Healthy cottage pie recipe

(70 ratings)

This healthy cottage pie is not so different for the classic version except it uses extra lean beef to keep the fat content down, and root vegetables in the topping to keep it lower-carb.

Healthy cottage pie with a spoonful removed
(Image credit: Getty / istetiana)
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time1 hours
Cost RangeCheap

This healthy cottage pie uses lean steak mince in the filling and root vegetables in the topping to keep the calories as low as possible.

However, the results are still really tasty, and it makes the ultimate comfort food - just with none of the guilt factor. Use a mix of root vegetables for the topping to make it as varied and tasty as possible. You can also add extra portions of veggies to the filling and reduce the meat content, to save money or make the meal go further. Chopped onion, celery, carrot or peppers all work well, or a handful of frozen peas. Top with a little low fat cheese if you like as well.


  • 500g (18oz) extra-lean steak mince
  • 400ml (14fl oz) beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 500g (18oz) potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 400g (14oz) root vegetables (eg, celeriac, carrot, turnip, parsnip), peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp reduced-fat crème fraîche




  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
  2. Brown the mince in a non-stick frying pan and drain off any fat. Add the stock and tomato purée and season. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 mins, adding a little extra stock if necessary.
  3. Mix the cornflour with 2tbsp water to form a smooth paste, then add to the mince and stir until thickened. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish.
  4. While the mince is simmering, boil the potatoes and root veg for around 20 mins, until tender. Drain and mash with the crème fraîche.
  5. Pile the mash on top of the mince and cook in the oven for 20 mins, until the top is crisp and golden. 

Top tip for making this healthy cottage pie

You can use a mix of any root veg for the topping. We love celeriac, which has an aniseed-y tang to it, which goes so well with the beef. Don't be put off by how ugly they look - once it's peeled and mashed, they look just like potatoes. Carrots add colour and sweetness while turnips are amazing cheap and surprisingly tasty.

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Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.