Easy ground lamb shepherd's pie is made with spiced ground lamb, pomegranate molasses, and cardamom mashed potatoes. This Mediterranean spin on a classic shepherd's pie recipe has a crispy, melty cheesy top, creamy cardamom and garlic mashed potato layer, and a Middle Eastern spiced ground lamb and vegetable layer.
You’ll make this for cozy family dinners, dish parties, lunch gatherings; you name it. I used to make this for my friends when we were all living at our university’s dorms, and we never had any leftovers because everyone always went for seconds (and thirds!).
If you are looking for other ways to use minced lamb, check out this ouzi minced lamb and harissa lamb chili (from the best Mediterranean lamb recipes).
What I Love About This Recipe
Mediterranean shepherd’s pie is SO easy to make, and it’s such a time saver. You cook the meat and veggies while the potatoes boil, then all you have to do is mash the potatoes (which you can also prep the day before), assemble your layers, and bake! It makes this dish perfect for those busy weeknights.
- Potatoes: Any potatoes will do, but the secret to fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes are potatoes that are high in starch like Russets or Yukon Golds.
- Milk: I find full fat milk to be the best in this recipe. You can use non-dairy milk, skimmed, or half and half as well.
- Butter: I love a buttery mashed potato layer in my shepherd's pie, but I've also made this with olive oil and it tastes just as delicious.
- Cheese: I always make this easy shepherd's pie with fresh grated mozzarella on top, but feel free to replace it with any melting cheese you like (Cheddar, Colby, Gouda, Emmental, etc.)
- Minced ground meat: I always use lamb because it's what's most common in Syrian and Mediterranean dishes. Ground beef also works great.
- Mixed Vegetables: Any frozen mixed vegetables will do. I like to add peas and carrots, but you can also add corn, zucchini, or whatever else you have laying around in your freezer.
- 7 spice: This is a combination of 7 spices mixed together, and it's commonly used in Syrian and Middle Eastern cooking. If you don't have any on hand, substitute with allspice.
- Pomegranate molasses: You can find this ingredient at your local Middle Eastern market, or you can make your own with just 3 ingredients. It adds a sweet, tangy depth of flavor.
See the recipe at the bottom of the card for quantities.
How To Make Ground Lamb Shepherd's Pie
Peel and quarter the potatoes and place them in a medium-sized pot. Cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot until potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork(after about 20 to 25 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, then add the ground meat. Cook until no longer pink.
Add in the spices, frozen vegetables, garlic, tomato paste, and broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more broth if needed so the meat doesn’t dry out.
In the end, add in the pomegranate molasses.
Mash the cooked potatoes along with the garlic, butter, milk, and ground cardamom.
Adjust salt and pepper to your liking while your oven preheats.
Set the oven to 400 ℉ (200 ℃).
Assemble the shepherd's pie by sprinkling the breadcrumbs onto the bottom of the casserole dish (9x13 or similar). Spread about ¼ to ⅓ of the mashed potatoes on top of the breadcrumbs (you just want a thin layer to cover the bottom of your dish).
Evenly distribute the ground lamb mixture on top of the bottom layer of mashed potatoes.
Spread the rest of the mashed potatoes in an even layer on top of the meat, followed by the shredded cheese. The spiced ground lamb will be sandwiched in between a bottom mashed potato layer and a top mashed potato layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 ℉ (200 ℃) or until the cheese has melted and slightly browned. Serve.
Tips and Tricks
The main tip for this easy shepherd's pie casserole is in the ground meat. You want to have just the right amount of broth so that it's not too dry nor is it too watery. You want a nice, juicy layer of meat and vegetables in the center of the dish.
Another important tip: spread the mashed potatoes lightly with a rubber spatula or a large spoon. In order for it to stay fluffy, you don't want to pack it in too densely.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use any cheese you like for the topping.
- Add chili flakes into the ground meat mixture for some spice.
- Use ground beef instead of ground lamb.
- Make this dish vegetarian by using a plant-based ground meat, or ground tofu.
This savory pie originates in Ireland and was most famous in areas where there were farmlands and people lived in cottages. A lot of their diet was made of potatoes and lamb since most farmers were also shepherds. Hence the name shepherd's pie.
This easy shepherd's pie is the perfect make-ahead meal. Assemble your pie and freeze for up to two months. You can thaw it out and follow the same cooking time, or cook it from frozen and increase the cooking time by a bit.
Your freshly baked shepherd's pie will be perfectly fine in an airtight container or container sealed with plastic wrap for 3-5 days.
Middle Eastern Comfort Food Recipes
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Easy Ground Lamb Shepherd's Pie
Mashed Potato Layer
- 4 to 5 large potatoes
- 4 tablespoons butter ¼ cup
- ¼ cup hot milk or more
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon bread crumbs
- ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1¼ lbs ground beef or lamb
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables diced carrots and peas
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Lebanese 7 spices **see note 3
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup beef broth or water
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses optional
- Peel and quarter the potatoes and place them in a medium-sized pot. Cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot until potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork (about 20-25 minutes).
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, then add the ground meat. Cook until no longer pink.
- Add in the spices, frozen vegetables, garlic, tomato paste, and broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more broth if needed so the meat doesn’t dry out. At the end, add in the pomegranate molasses.
- Mash the cooked potatoes along with the garlic, butter, milk, and cardamom. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
- Preheat the oven to 400 ℉ (200 ℃).
- Assemble. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto the bottom of your casserole dish (9x13 or similar) and spread about ¼ to ⅓ of the mashed potatoes on top (you just want a thin layer to cover the bottom of your dish). Followed by the meat mixture, the rest of the mashed potatoes, and finally the shredded cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and slightly browned. Serve.
- Ground lamb shepherd's pie can be made ahead. Assemble the casserole and cover it with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge. When ready to eat, continue the baking step in the oven.
- Substitute ground beef for ground lamb.
- Substitute ¾ teaspoon allspice and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon for 1 teaspoon of seven spices. Seven spices is a blend of ground black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves.
Carole Ashford Dessart
What are 7 Spices?
7 spices is a blend of ground spices: black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, and clove. If you don't have 7 spices on hand, substitute 3/4 teaspoon allspice and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for 1 teaspoon of 7 spices.
Shepherd's Pie is traditionally a lamb dish. Cottage Pie is the version made with beef.
I truly enjoyed this recipe my wife and her family are Palestinian and I'm American. I spent a lot with my mother
in law when she was still with us when ever I had the chance to help her cook I did with that being said I had to wash a lot of dishes but watching her at the same time. Your recipes are amazing how close they are. I cooked this dish and WOW I'm Impressed how close it was. I'm very happy that I found you I look forward to trying many more of your recipes.
Thank You Cliff
Hi Cliff! Thank you for the wonderful comment. This recipe is one of my favorites, and it's by Samara. Many of her recipes are influenced by her Palestinian and Syrian heritage.
The whole family loved this recipe. I accidentally used a larger container initially, but then changed it to the right size. It turned out perfect, especially the cardamom garlic infused mashed potatoes.