A vegetarian take on a classic cottage pie. Beans and veggie mince replace meat, and root vegetables give the mash a unique twist.


For the topping

  • 500g/1lb 2oz floury potatoes, such as King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled
  • 300g/10½oz parsnips or swede, peeled
  • knob of butter
  • splash milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed to a paste with the edge
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 300g/10½oz vegetarian mince, fresh or frozen
  • 400g/14oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • sugar, to taste (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • steamed green vegetables, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.
  2. To make the topping, place the potatoes and parsnips or swede into a large pan of water. Bring to the boil and cook for 12–15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.
  3. Add the butter and mash using a potato masher or ricer. Add the milk, a little at a time, and continue to mash until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
  4. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large pan over a low to medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, carrot, leek and thyme and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the vegetarian mince to the pan and fry for a further 3 minutes, stirring continuously, or until golden-brown.
  5. Add the drained cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, and tomato purée and stir well to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add a little sugar to the mixture if needed.
  6. Spoon the filling into a large ovenproof dish. Spread the mashed potato and parsnip (or swede) mixture over the filling in a smooth, even layer.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown and the filling is cooked through. Serve with steamed green vegetables.