Vegetarian Cottage Pie

A pie made with minced meat and carrots, topped with potatoes is a British/Irish child’s delight. Having recently discovered Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian dishes often use brown or green lentils in place of minced beef or lamb the chef has been experimenting in Temptress’ galley. Hence this tasty version of one of our favourite dishes served at the Potluck in Miri.

  • Potatoes – cooked and mashed enough to cover the top of your dish at least 2cm thick
  • Green/Brown/Puy Lentils – allow around 50-70g dried lentils per person
  • A mix of dried mushrooms eg porchini and shitake – you only need a handful
  • Medium Carrot diced
  • Small tin of peas (optional)
  • Large onion chopped
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Veggie stock cube or a spoonful of miso paste
  • Dried herbs – thyme, sage, rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to season

Soak the lentils for at least an hour in hot water or overnight in cold water then drain

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 mins, strain reserving the liquor. Then slice the mushrooms into small pieces, discarding any woody bits.

Fry the onion til soft then add the lentils, carrots and mushrooms and the herbs. Stir over a medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes til fragrant

Add the reserved mushroom liquor, stock cube or miso paste, a tablespoonful or so of tomato ketchup and pepper. Then add enough water to cover the mix.

Cook for 20-30 mins or until the lentils are soft, stir from time to time and check the water, depending on the lentils used you may need to add more. Avoid adding too much water at a time as you don’t want it too soupy.

Stir in the drained peas if using. Adjust the seasoning as necessary

Place lentil mixture in an oven proof dish, top with the mashed potato, scatter a few tiny knobs of butter and place in the oven for 25-30 mins until the top is browning nicely.

Serve on its own or with a side of cabbage or green beans


By substituting the tomato ketchup for puree and or tinned tomatoes and adding a dash of red wine and garlic this vegetarian base can be used as a bolognaise sauce. It can also become the tasty filling of a vegetarian moussaka (use some ground cinnamon and allspice to give it a Greek touch).