How-To: Raymo’s Greek Shepard’s Bake

O.k., not sure if using kalamata olives makes this dish “greek” — but it just felt right. This is something I made the other night with what I had available in the kitchen. The recipe below is the full-blow, full-fat, non-vegetarian, and non-vegan version — but with a little common sense additions (or subtractions), it’s got the foundation to be whatever your little heart desires:)

What you need:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tbs. cumin
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • 3 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup of marinara or tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Baking dish (I used a 9×11)
  • Frying pan
  • Deep pan to boil potatoes
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

To make the bake, you’re first gonna make three separate mini-dishes:

  • Ground turkey
    • In frying pan brown ground turkey, season with cumin, and 1
    • Remove from pan when pink is gone (place in a bowl)
  • Puree (or mashed) potatoes
    • Quarter potatoes and boil in water ’till soft (about 9 min.)
    • Drain water
    • Put potatoes back in the pan with butter and half and half
    • Mash, then wisk
    • Season with salt and pepper
  • Zucchini Saute
    • Cut zucchinis in half
    • Cut those halves in half
    • Then cut each half into small chunks
    • Warm frying pan with olive oil
    • When warm add zucchini chunks
    • Add kalamata olives
    • Season with salt
    • Sautee until brown but zucchini is still kinda firm

Now, it’s time to assemble Raymo’s Greek Shepard’s Bake

  • Rub a bit of olive oil over the surface of a 9×12 baking dish (or whatever you have), then layer as follows:
    • Layer 1: 1/2 of the mashed potatoes you have (just eyeball it, don’t have to be exact)
Layer of potatoes
Yummy mashed potatoes. Just plop ’em down and spread out. No art degree required!
  • Layer 2: Spoon on a 1/4 cup of jarred marinara or tomato sauce — and spread thinly over potatoes
Add some tomato sauce
Just a thin layer will do. Don’t create a tomato sauce lake!
  • Layer 3: Spread all of the ground turkey on top of tomato sauce layer
Turkey, tofu, roasted cauliflower, grilled portobello mushrooms chopped — you choose!
  • Layer 4: Spread out all of the zucchini and kalamata olive mix on top of turkey layer
Mmmmmmmmm. Veggies. Don’t have zucchini or kalamata olives? How ’bout roasted broccoli, garlic cloves, cranberries, Brussel sprouts??? Get it. Just sautĂ© to veggies together.
  • Layer 5: Spread out the parmesan cheese
Whatever type of cheese you like…ricotta, cottage or vegan would go well here.
  • Layer 6: Spoon on a 1/4 cup of jarred marinara
It’s not pretty now but it’s worth it.
  • Layer 7: Spoon on a thin layer of the remaining potatoes
This is your chance to not let what you made earlier go to waste. Put what ya got remaining on this layer. It’s all good. We’re gonna cover it with cheese after it’s done baking:)

Baking the bake

  • Put the assembled dish in a 350-degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes
  • At 30 min spread the shredded cheddar over the back
  • Bake for an additional 10 minutes


  • Let bake cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting
  • Cut as desired (I cut mine into 8 pieces)

Trying to impress? I get it. Consider:

  • Cracking a bottle of Pinot Noir when you put the dish in to bake. Have another bottle ready to go halfway through dinner
  • Serving a small green salad with tomato, red onion, feta cheese, and balsamic dressing before.
  • Don’t want salad? Roast some nuts you love with salt and nibble with wine.
  • Sweet tooth? This is a hearty dish. Consider something on the light side like strawberries, gelato, or Ben & Gerry’s Vegan Cherry Garcia:)

Published by

Ray J. Kelly

A writer, communications specialist, children's book author, and em-dash enthusiast, Ray lives in Palm Springs, CA.