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Simply Vegetarian A Garden Cottage Pie

September 19, 2011

It was back to winter again briefly yesterday with bucketing rain and freezing cold north westerly gales driving the rain in everywhere. On days like this I just love spending time in my little kitchen. It gets all steamy, warm and cozy in there and the wonderful smells wafting up from the gently bubbling pots on the stove envelope me in an aromatic fog. Nothing better on a cold day!! Earlier in the day m lovely neighbour returned from hospital after undergoing knee replacement surgery so I decided that I would make a love meal to welcome her back home and to help out a little bit. Seeing as Mr Neighbour is a vegetarian I decided to do a comforting garden cottage pie using pulses and vegetables for the filling. While I was doing that my hubby, who declares that he has got to have meat, rushed out and bought some mince and more potatoes so that he too could have his own cottage pie for supper 🙂 So I really did end up cooking up a storm!

Here is my delicious garden cottage pie… so delicious that the declared meat eater announced, on tasting, that he too would’ve eaten it with gusto!! Grrrr….gotta love that man!


Serves 4 hungry souls


30mls Olive Oil

15ml Butter

1 Large Onion – peeled and finely chopped

1 Red Or Yellow Pepper – seeds removed and finely chopped

1 Stick Celery – finely chopped

100g Button Mushrooms – wiped clean and finely chopped

2 Medium Carrots – peeled and finely chopped

1/2 Butternut – peeled and finely diced (make sure all your veg are the same size dice)

2 Garlic Cloves – peeled and finely grated

1/2 Red Chilli – seeds removed and finely chopped

1 Can Lentils – drained and rinsed

1 Can 4 Bean Mix – drained and rinsed (use cannelini or red kidney beans if preferred)

125ml Passata – use 1/2 can chopped tomatoes if preferred

500ml Vegetable Stock – NoMU has a fabulous one

5ml Dried Thyme

5ml Dried Oregano

5ml Ground Coriander

2.5ml Ground Cinnamon

Freshly ground Black Peppercorns  – to taste

Salt – to taste

10ml Sugar


4 Large Potatoes – peeled and cut into pieces

2 Large Sweet Potatoes  – peeled and cut into pieces

Olive Oil


Ground White Pepper


Chop and dice all your vegetables first and set aside ready to use. Drain lentils and beans and rinse under running water in a sieve. Set aside. Have all your spices and herbs to hand so that that you don’t have to run back and forth looking for ingredients. This makes it all so much easier when you have quite a few ingredients for a recipe.

Preheat oven to 200deg Celcius

Spray a medium sized rectangular or round deep casserole dish

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then saute the onion, celery and red pepper until limp and translucent.

Add the garlic, chilli, herbs and spices and stir fry for one minute

Add the rest of the vegetables and stir to coat with the spicy oily mixture

Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the veggies are all cooked through

Meanwhile boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes in lightly salted water until softened. Drain and mash well with a drizzle of olive oil and some milk and a sprinkle of white ground pepper (my secret ingredient to very good mash!)

Once the filling is done place it all into the bottom of the casserole dish, filling it up about 3/4 the way up.

Top with the mashed potatoes and swirl attractively with a fork.

Optional extra is to sprinkle some grated parmesan or cheddar cheese on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

Serve with extra veggies or a garden salad.

The beauty of this meal is that you can add in more veggies or take out whatever you dont want to use. It really is entirely up to what you have in your fridge and store cupboard at the time. You can add frozen corn and peas as well for more variety if desired. The addition of some curry paste and ginger lifts it to another dimension entirely 🙂

Enjoy….just in time for Meatless Monday!

browniegirl xx

Footnote: I was very fortunate to be chosen as the winner in the Battle of the Scanpans Competition run by Banks Kitchen Shop. Included in the prize, together with a Scanpan frying pan and saucepan (which I love because it has pouring spouts on both sides….a real boon for a south paw like myself) was a stunning Scanpan chefs knife which I used with great glee to chop chop chop up all my veggies in no time! Thank you Banks for my awesome prize. And using the knife sharpener (that came with the knife) every day ensures that my knife stays honed and ready!!

My little grandson Jay admiring my Scanpan Hamper and asking if he can cook with me!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2011 4:02 PM

    Fantastic cottage pie Colleen – can’t believe I have never thought of making a meat free version – oh hang on, my carnivorous husband, oh yes, that’s why.
    Have a fantastic week.
    🙂 Mandy

    • September 19, 2011 4:19 PM

      HA! Mandy…..I have the same problem but honestly, Don told me it was so delicious that he would not miss the meat if he had to eat this now and again 🙂 Have a great week too xx

  2. September 19, 2011 4:13 PM

    this is a great Monday recipe 🙂

  3. September 19, 2011 4:49 PM

    I have the same problem with my kids and their veggie detectors – i can smuggle vegetables into the meat, but I don’t think I’d get away with smuggling the meat right out of the recipe! This does look good though… here I am with a basket full of veggies from the garden and stuck for what to cook for supper… one of these days they’ll grow into vegetables, I hope!

    • September 19, 2011 6:56 PM

      Im sure they will Kit. Try it with half meat half veggies perhaps?? Thanks so much for the visit xx

  4. September 19, 2011 4:53 PM

    Not Fair! That looks SO good and I am in no mood for cooking! A bit of curry and ginger! Oh yes!

    • September 19, 2011 6:57 PM

      Get better Douglas. Im feeling human again and even cooking which is great news. This is a very good pie xx

  5. September 19, 2011 8:53 PM

    Waah! It’s too hot here in Jhb to try this lovely recipe – now I can’t wait for winter! ;-D

    Just one question, O Captain, my Captain: what’s Passata?

    Beeeeeg Hugz! xxx

    • September 19, 2011 9:21 PM

      Fortunately we had a cold break for 2 days so its been lovely. 🙂 Passata di pomodoro – Italian tomato puree basically 🙂 Its not as solid as the tinned tomato paste that we get here in SA. It is a pourable liquid…can buy in bottles or box packs like the shelf milk packs…look for it by the tinned tomatoes and purees. You could also use a can of peeled chopped tomatoes if you prefer…Hugs to you Jo and thanks for the pop in xx

  6. September 21, 2011 10:20 AM

    Colly, you never fail to come up with something I want to make immediately! I must try this for the hubs, we’re trying to keep our wheat intake down, as he thinks he might be wheat allergic, so that cuts out all my go-to pasta dishes! This looks like a winner AND it’s wheat and meat free, thanks!

  7. September 27, 2011 8:59 AM

    Oh it looks just so yummy. I love it. 🙂 The cooler weather our end stinks a bunch. Not a fan, although the food is divine, so I shouldn’t complain.

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