Recipe Post: Vegetable Cottage Pie

This recipe is close to a beef cottage pie (usually called a shepherd’s pie by my family, even though there’s no lamb in it), but this is obviously meatless. I think it tastes just as good due to the well-seasoned veggies and the yummy cheese sauce; I highly recommend it!

This casserole is also quite frugal and incredibly versatile in that you can substitute virtually every vegetable in it for things you either like better or have on hand. Trying to cut back on your starches? Use sweet potatoes for the mashed potato topping, or sub in riced cauliflower mash. You can also use up any leftover cooked veggies you may have sitting in the fridge too; just add them (without heating them up again) at the same time as the frozen peas and corn. If you have any leftover meat (for example shredded turkey or chicken, ground beef or ham) and you don’t care about this dish being meatless or not, throw in a cup or two of that as well. This recipe is very forgiving. And hey, if you can’t afford cheddar cheese, either use a cheese you can afford, or just make a creamy bechamel sauce instead; the taste will be different but also delicious.

Vegetable Cottage Pie

YIELD: 6 svgs | PREP: 20 min | COOK: 20 mins | BAKE: 45 min

  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 5-6 med/1½ kg yellow flesh potatoes, peeled and cut into evenly sized chunks
  • ½ cup/85g salted butter, divided
  • ¾ cup/170g sour cream
  • 1 tbsp/13g olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium cooking onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and sliced into coins/half-coins if large
  • 1 tsp/6g salt
  • ½ tsp/1g lemon pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp/1.4g paprika
  • 1 clove minced fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp/0.45g dried thyme (or 2 sprigs fresh thyme)
  • ½ cup/75g all-purpose flour
  • 3½ cups/850ml 1% or 2% milk, or table cream (if you want it extra creamy)
  • 1 tbsp/15g Dijon mustard (smooth or grainy)
  • 1 heaping cup/250g sharp cheddar, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup/130g frozen peas
  • 1 cup/164g frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup/50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  1. Set a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the broccoli in the water for no longer than 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and dunk into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 18-20 mins, until tender. Drain, then mash with 1/3 of the butter and all the sour cream.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a frypan to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add onions, celery and carrots; add seasonings and sauté until onions are translucent but not browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set veggies aside in a bowl; remove thyme sprigs and discard if using. Add drained broccoli to bowl and shake to distribute. Keep the frypan handy, as this will be used again later.
  4. While the veggies cook, add the remaining butter into the pan used for the vegetables earlier, add the flour and cook over a medium-low heat, whisking all the time, until the roux has turned cream-coloured and the flour has cooked off. Add the milk and mustard and turn heat up to medium; whisk until mixture is smooth and thickened. Turn heat back to medium-low, stir in the cheddar cheese (reserving a small handful for the topping), and stir with silicone spatula or wooden spoon until melted; season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C; ensure rack is in middle of oven. Butter the bottom and insides of a 9”x9” or similar baking dish with a lid (or you can use foil as a lid: see below). If you are concerned about spillage, place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  6. Combine the steamed vegetables, peas and corn and pour into the dish, pour the cheese sauce over top and top with dollops of the mashed potatoes, pressing them down gently and evenly to cover the top completely, then sprinkle over the remaining Cheddar and all of the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle a light dusting of salt, pepper and paprika over the top.
  7. Bake for 45-50 mins (remove lid halfway through baking time), until bubbling and lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes to set before serving.

*  If you do not have a lid for your baking dish, spray a sheet of foil with non-stick cooking spray and place spray-side down on top of the pie, and crimp to seal. Remove halfway through baking time to allow for browning.

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