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Lighter cottage pie

We used lean beef mince and swapped the usual mash for a creamy, better-for-you cauliflower and bean topping to give this cold-weather staple a healthier profile

Serves 4

Prep Time 15 min

Cooking Time 1 hr


  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 400g lean (5% fat) beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh thyme or rosemary leaves
  • 1 very-low-salt beef stock cube dissolved in 200ml boiling water
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2tbsp worcestershire sauce

For the cauliflower mash

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 400g can butter beans, drained
  • 40g lighter mature cheddar


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick deep frying pan (with a lid) over a medium-high heat. Add the mince, onion and carrots, and fry, stirring to break up the mince, for 5–8 min until browned.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme or rosemary leaves, and cook for 3–4 min. Add the beef stock, chopped tomatoes and worcestershire sauce. Season with freshly ground pepper, cover with the lid and simmer for 15 min. Uncover and simmer for 5 min more to reduce slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the cauliflower florets and boil for 10 min until very tender. Drain, then return to the pan and add the drained butter beans. Use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower and beans coarsely, then season to taste.
  4. Transfer the mince mixture to a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish and top with the cauliflower and bean mash. Grate over the cheese, then bake for 25–30 min until golden and bubbling. Serve with peas or your favourite green vegetable.

TO MAKE AHEAD, cover the assembled but unbaked pie and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Allow the pie to come to room temperature, then bake as in the recipe, adding an extra 10–15 min to the cooking time until golden and bubbling.

TO FREEZE, wrap the unbaked pie (without the cheese topping) in clingfilm and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen for 45–50 min, topping with the cheese after 15 min.

Nutrition per serving

Read more on how we calculate nutrition.
377 36g 9.2g 4g 14g 16g 0.8g 225mg 31g 5mg

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