Veggie cottage pie with sweet potato mash

Eating well can be a daily struggle for many of us, but with a new year comes new hope. And here to help you is The Immunity Cookbook (Quadrille, £20) by award-winning nutritionist and gut health expert Kate Llewellyn-Waters, an amazing, educational tome, healthy-eating guide and practical toolkit for supporting your immune system, all rolled into one.

‘I love this plant-based cottage pie as it’s packed with nutrients,’ says Kate. ‘The lentils make a brilliant alternative to meat. I use sweet potatoes over white potatoes in this dish, as they are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and high in antioxidants that help protect our bodies from free radical damage and chronic disease. Also, the fibre and antioxidants in sweet potatoes encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.’

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • Small bunch of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 150ml red wine, vegan if necessary
  • 50ml water
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 low-salt vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 x 400g can black lentils
  • 1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 100g grated vegan cheddar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Gently heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the sliced onion and sweat for 5 minutes until softened, then add the diced carrots and most of the chopped thyme, reserving a little for sprinkling over later. Add the red wine, water and chopped tomatoes, and crumble in the vegetable stock cubes. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the lentils along with their canning liquid, cover and simmer for a further 12 minutes until the lentils are pulpy.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the sweet potatoes and cook for 15 minutes until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes and sprinkle over the ground nutmeg.
  3. Transfer the cooked lentils to an ovenproof dish, top with the sweet potato mash and scatter over the vegan cheddar cheese and the reserved thyme. Pop in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Photograph: Steven Joyce

Find more great immunity-supporting recipes in the latest issue of Healthy For Men, on sale now in Holland & Barrett stores and online at

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