Daylight savings has come to an end, and those darker evenings call for warm, nutritious, and comforting family dinner ideas.

This Lentil Cottage Pie is packed full of veggies and guaranteed to bring the whole family together on those cold, dark evenings.


• 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
• 1 medium onion (chopped)
• 1 cup carrot (skin on, chopped)
• 1 cup zucchini (skin on, chopped)
• 1 clove garlic (crushed)
• 1 400g tin diced tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée or paste
• ¼ cup frozen peas
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (finely chopped; or 1 teaspoon dried)
• 300mL water
• 1 tin 400g green/brown lentils (drained and rinsed)
• 4 cups potato (chopped)
• 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
• 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil margarine
• ½ cup cow’s milk
• ⅓ cup grated cheese

1. Preheat oven to 200⁰C.
2. Heat oil in a large pot on medium-high heat.
3. Fry onion in oil for 1–2 minutes then add carrot, zucchini and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes, tomato purée, peas, thyme, water and lentils.
5. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (add a little water to stop mixture drying out if needed).
6. Transfer to large casserole dish.
7. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in boiling water until soft.
8. Drain water and mash, stirring in the margarine, milk and cheese.
9. Spread mash over lentil mixture then run a fork across the top to make ridges.
10. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden.
11. Remove a small portion to mash/purée to required consistency before serving.
12. Unused cottage pie can be frozen in ice/cupcake trays for later.

Good for: the whole family
Storage: freezer friendly

To serve the family
This recipe is designed for a whole family – follow the same method to step 9, THEN:
1. Serve with salad or greens for a balanced meal.

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The evaluation of the INFANT scale-up is funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Grant (GNT1161223 2019-24) and VicHealth. Deakin University gratefully acknowledges the Victorian Department of Health for additional funding to enhance the implementation of INFANT across Victoria in 2020-22.