Hearty, comforting, and vegetarian, this Lentil Cottage Pie is my sister Cassie’s recipe, and it’s a perfect vegetarian main dish for Autumn dinners like Thanksgiving. A few years ago, we were on a family trip in the Scottish Highlands, and we stopped at a small cafe in Helmsdale. Their vegetarian Cottage Pie was delicious and filling on a cold, windy Scottish day, and it inspired Cassie to create her own. This recipe could be made vegan with a few small alterations – mostly by omitting the butter and using oil or coconut oil instead.
Lentil Cottage Pie
- 3 lbs potatoes, cubed + salt
- 3 tbsp butter and olive oil combined
- 1 Large onion, diced
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 large stalks of celery, cubed
- 2 large carrots, cubed
- 1 leek, sliced
- 5 stems of fresh thyme (1/4 tsp of dried would work too, this stuff just grows freely in my garden and can be harvested even in the snowy winter), remove stems after combined and cooked
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/4 cups brown lentils
- 4 cups of potato water (reserved)
- 1/4 red wine (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp marmite
- 1 tsp salt
- A big handful of walnuts, crumbled
- More salt and pepper to taste
- More butter!
- Boil cubed potatoes in salted water.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a large pot until butter melts.
- Add vegetables as you chop them in order listed – garlic, celery, carrots, leak – and cook until tender.
- Add thyme, Bay leaf, red wine, and walnuts. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Once potatoes are done cooking, reserve cooking water. Mash potatoes and set aside (optional: mash with butter, milk, etc. to taste)
- Rinse and check over lentils for stones, dirt, etc.
- Add lentils to a medium pot with 4 cups potato water, salt, and marmite.
- Boil for 30+ minutes until lentils are tender.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Combine vegetable-herb mixture with cooked lentils. taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
- Grease a 3L baking dish, and place lentil-vegetable mixture in it.
- Smother mixture with mashed potatoes.
- Add pats of butter and pepper to taste on top of the potatoes.
- Bake 15-20 minutes; serve and enjoy!
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