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How to make a veggie cottage pie

Comfort food at its best, this easy vegetarian dish has a game-changing cheesy rarebit topping. With chunky veg, hearty beans and fragrant herbs, it'll definitely fill you up. Don't forget to screenshot the handy ingredients list at the bottom ready for your next trip to store.

  1. Cook the soffrito

    Place a heavy-based saucepan on a sheet of baking paper and draw around it, then cut out a circle just smaller than the pan so it fits inside. Set aside.

    Cook the soffrito. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in the pan over a low heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion, 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 finely chopped celery stick; stir.

    Step 1Tip: A soffrito is a flavourful mix of diced onion, carrot and celery gently fried in oil. It forms the basis of many dishes, including soups, stews and sauces. Add chopped garlic or herbs for even more flavour, if you like.

  2. Seal in the flavour

    Lay the paper circle over the veg, cover and cook for 10 mins or until softened. Remove the lid and paper, increase the heat to medium and stir in 1 tsp tomato purée. Cook for 1 min, stirring, then add 2 tsp plain flour. Mix to combine, then cook for 1 min.

    Step 2Tip: The circle of baking paper helps to keep the vegetables moist and retain their flavour as they cook. It’s also useful when cooking the base of curries, soups and stews, but you can do without if you don’t have baking paper.

  3. Add the stock and beans

    Take ½ a vegetable stock pot and make up to 200ml with hot water. Slowly pour in the stock, stirring all the time. If lumps form, stir until smooth.

    Tip in a 400g tin kidney beans (drained and rinsed) and 400g tin adzuki beans or black beans, along with the adzuki or black bean liquid, 1 thyme sprig and 1 tsp yeast extract. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 mins.

    Transfer the mixture to a 1.5ltr pie dish, remove the thyme sprig and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C.

    Step 3Tip: Make sure you heat the flour through before adding the stock, to ensure your sauce doesn’t have a raw flour flavour and help prevent lumps forming.

  4. Make the rarebit mash

    Boil 1kg peeled and halved potatoes for 15 mins or until tender; drain and mash. Stir in 75ml milk and 25g butter. To make the rarebit topping, put 75g grated cheese and 1 tbsp mustard in a bowl and mash into a paste with a wooden spoon. Mix the mustard in well to give an even flavour. Slowly stir in 75ml of ale or milk. Don’t worry if it’s not smooth as the cheese will melt later. Loosely stir half the rarebit mix into the mash so it is not entirely combined.

    Step 4Tip: Swap for mild Dijon if making for kids (and replace the ale with extra milk) or use wholegrain mustard for a different texture.

  5. Top with mash

    Spoon the mash over the beans in the dish to cover.

    Step 5Tip: The bean mixture should have formed a thin skin while cooling. Don’t stir it before adding the mash because this helps keep the layers separate while the pie bakes. 

  6. Finish the topping

    Press the potato into the sides of the dish with the back of a spoon to completely cover. Spoon over the remaining rarebit mix, then use the back of the spoon again to swirl in through the mash. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves.

    Finish the topping
  7. Bake until golden

    Bake for 30-40 mins until the topping is golden.

    Bake until golden
  8. Ingredients

    We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this comforting dinner. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 carrot, finely chopped
    1 celery stick, finely chopped
    1 tsp tomato purée
    2 tsp plain flour
    ½ vegetable stock pot, made up to 200ml
    400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    400g tin adzuki or black beans
    1 thyme sprig, plus 1 tsp leaves
    1 tsp yeast extract or Marmite
    1kg King Edward or Désirée potatoes, peeled and halved
    75ml milk
    25g butter
    75g mature Cheddar, grated
    1 tbsp English mustard
    75ml ale or milk

    Serves 4

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

      2225kj
      529kcal
      26%
    • Fat

      17g 24%
    • Saturates

      8g 40%
    • Sugars

      10g 12%
    • Salt

      1.2g 0%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 70.9g Protein 20.8g Fibre 13.6g