Wondering what to serve with Shepherd’s Pie? We have rounded up a collection of 25 of the best side dishes to serve with this hearty main course. Plenty of salads, cooked vegetables and bread to choose from for your dinner!
Shepherd’s Pie is one of my favorite comfort foods! I have good memories of ordering it regularly at pubs while traveling around Ireland.
While Shepherd’s Pie is substantial enough to be a meal on its own, we thought it would be helpful to put together a collection of side dishes to serve with Shepherd’s Pie. So we have some tasty salads, cooked veggies and bread recipes. And we will close with a few ideas in the drinks department.
But first, a bit more about this classic comfort food…
What is Shepherd’s Pie?
OK, first a few words about Shepherd’s Pie. The dish has a layer of savory meat in a rich gravy, topped by a layer of mashed potatoes.
Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, or sometimes a combination of lamb and beef. However, it is often made with ground beef instead of lamb, especially in the United States. In the British Isles, this type of dish made with beef is referred to as Cottage Pie.
Although I associate Shepherd’s Pie with Ireland and Irish pubs here in the US, the dish has its origins in Britain. But no surprise with all the potatoes involved that it would be adopted by the Irish, too!
Given the Irish embrace of Shepherd’s Pie, I did include it in my collection of Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.
Shepherd’s Pie Recipes
In case you haven’t come to this page with a shepherd’s pie recipe in hand, I wanted to provide you with a few ideas.
Here on Cooking Chat, we have a delicious recipe for Beef Shepherd’s Pie Casserole.
Here’s a traditional shepherd’s pie recipe from Culinary Ginger that looks good!
What to serve with Shepherd’s Pie
Believe it or not, in Ireland I was often served a side of boiled potatoes to go with Shepherd’s Pie. As much as I like potatoes, with the mashed potato topping on this classic dish, I figured it would be a good idea to offer up some other ideas for side dishes!
For this hearty main course, I was looking to share some lighter sides with plenty of veggies. A salad can be a great way to balance the meaty main, so we start there. But cooked veggies can be a nice option too — I know my Irish grandmother would always be sure to have some cooked veg options for us when serving Sunday dinner.
We follow the veggie recipes with some ideas for bread and beverages.
We’ll start by featuring some great salad recipes. Shepherd’s Pie can be a bit on the heavy side, so balancing the hearty main dish off with a healthy salad can make a great choice.
Serving a light salad with shepherd's pie can be a good way to balance the hearty main course. Here's a collection of great salads to serve.
This healthy Arugula Salad with Maple Vinaigrette recipe has a delicious combination of peppery greens and dressing with a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup.
Asparagus, Roasted Onion and Balsamic Tomato Salad
Need a leafy salad but not sure how to make it dinner party worthy? We show you how to elevate those leaves with this balsamic tomato salad mixed through with sweet roasted onions and crunchy asparagus.
Four Bean Salad
This quick and easy four bean salad is simple and delicious. With a tangy vinaigrette it's a great fresh side to pair with a hearty shepherd's pie to light things up and pack in some vegetables.
Romaine Salad with Simple Vinaigrette is an easy-to-prepare side dish that goes well with heavier dishes like Shepherd's Pie. You only need a few ingredients for this tasty salad.
Sugar Snap Pea Salad Recipe
Made with sugar snap peas and cucumbers, tossed in a simple sour cream dressing. The perfect fresh and crispy side dish.
Spinach, Asparagus & Fennel Salad
Bright, light, and flavorful, this colorful salad has a lemony dressing that's a nice complement to heavier meals. Spinach, Asparagus, and Fennel Salad.
Everyday Green Salad
A green lettuce salad, which you can adjust to your needs by using your favorite lettuce variety. Topped with a light vinaigrette dressing, this salad brings out all the beautiful flavors in your shepherd's pie.
Avocado, Tomato and Arugula
Avocado, Tomato and Arugula Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette: This light salad is easy to put together saving you more time to work on the shepherds pie.
Veggies with Shepherd’s Pie
While salads are a great options, we often think of cooking Shepherd’s Pie when the weather is chilly. So a good cooked vegetable dish can make a suitable side, whether it be veggies on the stove top, roasted in the oven, or prepared with a handy kitchen gadget.
Cooked vegetables, roasted or on the stove top, can make a good side dish for Shepherd's Pie. We have a great range of options for you, including some coming from handy kitchen gadgets like the air fryer.
Sautéed Arugula with Red Bell Peppers and plenty of garlic is a tasty and easy vegetable side dish for Shepherd's Pie.
Air Fryer Carrots
Add more veggies to your serving of shepherd's pie with these air fryer carrots! They're light and tender, so they offer the perfect flavor and texture contrast to shepherd's pie. The recipe also includes 3 different ways to make them - sweet, spicy or savory!
Looking for a quick and easy recipe for the best roasted asparagus? Great beginner oven baked asparagus recipe with additional ideas and variations.
Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms is an easy and savory side dish, a good companion for Shepherd's Pie
Maple Roasted Beets and Carrots
These maple roasted beets and carrots are a bright and lighter side dish that perfectly complement Shepherd's Pie! You only need five ingredients for this easy side dish.
Smothered Green Beans
And with only 6 everyday ingredients, you have every excuse to make this smothered green bean casserole right now.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots
Perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots are a great side dish for shepherd's pie!
Garlic Butter Mushrooms
Looking for a delicious side dish recipe? These sautéed garlic butter mushrooms will blow you away, and they’re so easy to make!
Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash recipe makes a flavorful and healthy side dish to serve with Shepherd's Pie.
Fried Cabbage With Bacon
Fried Cabbage With Bacon, with tender cabbage and savory bacon, makes a quick and easy, super flavorful side dish for any meal.
Green Peas with Butter
One of the simplest green pea recipes. A pea side dish of buttered peas cooked with onions.
Cheesy Garlic Broccoli
This cheesy broccoli is super easy to make, delicious, and light enough to have with a hefty meal. So delicious.
Air Fryer Green Beans
Air fryer green beans are an easy side done in less than 10 minutes with minimal prep.
These simple buttered leeks are a quick and easy side dish that are delicious served up with a shepherd's pie. Melt in your mouth buttery leeks, with slightly charred crispy edges are a great way to use leeks and you only need a few ingredients to make it.
Bread and Muffins
Some fresh, homemade bread to soak up the juices of the Shepherd’s Pie can round things out nicely!
Bread and Muffins
We have a few tasty bread recipes to go with your Shepherd's Pice!
Anadama bread is a classic New England bread traditionally made with cornmeal and molasses. This version updates the ingredients to what you can find in commonly in your pantry.
Savoury Cheddar Cheese And Onion Muffins
An alternative to bread, these savory cheddar muffins with smoked cheese are the perfect side to any meal.
Irish Soda Bread Muffins
Irish Soda Bread Muffins - moist buttermilk muffins with raisins – are a great nod to Ireland plus uses up leftover buttermilk.
A pint of Guinness is certainly a classic choice to go with Shepherd’s Pie!
But if you know me, you won’t be surprised to know that I have also tested some wine pairings for Shepherd’s Pie! My favorite was probably the Riparosso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Illuminati Vineyards, which I visited when exploring Abruzzo wineries back in 2018.
We also have had good results pairing the pie with a Cab based red blend.
If it’s a mixed drink you have in mind, Kathleen from The Fresh Cooky has an Irish Mule recipe you might want to try.
What a great collection of recipes. I will give the snap pea salad a try.