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Vegan Cottage Pie

Introduction & method

Cottage pie and shepherds pie are so wonderful, it's no wonder vegans want their own version. This one is based around a savoury sauce of lentils, barley and mushrooms.

Vegan Cottage Pie Recipe

Make the Sauce

You want to make the sauce first because it needs to cool down a bit before you put the potato topping on. Rinse the barley and the lentils. Place the barley in a small saucepan and add twice as much water as you have barley. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for about 25 minutes until they are edible but still a bit chewy.

Rinse the mushrooms and finely chop half of them. Chop the remainder more coarsely so you get a variation in texture. Heat some oil on medium-low heat in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms. Cook them for about 10 minutes - when they start to release their moisture turn up the heat a little to make it evaporate. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.

While the mushrooms are cooking, peel and chop the onion and dice the carrot. Heat some more oil in the frying pan. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes - it's OK to get a bit of browning on the edges. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes and then add the stock, the lentils, the drained barley and the mushrooms. Give it all a good stir then add the yeast extract, vegan 'Worcester' sauce, tomato puree and most of the chopped parsley (save a bit for garnish). Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils have cooked down to a mush. Season with salt and pepper if required then remove from heat and transfer it to the ovenproof dish you plan to bake it in. Allow the sauce to cool down and firm up a little.

Make the Mash

While the sauce is cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into equal-sized chunks. Boil them in salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Mash with vegan butter, oat milk or similar, salt and white pepper.

Assemble and Bake

When you are ready to put it all together, heat your oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan/convection oven, 200°C (392°F) conventional, gas 6. Use a spatula to spread the mashed potato in a smooth layer over the sauce. Make sure the potato is spread right to the edge of the baking dish. With a fork, make ridged patterns across the top of the potato - the ridges will catch the heat and turn golden and crunchy. Dot the top with bits of vegan butter.

Put the pie in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the top is golden.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Vegan Cottage Pie on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 90 grams red lentils
 90 grams pearl barley
 115 grams button mushrooms
 115 grams chestnut mushrooms
 1 medium onion
 1 tsp yeast extract (or Marmite)
 1 tbsp tomato puree
 500 ml vegetable stock
 small handful flatleaf parsley
 1 tsp vegan Worcester sauce†
  salt & pepper to taste
 500 grams potatoes
 2 tsp vegan margarine†
 1-2 tbsp oat 'milk' or similar
  salt & pepper to taste


† Vegan substitutes: butter is obviously a vegan no-no because of its dairy content, but oil-based margarines/spreads are usually OK - check the packaging says something like 'suitable for vegans'. Most Worcester-type sauces contain anchovies or fish sauce. Look for alternatives that don't - Henderson's Relish is vegan friendly. You might also look at things like HP Sauce, tamarind, soy sauce.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 -6
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Sauce cooling time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes.