An easy grab-and-go lunch that isn’t a salad: shepherd’s pie in a jar! Made with ground turkey and plenty of veggies, you can feel good about this feel-good lunch.
Mason jar meals are so much fun! Not only are the jars pretty, but they’re leak-proof! And I can’t always say that about plastic food containers I’ve used in the past…
But, most of the meal-in-a-jar ideas I’ve seen are salads. Don’t get me wrong, I do love salad! But sometimes you want something a little more substantial, a little more filling. Shepherd’s pie is the perfect solution!
I made this on a day I picked my husband up from work to run some errands. It worked perfectly to eat on the go! Plus, he loved it. “Can this go on the regular rotation?” he asked. This doesn’t happen often, so it’s the sign of a truly husband-approved recipe. Golden.
How to make shepherd’s pie in a jar
Start off by getting your mashed potatoes going. This can be done using your own method, if preferred, but here’s how I did it.
I used small yellow potatoes and kept the skins on because we like them (and nutrients!), but you can peel them if you like. Chop them into inch-sized squares and cook them in boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces them. You want them pretty soft, but not completely mush before you even mash them. Drain when finished cooking.
Meanwhile, dice half an onion into small pieces, mince 3 cloves of garlic, and grate two or three carrots.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil (I used vegetable) and saute onions for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Next, add ground turkey and sliced mushrooms (I bought mine pre-sliced) and stir, breaking up turkey as you go until it’s fully browned. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of flower, plus a tablespoon of fresh thyme and rosemary and mix well.
Finally, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, a cup of frozen peas, 1/2 cup of beef broth, and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened just a bit.
TIP: if you have extra tomato paste, scoop it onto a parchment paper-lined plate in tablespoon-sized heaps. Freeze for a day, then transfer to a ziplock bag. Now you’re set for the next recipe that calls for only a little bit of tomato paste!
Now, back to the mashed potatoes. Add 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mash with a potato masher or use a handheld mixer for just a minute to whip them up.
Lunch in a jar
Now is the fun part! Carefully scoop the turkey and veggie mixture evenly into four pint-sized jars. I used maybe 1 1/4 cups per jar. Now layer on 1/2 cup or so of mashed potatoes. Top with a pinch of cheddar cheese, if desired. I decided it doesn’t even need cheese because it tastes great even without it!
Pint-sized jars work well for a hungry adult (very filling!), but you can also use half-pint sized jars for kids or if you have a smaller appetite.
After eating these, I’ve decided that it might be a good idea to add half of the mashed potatoes to the bottom of the jar. This way, you have a more evenly distributed potato-to-filling ratio. But even if the potatoes are all on top, just stir it all up a bit and it works great!
Make these ahead for nearly a week of lunches! They can be reheated without a lid in either a microwave for 1-2 minutes. The great thing about using a jar is that they can also be heated in the oven, if that’s your preference. About 20 minutes at 400* F works nicely, just make sure to place them on top of a baking sheet so they don’t fall over!
What recipes have you tried in a jar?