I’ve got a little vegetarian at home, so we regularly eat vego. Added to that, she won’t eat any of the processed ‘meat like’ vegetarian products, so if I’m not cooking meat-free she’s not really getting a balanced diet. A meal like this lentil cottage pie recipe is born out of necessity.
Incidentally, if you like to eat vegetarian, I highly recommend Stacey at Veggie Mama.
The thing is, a lentil cottage pie is ridiculously easy to make and tastes delicious. We have it with baked vegetables in the cooler months, and swap it out for salad when the weather warms up. It doesn’t bake in the oven for too long, so it’s good even on a hot day.
You can use regular potatoes for the topping, but I like doing sweet potato, or 50/50 sweet and regular potato. It ups the nutrition, but it’s also tastes great. I’ve made the recipe below based on sweet potato only, but go to town.
If you don’t have leeks on hand (because otherwise, you probably have all the ingredients here in your pantry/fridge), add an extra half an onion. If you don’t have Parmesan, any ol’ grated cheese will do. Likewise, swap out any of the veggies and even use yellow spit peas instead of lentils. It’s a flexible little everyday recipe, this one.
More great recipes here: 21 satisfying tray bakes for busy nights
Lentil cottage pie
Makes 8 servings
Takes 20 minutes
Bakes 20 minutes
1 medium leek, finely sliced
1 large carrot, or 2 small, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
Splash of olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup milk
1 cup dry red lentils
500 ml vegetable stock
¾ cup frozen peas
Preheat fan-force oven to 180ºC. Grease a 15 cm x 20 cm ovenproof dish/pie dish.
Heat oil in a medium heavy-based frypan on a medium heat. Add the leek, carrot, onion and celery, pop on the lid on and cook for about 7 minutes until onion and leeks are translucent.
While the veggies cook down, put a saucepan onto boil and add the sweet potatoes. Cook for about 20 minutes. Drain and mash with Parmesan and milk.
Back to the veggies, add the lentils, stock and peas and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the lentils are soft.
Season to taste with salt and freshly-ground pepper, then add the tomato puree and gently simmer. Transfer the filling to the prepared oven dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and and the filling is hot. Serve with a salad or baked vegetables, or just on its own.