Beef & lentil cottage pie with cauliflower & potato topping

Beef & lentil cottage pie with cauliflower & potato topping

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(24 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 4
Try a new topping for your comforting bake by adding cauliflower and a little cheddar cheese - there'll be some leftover for a second meal, too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal759
  • fat33g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs73g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre9g
  • protein45g
  • salt1.4g
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 250g minced beef
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200g red lentil
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 140g frozen pea
  • 1¼kg potato, cubed



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 1 large cauliflower (about 400g), cut into florets



    A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower…

  • 150ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 50g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 100g mature cheddar, grated


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 4. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the minced beef. Cook for 5 mins until browned all over, then add the carrot and cook for 2 mins more.

  2. Stir in the tomato purée and add seasoning. Cook for a few mins, then add the lentils and stock. Simmer for 20 mins, then stir in the peas.

  3. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the potatoes. Simmer for 15 mins, then add the cauliflower and simmer for a further 10 mins until the veg is tender.

  4. Drain, then return the veg to the pan for a few mins to dry out. add the milk, butter and seasoning, and mash together. Finally, add the cheese, reserving a handful, and mix well. Cover and put aside 500g of the mash mix for the sausage recipe tomorrow (see 'goes well with', right).

  5. Spoon the mince into a large roasting dish, about 30 x 20cm, and spoon the mash over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until golden, about 30 mins.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Nicola Roy
16th Jun, 2020
I loved this recipe! Like others have commented it seemed odd not to add onion. I added a small amount of chopped celery and leek, a shallot and some garlic before adding the mince. I used two beef stock pots with the 500ml of water but found I needed to add more water as the lentils started to cook. I'll definitely be making this again.
17th Nov, 2018
I didn't exactly follow the recipe, but I'd made cottage pie a couple of weeks ago and it had been a bit too wet. This evening I added lentils to my usual minced beef/tomato/onion & galic base, and it worked really well, a much better consistency. I was just post-meal googling to see it lentils in cottage pie was in existing recipes (because I'm slightly too stuffed to do anything else!). I added some Jerusalem Artichoke to the mash, as I'd just harvested a load from my garden plot - always makes mash taste amazing. the exact recipe above looks a bit bland with no onion or garlic - but I heartily reccomend adding lentils to cottage pie!
29th Jun, 2017
Great recipe. I added some garlic, onion, celery and white wine to the sauce and also some Worcestershire sauce to give it a kick!
5th May, 2015
Soooo sorry GF but this is my ONLY "not-so-favourite" recipe that I have done so far (and I have done many). I LOVE my red lentils but not in this cottage pie. Although the flavour was there, it just seemed to be the texture of the lentils mixed in with the beef mince, it just didn't work for me. All a matter of personal taste I suppose, and we can't all be the same. Will stick to my original cottage pie and keep the red lentils for my soups and curries as per usual. But I still love ya GF - you're like a best buddy for me!!!! ;)
23rd Sep, 2014
What a tasty dish!! I love lentils but am never sure how to cook them. This will definitely be added to my favourites!
14th Sep, 2014
I really liked this recipe - it's healthier and more frugal than normal cottage pie but tastes really lovely still. I especially liked the cauliflower mixed in with the potato as my children are big mash fans but not so much fans of cauliflower, they tucked into this very happily though. I did change things a little in that I'd inexplicably run out of tomato purée so had to use a squirt of ketchup and I added a tin of chopped toms. My 2 year old had fourths!
lottylouby's picture
6th Aug, 2014
This was lovely. Used a 500g pack of mince. I fried a chopped onion first then added the mince, then carrot. Didn't seem right not having onion in the recipe. The amount of lentils seemed a lot but was fine. May have been too much if I'd used the correct amount of mince. I cooked the potato and cauliflower separately as it seemed a shame to mash up the cauli with the potato. After the pie filling had set in the oven dish for a few minutes I added the mashed potatoes, the added the cauliflower by just pressing the florets into the top of the mash. I then made a small quantity of homemade cheese sauce and poured on top of the cauli. It didn't really touch the mash, just the cauliflower. The resulting pie was really tasty and would definitely make again.
20th Feb, 2014
This is delicious! I had a six year old visitor with his parents and they all loved it. Good budget family recipe or would feed a group of hungry students. You could adapt for veggies by leaving out meat and adding more vegetables or beans.
20th Feb, 2014
I cooked this recipe for my family yesterday and everyone - including the kids who don't really like vegetables - loved it! Great recipe! I used a little more broth. Thanks!
31st Mar, 2014
The lentils, are they dried?
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Apr, 2014
Hi there, yes this recipe calls for dried red lentils, thanks.
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