Recipe: Cottage Pie (Healthy)

Hello and thank you if you are a returning reader. I’ve had some lovely words of encouragement thus far, so I’ll keep on posting food-related bits and bobs in the hope that they’re useful to someone!

Today, I’ll share with you the recipe I used for a cottage pie I knocked up the other day. I’m on a restricted diet at the moment, as I have some digestive issues so this is gluten free, yeast free and dairy free but I’ll share some options I have used in the past with you too.

What you’ll need (for a pie for 4 people-ish):

  • Potatoes for mashing – look at the size of the pie you want to make and use your imagination as to how much mash would cover the dish. I used 1kg for a pie that would feed roughly 4 people
  • Mince – mine was a cottage pie, using beef but you may prefer lamb. I reckon you want about 750g mince for 4 people. Again, up to you though and you can bulk it out with veg if you want to keep the cost down
  • Tomato purée
  • 1 carton of passata or 1 standard can of chopped tomatoes (roughly 400g)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stock cube; beef or vegetable. I used a yeast free vegetable one
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tsp cumin
  • Large glug of oil – I use olive oil
  • Milk / butter / milk alternative for your mashed potato
  • Optional: Marmite, red wine, sweetcorn, peas, grated cheese

What you do:

  • Peel your potatoes and chop into relatively small chunks – I usually quarter mine. Stick them on to boil. Keep an eye on them and when they’re cooked, drain and set to one side
  • Put a large pan on to heat, add your oil then your mince, garlic, chopped onion, carrot and bay leaves. Cook until the mince is brown:

Brown Mince

  • Add a large squeeze of tomato puree – I probably used about a quarter of a tube in mine
    • If you want to add wine to your dish, add a glug of red wine at this point
  • Crumble in your stock cube, add your passata or chopped tomatoes, oregano, cumin and stir. As always, if you’re unsure about seasoning, start by adding just a little as you can always add more later
  • Add any additional vegetables you wish to add. I used sweetcorn but peas, chopped green beans, etc. would all be delicious too. Whatever you’ve got sat in the fridge or freezer that needs eating!
  • Taste your sauce and check whether you wish to adjust the seasoning
    • Add salt and pepper to taste, also any additional seasoning, plus a teaspoon of Marmite if you like it extra beefy
  • At this point, if the liquid in the pan is scant, add a glug of water. You can see the liquid:content ratio I had in the picture below:


  • Bring the heat down to the point where the pot is simmering, put the lid on and come back to it for a stir in 5 minutes
  • Meanwhile, add the butter / milk / dairy alternative to your mashed potato along with some salt and pepper and give it a good old mashing
  • Heat your oven to 180C
  • Check your pot of filling / stir it every 5 minutes. You’re waiting for the amount of sauce to reduce to something thick enough to form the base of your pie. Think thick, Sunday gravy type consistency
  • When done, fish out the bay leaves, ladle the filling into your pie dish, top with the mash and pop in the oven for ~20 mins until golden on top
    • If you’re using grated cheese, sprinkle this on top of the assembled pie before putting it in the oven
  • Serve and enjoy!


And there she is! I served mine with some broccoli but it would be fine as a standalone dish too. You can really experiment with these pies and make them your own. To replace my usual deep, beefy flavour which couldn’t be achieved on my yeast-free diet, I added cumin to give it a slightly Indian-inspired twist but you can swap the seasoning in and out as you please.

I hope your friends and family enjoy your hearty handiwork 🙂


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