Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie is a hearty and wholesome twist on the classic cottage pie, substituting lentils for the traditional meat filling. This vegetarian-friendly dish is packed with flavor, combining tender lentils and vegetables topped with a creamy mashed potato crust. The result is a comforting, nutritious meal that’s perfect for anyone looking to enjoy a meat-free alternative.
In this article, I’ll guide you through making Mary Berry’s Lentil Cottage Pie, offering tips for a perfectly seasoned lentil filling and a fluffy, golden potato topping.
Let’s get started!
What is Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie Recipe?
Mary Berry lentil cottage pie is a vegetarian version of the traditional British dish, cottage pie. It consists of a savory lentil and vegetable filling, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes and cheese, and baked in the oven until golden and crisp. It is a hearty and comforting meal that is easy to make and full of flavor.
This recipe serves 4-6 people and can be prepared in a manageable time, making it a great option for a filling family dinner or a cozy meal any day of the week.
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Why You Love this Recipe
You love this recipe because it is:
- Delicious: The lentil and vegetable filling is rich and satisfying, with a hint of sweetness from the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. The mashed potato topping is creamy and cheesy, with a crispy crust.
- Nutritious: The lentils provide a good amount of protein, fiber, iron, and folate, while the vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Potatoes are a source of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Versatile: You can customize this recipe by adding different vegetables, spices, or cheeses to the filling or the topping. You can also make it vegan by using dairy-free alternatives for the butter, milk, and cheese.
- Budget-friendly: This recipe is economical and uses pantry staples, such as canned lentils, tomatoes, and tomato paste. You can also use leftover potatoes or lentils to make this dish.
- Freezer-friendly: You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it for later. It reheats well and tastes even better the next day.
Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie
To make this lentil cottage pie, you will need the following ingredients:
For the lentil mixture:
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 400 grams of canned green lentils, drained and rinsed
- 400 grams of canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 300 milliliters of vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour, mixed with a little water
For the mashed potato topping:
- 1.2 kilograms of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 50 grams of butter
- 150 milliliters of milk
- 100 grams of grated cheddar cheese
Instructions to Make Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie
To make this lentil cottage pie, follow these steps:
Step 1: Make the Lentil Mixture
- Preheat the oven and grease the dish: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Celsius fan-forced) and lightly grease a 2-liter ovenproof dish with some oil or butter. This will prevent the pie from sticking to the dish and make it easier to serve.
- Cook the vegetables and herbs: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and mixed herbs, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This will create a flavorful base for the lentil mixture.
- Add the lentils, tomatoes, and other ingredients: Add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook for another 5 minutes, until the sauce is glossy and smooth. This will make the lentil mixture rich and saucy.
- Transfer the lentil mixture to the dish: Transfer the lentil mixture to the prepared dish and spread it evenly. Set aside while you make the mashed potato topping. This will form the bottom layer of the pie.
Step 2: Make the Mashed Potato Topping
- Cook the potatoes: Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and return to the pot. This will make the potatoes soft and easy to mash.
- Mash the potatoes and add the butter, milk, and seasonings: Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a fork, adding the butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir until smooth and creamy. This will make the mashed potato topping fluffy and tasty.
- Spoon the mashed potato over the lentil mixture and sprinkle the cheese: Spoon the mashed potato over the lentil mixture, spreading it gently to cover. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potato is golden. This will make the pie crusty and cheesy.
Step 3: Serve the Lentil Cottage Pie
- Enjoy your lentil cottage pie with a green salad or some steamed vegetables on the side: Cut into slices and serve hot or warm, with a green salad or some steamed vegetables on the side. You can also serve it with some bread or rolls to soak up the sauce. For a more indulgent treat, you can serve it with some gravy or ketchup. This will make a complete and satisfying meal.
What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie?
Complementing this lentil cottage pie with the right side dishes can turn it into a more rounded, satisfying meal.
Here are some suggestions for accompaniments that match well with the pie’s flavors and textures.
- Green Salad: A fresh, crisp green salad provides a light and refreshing contrast to the rich, hearty pie. Mix various lettuces, spinach, or arugula with other salad favorites like tomatoes, cucumbers, or radishes.
- Steamed Vegetables: Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans add a healthy, lightly flavored side that pairs well without overpowering the main dish. Season with herbs or a light dressing to enhance the taste.
- Bread or Rolls: Serve the pie with bread or rolls to absorb the savory sauce. It’s a comforting addition that makes the meal more filling and satisfying.
- Gravy or Ketchup: For those who love an extra boost of flavor, a bit of gravy or ketchup can enrich every forkful, adding moisture and tanginess to the dish.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie
Crafting the perfect lentil cottage pie doesn’t have to be daunting. These professional suggestions will help you elevate the dish’s flavors and textures to delight everyone at your table.
- Enhancing the Lentil Mixture: For a richer taste, sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in butter, which imparts a luxurious flavor compared to oil. Infuse the mixture with fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley, enriching it with aromatic depth.
- Achieving Fluffy Mashed Potatoes: For an airier topping, consider using a potato ricer or food processor to mash the potatoes. Incorporating sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt into your potatoes will lend a delightful creaminess and tang.
- Crispier Cheese Topping: Elevate your cheese topping by sprinkling a blend of grated parmesan and breadcrumbs over the cheddar. For a golden, crunchy surface, broil the pie briefly after baking.
Variations of Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie
Inject your personal touch into this classic dish with these adaptable variations, catering to diverse tastes and dietary preferences.
- Alternative Toppings: Venture beyond traditional potatoes by using sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or parsnips for the mash. Enhance these alternatives with additional cheese, garlic, or herbs for extra flavor.
- Diverse Fillings: Customize the filling by incorporating mushrooms, zucchini, or peas alongside or instead of carrots and celery. Explore a variety of lentils like brown, red, or yellow, or opt for dried lentils for a different texture.
- Individual Servings: Create personal portions by assembling the pie in ramekins or muffin tins, perfect for parties or kid-friendly servings. These smaller versions will require less baking time.
How do I store Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie Leftovers?
- Refrigerate: You can store the leftover lentil cottage pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to let it cool completely before refrigerating.
- Freeze: You can freeze the leftover lentil cottage pie in a freezer-safe container or a ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap it well and label it with the date. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
How do I reheat Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie Leftovers?
- Oven: You can reheat the lentil cottage pie in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. You may need to cover it with foil to prevent it from drying out or burning.
- Microwave: You can reheat the lentil cottage pie in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish for 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. You may need to stir it halfway through and add some water or stock if it is too dry.
Nutrition value per serving:
- Calories: 431 kcal
- Fat: 21 g
- Carbohydrates: 44 g
- Protein: 18 g
- Fiber: 11 g
- Sugar: 11 g
- Sodium: 414 mg
- Calcium: 290 mg
- Iron: 4 mg
Can I prepare Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie in advance?
Answer: Absolutely! You can assemble the entire pie and refrigerate it before the baking step, ideally up to 24 hours in advance. When you’re ready to eat, simply bake it in the oven, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time if it’s going straight from the fridge to the oven. Alternatively, bake it fully, cool it, then refrigerate or freeze it, and reheat it when needed. This makes it a convenient option for meal planning.
What type of lentils are best for this cottage pie?
Canned green lentils are recommended for their convenience and texture, as they hold up well during cooking. However, you can use other types such as brown, red, or yellow lentils. If using dried lentils, ensure they are properly cooked and softened before adding them to the pie.
How do I make the filling more flavorful?
You can sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in some butter instead of oil. You can also add some fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley, to the mixture.
How do I make the mashed potato topping more fluffy?
You can use a potato ricer or a food processor to mash the potatoes. You can also add some sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt to the potatoes for extra creaminess.
You can sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs over the cheddar cheese. You can also broil the pie for a few minutes after baking to brown the cheese.
Can I make Mary Berry Lentil Cottage Pie vegan?
Answer: Yes, you can easily adapt this recipe to be vegan. Use plant-based butter and milk alternatives for the mashed potato topping, and ensure the Worcestershire sauce is vegan (some brands contain anchovies). For the cheese, either omit it or use a vegan substitute that melts well.
I hope you enjoyed this Mary Berry lentil cottage pie recipe and found it easy to follow. This is a great dish to make for a cozy and filling dinner or to serve to guests for a special occasion. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover lentils or potatoes you have in your pantry or fridge.
If you liked this recipe, please share it with your friends and family, and leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you and see your photos of your lentil cottage pie creations.
Thank you for reading my blog and happy cooking!