Each serving of this delicious dish is only 279 calories!

When the weather turns cooler, baked casseroles really hit the spot. This lightened-up version of the classic shepherd's pie recipe features chicken and plenty of veggies for a healthier comfort food classic. You won't miss any of the flavor with these simple substitutions.

As written, with whole milk, butter, and cheese, each portion of this dish has just 279 calories, with 21 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fat. Not bad for meat and potatoes!

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 cups brown gravy (homemade, from a dry mix or jar)
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms

For the topping:

  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 T. salted butter
  • 2 T. milk
  • Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

casserole, vegetables


In a large pan over medium heat, sautée the onion and garlic in the olive oil until fragrant. Add the ground chicken and spices, then cook until no longer pink, approximately 5 minutes. Make sure to break up the chicken as it cooks.

Add your gravy and vegetables, then simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as needed, then pour into a baking dish.

Preheat your oven to 400 and get started on the potato topping. Boil the chopped potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and mash, then add the butter and milk. Season to your taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Carefully spread the potatoes on top of the chicken and vegetable mixture. Lightly drag a fork across the surface, creating a general basketweave pattern. If you want to get really fancy, you can pipe it on using a star-tipped piping bag. Sprinkle on the shredded cheese if you're using it.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn up the oven and broil for 3 minutes to give it a bit of color. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. 



  • If prepared the way the recipe is written, each portion comes out to 279 calories. While the cheese makes the crowning touch, you can absolutely omit it to lighten it up further.
  • The trick to making an unforgettable dish is to season every step of the way. Ground chicken tends to be dry and delicate in flavor, so experiment with the flavorings used.
  • Anything with gravy is a great way to hide your vegetables from picky palates. If you wanted to venture out and add even more, cubed sweet potatoes or diced zucchini would make great addtions.
  • You could make this dish vegetarian or even vegan by incorporating tofu crumbles or beans instead of the ground chicken. Mash the potatoes with your favorite non-dairy milk and butter substitute.

**The photos in this article are by Sarina Petrocelly.

Do you have favorite add-ins or tricks for a classic shepherd's pie? Let us know in the comments!