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Sweet potato topped vegetarian cottage pie

16 January 2017

A delicious and healthy vegetarian cottage pie made with lentils and topped with mashed sweet potato.

Vegetarian cottage pie
Vegetarian lentil cottage pie with a sweet potato topping

Cooking time

50 minutes




  • 900g (just under 2lb) sweet potato (peeling is optional), cut into chunks
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cut into small dice
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can green lentils, drained
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
  • Sea salt


This is a real winter favourite in Pinnock Towers! I have made this a vegetarian one as it’s a recipe that works very well, but you can absolutely use the traditional minced (ground) beef if you like. The sweet potato topping is lower GI than regular potato, plus the bright orange flesh is rich in beta carotene, which is a potent antioxidant.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Place the chopped sweet potato in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer until soft. Drain, mash well and set aside.

While the sweet potato is cooking, heat a little oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic, carrots and a good pinch of salt, and sauté until the onion has softened.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, thyme, cinnamon and bouillon powder, and simmer for around 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have reduced right down to create a thick sauce with the lentils.

Transfer to a deep baking dish, top with the mashed sweet potato and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.

Extract taken from How to Cook Healthily by Dale Pinnock (Quadrille £20.00 RRP) Photography by Issy Croker

For more delicious meat-free meal ideas see our vegetarian and vegan recipe sections.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.