Try this veggie cottage pie, then check out our comforting vegetarian shepherd's pie, topped with sweet potato mash.


For the lentil sauce

For the topping


  • STEP 1

    To make the sauce, heat 50g butter in a pan, then gently fry 2 chopped onions, 4 diced carrots, 1 chopped head of celery and 4 finely chopped garlic cloves for 15 mins until soft and golden.

  • STEP 2

    Turn up the heat, add 200g sliced chestnut mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more.

  • STEP 3

    Stir in 2 bay leaves and 1 tbsp dried thyme, then add 500g green lentils. Pour over 100ml red wine and 1.7l vegetable stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage.

  • STEP 4

    Simmer for 40-50 mins until the lentils are very soft.

  • STEP 5

    Season to taste, take off heat, then stir in 3 tbsp tomato purée.

  • STEP 6

    While the lentils are cooking, tip 2kg floury potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 mins until tender. Drain well, mash with 85g butter and 100ml milk, then season with salt and pepper.

  • STEP 7

    To assemble the pies, divide the lentil mixture between all the dishes that you are using, then top with mash.

  • STEP 8

    Scatter over 50g grated cheddar and freeze for up to two months or if eating that day, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 30 mins until the topping is golden.


For best results, defrost the

prepared pies thoroughly before cooking

as stated. The pies can also be cooked from

frozen if short of time – first heat oven to

160C/fan 140C/gas 3, then cover the pie

with foil and bake for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins

(30 mins for individual pies) until completely

soft when prodded with a knife. Increase

the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, uncover,

then continue to cook for 20 mins until

golden on top and piping hot.


You could also use three cans of rinsed and

drained green lentils for this – simply make the

stock, then simmer them for just 10 minutes.


If you have lots of pie dishes, then you

can make the pies in a variety of sizes to suit

different occasions, then freeze them. I like

to make two large pies to serve up to four,

plus two individual pies – perfect for a solo

meal or a delicious supper for the babysitter. If you don’t have lots of dishes, then you

can freeze the sauce, mash and cheese in

separate freezer bags, then defrost and

assemble when needed.


Fry off your onions, celery, carrots and garlic for 15 mins in a frying pan. Tip into your slow cooker with the mushrooms, herbs and lentils. Pour over the stock and wine, cover and cook on High for 5-6 hours. Meanwhile make the mashed potato according to step 6. Turn off the slow cooker, season and stir in the tomato purée. Continue from step 7, dividing the lentils between dishes, top with the mash and cheese and cook for 30 mins until piping hot.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2009


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