Sweet potato & butternut cottage pie

photo courtesy of bbcgoodfood.com

I’ve been making cottage pie ever since the kids were born, as one of those failsafe staples that you just churn out without much thought. However, this month I used sweet potato and butternut squash, along with ordinary potato in the mash, to try and lower the GI.  I was inspired by a recipe on bbcgoodfood.com – an excellent website by the way, not least because each recipe includes the carb count.  I also used my new toy, a Kenwood food processor, to do all my chopping, grating and mashing, and can’t believe I’ve cooked for (how many?) years without one.

“Mummy, this is really good!” piped up my little boy.

“Thank you darling,” I replied, still getting the little flutter of satisfaction that comes from feeding appreciative boys.

“Hang on, what’s this?” said his big brother, as his fork came across a lentil. Uh oh, I thought, I’ve been rumbled. My attempts to make healthy variations have occasionally been met with an angry accusation of making “diabetic” food – something I’m determined to avoid.

“It’s a lentil,” I said.

“Mmm. It’s like a mini little potato. Nice!” he replied between mouthfuls as he wolfed it down.

Phew.  Those ‘mini little potatoes’ might start to make their way into other recipes.

Ingredients: (Serves 6)

2 chopped onions

2 chopped garlic cloves

2 grated carrots

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

400g extra-lean minced beef

40g yellow split lentils

350g pack of ready peeled and diced sweet potato and butternut squash

650g potatoes, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons of plain flour

750ml reduced-salt beef stock

200ml red wine

a dash of milk and olive oil spread, for the mash

some grated nutmeg

rapeseed oil, for frying


  1. Heat the oil and fry the onions for a few minutes, then add in the garlic, carrots and thyme for a few more minutes.
  2. Add the mince and once it’s browned, mix in the lentils and the flour.  Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Gradually add in the stock and red wine, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  4. Boil the potatoes, sweet potatoes and butternut for about 20 minutes, then drain, and if you have one, blend in a food processor with a small amount of milk and olive oil spread. (You can always mash by hand if you prefer)
  5. Put the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish, and spread the mash over the top with a fork, adding a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.
  6. Put it in the oven on 180 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown.


45g carbs per portion (based on one-sixth of the pie)

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