This lentil cottage pie recipe and versions of, is a winter staple for us, particularly Theresa who loves this kind of hearty British style comfort food. For my part, it’s never something I think of, I would probably left to my own devices eat lighter summer food all through the winter. However, when I do sit down to this meal it never fails to satisfy.
You can vary this meal as you like, making it more or less British, more or less exotic. For example, add some roasted red pepper, almonds, and apricots, for a Middle Eastern version. Add chickpeas, spinach, and smoked paprika, for a Spanish version. Our motto is always to enjoy and be creative with a standard recipe that gives the basic guidelines and proportions.
Along these lines, the recipe might also be toned up or down regarding its richness. You could try adding a cheese of your choice to the mashed potato topping. Or, for a lighter, more whole food version for example, make a cauliflower-millet mash topping; blending this with a little tahini.
Regarding accompanying dishes, the beauty of this meal is that it really is a one pot wonder. As in the picture, we usually add some kind of bitter-greens, cabbage, kale or the like, as a balance; but this is surplus to requirement. Although, I always have a couple of slices of thick sourdough with this to mop up the gravy.
Lentil Cottage Pie Recipe (serves 4)
- 1 cup puy/green lentils (preferably, rinsed and soaked overnight). Or, 1 tin of lentils.
- 2 cups veg stock/water
- 1 tbs butter/olive oil
- ½ cup frozen peas (defrost if you remember 30 mins before)
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick celery
- 1 tbs flour
- 2 tbs tamari/soy sauce
- 1 tbs tomato puree
- ½ tsp sage, rosemary, thyme
- 1 tsp mustard
Mashed potato topping
- 5 medium sized potatoes (peeled and chopped into rough pieces)
- 1 cup milk/plant based milk
- 1 tbs butter/olive oil/crème fraiche
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the lentils on to boil, then turn down to a simmer. Use a medium sized pan and 2 cups of water. You should be able to more or less cook them dry in 40 mins.
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan with plenty of water. Boil until soft (about 20-30 mins). Set aside.
- Whilst the lentils and potatoes are cooking, dice the celery and carrot and add to a saute pan with the butter or olive oil. Cook over a medium heat until softened (about 5 mins). Stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently for 2 more minutes.
- Now add the peas, lentils, shoyu, mustard, tomato-puree, hebrs, and the stock/ water. Continue cooking for another 15 mins, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened.
- Grease a small baking dish and pour in the lentil mixture. Set the oven to 200 degrees if cooking, or set in the fridge (this can be made the night before).
- To make the mashed potato topping, mash the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients. Layer onto the lentil mixture and bake for 50 mins, covered. Turn the grill to medium. Uncover and grill the top (If desired) for about 10 more minutes until nicely browned.