Brazil and butternut vegetarian cottage pie recipe

This alternative cottage pie has a deep flavoured brazil nut base and a velvety layer of butternut squash. The addition of a layer of wilted spinach makes this into a special occasion recipe. This dish is gluten free.

Serves 6

Equipment needed: 20-25cm diameter baking dish, and ideally a food processor to blitz the brazil nuts.


150gms brazil nuts (whole or pieces)

5 tablespoons rapeseed/olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt and ground pepper

1 large butternut squash approximately 800gm

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3 medium potatoes, (approximately 200gm), peeled for boiling

5 medium shallots, peeled and finely diced

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 stalk of celery finely diced

2 medium carrots, (100gm) finely diced

1 tablespoon organic quality tomato puree

2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcester sauce

150ml vegetable stock

250gms puy lentils


Pre heat oven to 170ºC

Peel and de-seed the butternut squash, cut into 1 ½cm chunks

Baste the squash with 1 tablespoon of oil, the maple syrup and season well. Roast for approximately 25 minutes until cooked through.

Boil the potatoes until cooked and drain.

Baste the brazil nuts with 1 tablespoon of oil, the cumin and season well. Roast the nuts for 10-12 minutes until glazed and golden. Then cool for 10 minutes and blitz until a rough breadcrumb consistency.

Bring the water to the boil in a medium saucepan and add the lentils.

Simmer for 20 minutes so still 'al dente', then refresh in running cold water. Strain thoroughly and shake dry.

Mash the butternut squash and potato with 2 tablespoons of oil so velvety and smooth.

In a medium pan, sauté the shallots with the remaining oil for three minutes on a moderate heat. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, tomato puree and Worcester sauce. Sauté and stir all together for 3 minutes more. Add the stock and strained lentils, simmer and stir for 5 minutes more and season well. Finally stir in the brazil nut crumbs.

Place the brazil nut mix into the baking dish. Layer the butternut mash on top.

Bake at 170ºC for 15 minutes until topping is golden and crisp.