The best... veggie cottage pie

The best... veggie cottage pie

Here is Martha Collison's ultimate winter comfort food with a vegetarian twist. This version is full of umami richness, with green lentils and mushrooms to replicate the meaty filling. 

5 out of 5 stars(8) Rate this recipe
Vegetarian2 of your 5 a day
  • Serves6
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare25 mins
  • Cook1 hr 15 mins
  • Total time1 hr 30 mins

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  • 2 tbsp Essential Olive Oil
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 clove/s garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 25g tub Cooks’ Ingredients Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 150ml red wine
  • 250g pack chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 250g green lentils, washed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp Cooks' Ingredients Porcini Mushroom Paste
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • 2 bay leaves

For the topping

  • 850g potatoes
  • 75g butter, or more if liked
  • 75ml milk
  • 100g Essential Mature British Cheddar, grated


  1. Set a large ovenproof casserole (or saucepan if you’re going to assemble the pie in another dish) over a medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the celery, onions and carrots together for 10-12 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

  2. Meanwhile, place the shiitake mushrooms into a small bowl and pour over 250ml boiling water. Set aside to absorb.

  3. Pour the red wine into the pan with the cooked vegetables and simmer for 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add the chestnut mushrooms and lentils, then stir well to coat.

  4. Add the tomatoes, stock (I measure this out with the tomato can to use up every last drop), porcini paste, soy sauce, Marmite and bay leaves. Season generously, then add the rehydrated mushrooms with any excess liquid and stir well to combine.

  5. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Once ready, the lentils should be almost cooked through but retain a bit of bite, and most of the liquid absorbed. Taste and season to your liking.

  6. While it cooks, prepare the topping. Peel the potatoes, cut into equal-sized large chunks, then cover with boiling water in a large saucepan. Boil for 15 minutes, or until tender and cut easily when poked with a knife. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6.

  7. Drain the potatoes and allow to steam dry for a few minutes. Pass them through a ricer back into the pan, or mash well in the pan using a handheld masher. Add the butter and milk, season generously, then mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.

  8. Remove and discard the bay leaves. If baking in a different dish, spoon the lentil filling into the bottom of a large (about 2L) ovenproof dish. If not, leave in the casserole and push down any bits that stick to the sides. Cover with the mashed potato, then top with the grated cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and the top is slightly crisp. Serve hot with plenty of greens.

Cook’s tip

Make it vegan
The filling for this pie is vegan-friendly, so if you’d like to make the whole pie suitable, replace the butter and milk in the mash with dairy-free alternatives and leave out or replace the cheese.


Choosing lentils
Green lentils lend a chunky texture and earthiness to the filling, but all dried lentils will create a successful result. Brown lentils or smaller Puy lentils are delicious. Red split lentils will work, but the texture will be more dal-like and significantly softer. You may need to add a little more stock or water depending on which you use.

Using a 500g pack of frozen Cooks’ Ingredients Soffritto Mix will save you lots of time in chopping, and has the perfect ratio of carrot, celery and onion for this recipe.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,240kJ/ 539kcals



Saturated Fat












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