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Sloppy Joe Shepherds Pie

Step into the past with this Keto Friendly Mashup Recipe, perfect for a quick and easy low carb dinner that will make you feel like you’re back at your childhood dinner table.

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 and I decided that I’m going to begin a new series of recipes called “Keto Mashups” where I take 2 dishes and combine them in some manner. This first one popped in my head when I was 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 and 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.

I’ve seen a bunch of keto shepherd’s pie recipes that all look fantastic but again 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 so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to add some cheddar cheese and jalapeños.

Top 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 and the cheese and jalapeños on top take this keto mashup to another level. I guarantee you put this glorious cast iron creation in front of your family at the dinner table you won’t be worried about what container to put the leftovers in.

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. I know 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 but 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 would be ideal for this recipe. 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 of any excess liquid to prevent a greasy final product, 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 and 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.

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 in the neighborhood. If I recall my mother would add extra Worcestershire to the beef and 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 and 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 make cooking Cauliflower Mash a breeze, simply throw a chopped up 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 and 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! 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 3.5-4 inch cast iron skillets then top with cauliflower, cheese and jalapeño. Makes for great presentation.

Keto Sloppy Joe Shepherd’s Pie

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 573
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.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I love your posts

    1. Thank You!!! I appreciate you checking them out!!! Have a fantastic Weekend!!!

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