Shepherd's pie recipes usually involve cooking the lamb mince with tomato paste or chopped tomatoes from a can, for example in this BBC recipe, or this Good Food recipe.

How can I best approximate the usual taste and texture without any tomato ingredients?

2 Answers 2


The tomato in shepards pie provides acid and is the main coloring agent of the meat portion of the dish. Any other acid will work in place of it, although which you use will entirely depend on how much you want the flavor profile to stay the same. Adding lemon juice will give your pie a Mediterranean taste, adding others will result in other flavors coming to mind. You could just leave the tomatoes out and use a roux instead of the flour, that should give you about the same mouth feel just tasting onions and lamb.

  • 3
    You could probably get the color back with paprika or something else red, depending on what it is about the tomatoes that you're trying to avoid!
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 0:50
  • The Worcestershire sauce should provide some colour too. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 10:21
  • 2
    Personally I never use any tomatoes in my Shepherd's Pie. A good rich stock, well browned meat, and Worcestershire sauce provide all the colour. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 11:41

You could prop ably best approximate the flavour of the tomatoe by using some sort of roast pepper paste or roast peppers - although how well this will go in a shepherds pie I'm not so sure. If you just want the color you could use some paprika but again in a shepherds pie I'm not so sure!

Hope this helps!

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