Cosy cottage pie


  • 2 good-sized aubergines, finely chopped

  • 250g mushrooms of your choice, (I tend to use chestnut), finely chopped

  • Handful fresh tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 onions, sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 400g cans of chopped tomatoes

  • 1 400g can mixed bean salad in water, rinsed

  • Leaves from 3 springs of thyme

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 250g super lean 5% fat beef mince  (Optional)

  • 3 tbsp wholemeal plain flour

  • 500ml low-salt beef stock (I use Kallo)

  • Few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce

  • 2 large sweet potatoes/4 small ones

  • 500g carrots

  • Splash of skimmed milk 


  • Chop the mushrooms and aubergines into small pieces and add to a large pot with the oil. Start to cook over a medium heat. 

  • Add the fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, beans, thyme and mince if using, and stir together.

  • Add the tomato purée and flour and cook for 1 minute. 

  • Add the canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, stock and finally a good grinding of pepper.

  • Stir, bring up to the boil, allow to thicken, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover, leaving to cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots and sweet potatoes and boil under tender. 

  • Drain and leave until no more steam is visible. 

  • Remove the lid on the sauce and bring up the good rolling boil and, if necessary, reduce until it is rich and unctuous and not too runny.  

  • Pour the sauce into a rectangular ovenproof dish. 

  • Mash the carrots and sweet potatoes, using a small slug of skimmed milk to slacken them. Grind in lots of pepper.

  • Spoon the mash top over the sauce and use a fork to spread it and make ridges. Or, if you're feeling fancy, pipe with a bag and nozzle.

  • Bake at 180 fan for 25 minutes, or until the top starts to look a bit crispy. Due to a lack of added fat, it won't go particularly golden but will still taste magnificent!

Serves 6





  • All the veg are full of vitamins, minerals and in the case of the tomatoes, antioxidants such as lycopene. You will likely hit your five a day from a good-sized portion!

  • There is next to no fat added to this dish.

  • Beans are legumes and an excellent source of protein. They don't have the saturated fat content of animal proteins. 

  • The optional beef in this dish is scant and lean, and while I don't think it adds an awful lot, I appreciate some people enjoy knowing they've had some meat. For good heart health I have been advised to eat red meat no more than once or twice a month, though once a week is ok if it is lean and cooked with no added fat. 

  • This dish is around 367 calories per serving.