Lightweight cottage pie: The Fast Diet

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie - Credit: Romas Foord

One man’s health scare led to the creation of a new diet, which is fast becoming a worldwide health movement

Calorie count: 243

The pleasingly low calorie count here is achieved by swapping the usual topping of buttered potato mash for a lighter celeriac and leek lid, and using less meat than usual.

The idea remains the same – a pot of unctuous loveliness to see you through a cold snap.


Serves four:

Oil for spraying

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250g extra-lean minced beef

1 large onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsps tomato purée

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 bay leaf


1 Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.

2 Spray a large pan with oil and brown minced beef.

3 Add mirepoix (diced onion, celery and carrot) and allow to soften for 10 minutes.

4 Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, water and Oxo cubes.

5 Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6 Meanwhile, boil celeriac until very tender, drain and mash with crème fraîche until as smooth as you wish.

7 Heat oil in a pan and gently sauté leeks, then add them to the celeriac mash; season well.

8 Pour beef into a shallow ovenproof dish and top with celeriac mixture.

9 Bake for 20-30 minutes, until top is golden brown.

10 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped salt and pepper 300ml boiling water 2 Oxo cubes 500g celeriac, peeled and cubed 100g half-fat crème fraîche 1 tsp groundnut oil 2 young leeks, trimmed and sliced (pound-coin width)