Vegetarian cottage pie – a recipe

I haven’t had real cottage pie in a long time, and I miss it. I love British food, but it’s not very healthy: everything has lard, meat, dough and everything is delicious.

So, I’ve tried to develop this recipe for meatless vegetarian cottage pie – it’s still a work in progress, and it’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I’m still on the fence when it comes to meatless meat. I used ground seitan, which is high in protein, but low in fat – and depending on which company produces it, low in protein. Cooking with it is still something I have to get used to – the texture is always going to taste a little off to me, but I like the flavor. It’s better than the veggie sausages, though – I never like the texture of those, which feel a bit like eating packed mud.

So, because I want to eat healthier, I decided to make the smashed potato crust healthier: I cut the potato with smashed radish, turnip, and parsnip. I also used fat free sour cream, olive oil and parmesan cheese – so I didn’t need salt, milk, or cream.

This is a dish that will need tweaking, and I’ll post any new developments in the recipe.


1 package of ground seitan – I found one without a flavor – it sometimes comes in Italian or Mexican; I prefer plain.
1/2 onion chopped roughly
1 clove of garlic, minced
8 oz of mushrooms chopped roughly
1 rib of celery, chopped roughly
1 large carrot, chopped roughly
1 cup of sodium-free tomato sauce
1 cup of sodium-free vegetable broth
1 tbl of low fat butter – not margarine but low fat butter – the kind cut with olive oil or canola oil
Olive oil
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs – I used whole wheat made by Roland
1 parsnip, chopped roughly
2 turnips, chopped roughly
1 potato, chopped roughly
2 radishes, chopped roughly
1/4 cup of fat free sour cream
2 tbl of mustard – your favorite kind – I like horseradish
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1 cup of spinach, chopped roughly
Dried Italian spices
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a Pyrex pie pan. First you’ll need to make the smashed potato crust. Fill a saucepan with water and let it come to a boil. Throw in the parsnip, turnip, radish, potato and lower the heat and allow to simmer just until the root vegetables are fork tender – this will take about 20, 25 minutes.

Drain the vegetables and return to the pan and drizzle with olive oil and smash with a fork. Add the sour cream and stir. Add the mustard and stir. Grind some pepper and mix. Set aside.

Heat oil over a medium-high heat in a nonstick pan. Throw in the chopped carrots, celery, garlic, and onion, stir and cook until the veggies are softened. Throw in the seitan and stir and let the fake meat brown. Break apart the chunks of the seitan with a wooden spoon. Add the chopped mushroom and stir, and let it cook continuously. Add the tomato sauce and stir. The bottom of the pan will have browned seitan – to break it up, add the broth in little by little and scrape. Cook over the high heat, stirring continuously and let the liquid reduce and thicken. Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted.

In the prepared Pyrex, spoon the cooked veggies/seitan mix and spread evenly. Spoon the smashed potato/root vegetable mixture and spread evenly. Dot with butter. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the herbs. Place in the oven and lower the heat to 350 degrees and cook for about 20, 25 minutes until the crust is brown and crusty. Remove the cottage pie and let it rest for a few moments and serve – careful it’ll be hot. Oh, and enjoy.


1 Comment

Filed under cooking, recipe

One response to “Vegetarian cottage pie – a recipe

  1. Even though the flavor of my veggie cottage pie was good – the texture was a bit strange – I blame the ground seitan. Next time I might omit it, and replace it with chopped mushroom.

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