Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie (gluten free, dairy free, potato-free, ACD-friendly, vegan option))


I am a huge fan of savory pies.  To me, a pie is like a gift, the crust a wrapper for wonderful secrets underneath.  You never know what delights are hiding under a tender crust or a layer of something potato-like!  Savory pies are so satisfying, so nourishing, so darn delicious; I love them.  I love sweet pies too, but those are a bit more limited to me right now, so I'm channelling all my love to the savory end of things.


My mom made these amazing vegetable pies when I was young, full of root vegetables and peas and onions, and topped with tasty crust.  I made vegetable pies pretty often back when I lived with roommates, using our communal vegetable stash and whipping up delicious spelt crusts mixed with herbs.  But once I started living alone, I kind of stopped making pies, because they seemed like overkill - one big pie lasts a LONG time when you live by yourself.  Recently,  however, I've gotten back on the pie kick, especially Shepherd's Pie.  I never made Shepherd's Pie all that often back in my pie-making days of old, I made crusted pies more often, because to be honest, I'm not all that crazy for potatoes and I really really really like crust.  Now that I no longer do the gluten, making a crust is a little more challenging.  NOw, don't get me wrong, I make some killer pastry crusts - I just recently made a savory squash and broccoli pesto galette with a buckwheat olive oil crust, and it was a wild success.  But generally, crusts become just a little more challenging.  Additionally,  I'm trying (desperately) to limit my carb intake, so coming up with a crustless, lower carb solution for my pie seems like a good idea.


Enter the potato-free Shepherd's Pie, using a mixture of steamed and pureed cauliflower and parsnips in place of the potato.  Using cauliflower isn't a new idea - there are tons of recipes out there for cauliflower Shepherd's Pie - but I like adding a couple parsnips to the mix.  Parsnips add just a hint of sweet starchiness, without being too carby, resulting in a rich, velvety, creamy texture.  This cloud of heavenly white fluff sits atop an herby mixture of ground turkey, onions, celery, peas, and Brussels sprouts.  If you don't like/have some of those vegetables, substitute some other vegetable - anything will work!  Savory pies are an amazing way to use up all those vegetables lying around in your crisper drawer; even the wiltiest and wobbliest vegetables are imbued with new life once mixed with meat, herbs and spices.  Vegetarian or vegan?  Substitute cooked lentils or beans for the ground turkey!


The best part is that it is quick to prepare.  From start to finish, it takes just over 30 minutes.  Not bad, huh?  Serve with a large greens salad and some lacto-fermented vegetables, and you've got a wonderfully nourishing, healthy meal in no time.  Leftovers keep really well in the fridge for a few days, so make a batch and save for lunches later in the week.

LOW-CARB, POTATO-FREE, DAIRY-FREE TURKEY SHEPHERD'S PIE (gluten free, ACD-friendly, dairy free, vegan option)

serves 4 hungry people or 6 kind of hungry people

1 head cauliflower
2 parsnips
1 pound ground turkey/other ground meat (VEGAN OPTION substitute 2-3 cups cooked white beans, lima beans, chickpeas, or lentils)
2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (or substitute equal amount other vegetable)
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh parsley,  minced
2 tsp dry tarragon
2 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp Herbamare or sea salt
1-4 T olive oil
1 1/4 c broth/stock, divided

  1. Wash and peel parsnips, and wash and chop cauliflower.  Steam until tender, and place in blender/food processor with 1/2 c broth, 1/2 tsp salt, and, if desired, 1-2 T olive oil (the olive oil adds a bit of richness and body and wonderful flavor).  Blend until totally smooth and creamy, and set aside.
  2. While vegetables steam, heat 1-2 T olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the ground turkey and brown over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.  Add onion, celery, Brussels sprouts, herbs, and 1/2 c broth, and stir to mix.  Cover pan with cover or foil tent and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding peas when vegetables are nearly done. If mixture gets dry, add additional 1/4 c broth.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat. [time saving hint: while vegetables/meat cook, puree steamed cauliflower/parsnips!]
  3. Transfer meat mixture into a high-sided casserole dish.  Spread cauliflower-parsnip puree evenly over the top.
  4. Broil until top is golden brown and mixture is heated through.  Serve immediately!


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Reader Comments (4)

Looks incredible! When I read the header, I guessed you might be using a veg mash w/ cauliflower. I'm sure it worked beautifully! Sounds like you are squeezing the maximum flavor and variety out of the ACD--way to go :)

November 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Thanks Ricki! Yes, flavor and variety are key, as we know : ) Don't you just love veg mash, for anything and everything?

I haven't been as wildly strict as I probably should be with the ACD, but I'm not doing sugar at all, and that seems to be helping big time. Now that I know that I have Lyme, I'm guessing that some of these symptoms are actually from that and not from Candida - but I know I'm prone to yeast issues, so I think the ACD is still a good idea. Once I start antibiotic, I'll need it for sure!

November 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I’m lactose intolerant and have always dreaded the holidays, as all the food seems to be loaded with dairy. After a recommendation of one of my friends, I found this nutrition coach named Rose Cole who has a holiday cookbook and has tons of dairy free recipes. Her site is www.RoseCole.com/HolidayCookbook

November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Thank U sooo much! My husband loves Shepherd's Pie. When he had neck surgery last year he could hard eat anything because his throat was so sore from them going in thru his neck in the front rather than the back (well that might hurt too, I imagine). Anyway, the man had to eat of course so I had found and concocted many smooth foods for him (yogurt and smoothies weren't cutting it). I made Avgolemono soup with the chicken so shredded & the veggies so finely diced they almost melted into the soup which may not sound too good to us but for him during that time, it was perfect.

As he was coming along, I made Shepherd's Pie for him (tiny veggies & turkey sausage) & potatoes & he loved it. He asks for it all the time and I want to give the man what he wants but I am not at all a fan of potatoes. I put on weight too fast with overly starchy veggies (not a fan of peas either but I may succumb to the peas).

I thought about cauliflower but just haven't tried it. This sounds perfect! I love the parsnip idea.


October 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo