Every kitchen needs a solid winter warmer recipe to make on those days when snow is falling or rain is coming down sideways. This is often when we crave things like lasagna, stews, and meatballs. In our family, we make a lot of Cottage Pie because it is one of my husband’s favorite dishes which he had nearly every week as a kid. His mom makes this beefy pie every time she visits, using a fork to draw a Union Jack in the mashed potato topping before broiling it. We wanted to create a plant-based version that we could enjoy often throughout the warmer months, but we will still always enjoy his mom’s original version which we have all grown to love.
One of my hopes is to share the good news – that meatless doesn’t mean flavorless. Without beef, we achieve an incredibly satisfying pie with a deeply flavorful sauce that our resident Englishman says is every bit as good as the original and our recipe testers said is “even better than the meat version.” So, here’s a crowd-pleasing, stick-to-your ribs winter warmer. Leftovers are just as good as the dish you serve.
What the Testers Said:
“This [plant-based cottage pie] turned out wonderfully. Super delicious and filling, warm & comforting.”
“The simplicity of this recipe is disguised- its rich and hearty and I’ll make it again.”
“I’ve been making traditional cottage pie for over 40 years so I was a little skeptical about doing a meatless version. However, I didn’t miss the meat!”
“I’ll start off saying this was a MAJOR hit with my omnivore husband. Every few bites he raved a little more. Seriously, a big hit. So much flavor with such few ingredients!”
Kids love Plant-Based Cottage Pie!
Our recipe testers said
“It was terrific and a big hit with the kiddos!”
“This is a kid-friendly dish, but satisfying for adults, too!”
How to Serve it
Our Cottage Pie is hearty and nutrient-dense enough to stand alone, but we typically serve it with a classic side of peas. You could also pair it with any of our steam/sauteed vegetables.
Planet-Based Cottage Pie
- 1 pound lentils
- 2 pounds yellow potatoes, such as Yellow Finnish or Yukon Gold (no need to dice or peel!)
- 1 cup plant-based milk, warmed
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons plant-based butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium-large carrots, cut into medium dice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Soak lentils in 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for 3 to 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and turn into a large skillet. Add 1 cup of water, cover skillet, and turn burner on high. Bring to a boil; cook until water has evaporated and lentils are just tender, about 3 minutes. Turn into a large bowl. Remove 3 cups of the lentils and reserve for another use.
- Meanwhile, bring whole potatoes to boil over medium-high heat in a small Dutch oven; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until tender, 25 to 30 minutes, depending on potato size. Drain potatoes and mash right in the pot, adding pant-based milk, a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, and the plant-based butter; set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large (12-inch) skillet. When oil is hot, add mushrooms; sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper towards the end of cooking. Transfer mushrooms to bowl with lentils.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Return skillet to the burner and heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and carrots; sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, and then flour; cook until flour is evenly incorporated. Add wine, followed by broth, stirring until mixture is smooth. Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire; continue to cook until mixture has thickened to thin sauce consistency. Return lentils and mushrooms and cook to heat through. Adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper. Turn mixture into a 13- by 9-inch or similar size casserole dish. Cover with mashed potatoes; bake until filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn oven to broil; cook until potato topping is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve with extra Worcestershire sauce for drizzling.