out so it covers the filling. Top with the grated cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the top is lightly browned. Serve hot.
This freezes well; to reheat, cook in microwave for a few minutes or heat in an oven or toaster oven in a small ovenproof dish covered with foil.
South Beach Diet Suggestions:
I used mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes and looked for the lowest-carb variety of turkey gravy I could find to make this a lower-carb dish for the South Beach Diet. Still, even with those changes gravy does contain some flour and the dish has carrots and peas, both of which are high in natural sugar. I'd recommend saving this for a "once-in-a-while-treat" for phase two. You could eat it more often for phase three.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More After-Thanksgiving Casserole Ideas for Leftover Turkey:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Turkey and Stuffing Casserole from Budget Bytes
Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey (or chicken), Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Turkey Pot Pie from Gluten-Free Easily
Turkey or Chicken Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Turkey and Sweet Potato Enchiladas from Gluten-Free Goddess
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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