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Cottage Pie Plus

Take a classic and give it a nutritious twist, with this cottage pie with benefits. Add a few healthy spices and extra veggies, top with sweet potato and carrot mash - it's what you like and more!

Overview

Serves: 6

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 60 mins

Utensils: 2 large pans & 1 casserole dish

Storage: keeps in the fridge for 5-6 days

Suitability: low sugar, gluten free

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

750g beef/steak mince

1 tsp cumin & 1 tsp cinnamon

1 yellow/orange/red pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 courgette, chopped

1 cup beef stock or red wine

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 bunch spinach, chopped

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

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Instructions

  1. 1. Fry the onion on a medium heat, in half the olive oil, until soft, then add the mince and cook until brown
  2. 2. Add the cumin, cinnamon, pepper, garlic and courgette and cook for 10 mins on low heat
  3. 3. Add the wine/stock and canned tomatoes, bring to a light simmer and cook uncovered for 20 mins, until most of the moisture has evaporated, then add the chopped spinach and stir well, before turning off the heat
  4. 4. While the meat and veggie mix is cooking, boil or steam the sweet potatoes and carrots for 15 mins, then mash with the rest of the olive oil and a little black pepper/salt. Turn the oven on at 170c.
  5. 5. Fill the bottom of the casserole dish with the meat mixture and top with the mash; cook in an oven at 170c for 30-40 mins (until browned a little on top)
  6.  

Tips: there are so many variants you can easily use up what's in the fridge, for example try different spices (such as paprika or cardamon), use fresh or dried herbs (like thyme, sage or parsley), add broccoli, eggplant or okra in the meat mix, and switch sweet potato for pumpkin.  

Benefits

Cumin has traditionally been used to improve digestion and contains anti-carcinogenic properties. It is also a source of magnesium, the essential mineral that serves a host of functions, including promoting heart health, controlling blood pressure and aiding the absorption of calcium.

Cinnamon has been shown in research to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant
and anti-cancer properties. It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve
circulation, which could possibly relieve pain associated with poor circulation.

Garlic is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects. Fresh chopped or crushed raw garlic delivers the most potent anti-inflammatory effects, and cooked garlic that has been allowed to stand for ten minutes before cooking retains significant anti-inflammatory effects.

Spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. Two cups of spinach will provide the daily value of vitamin A, necessary for healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. The same serve also meets the recommended day’s intake of vitamin C, needed for healthy gums, teeth, and bones as well as wound healing and fighting infection. Spinach is also one of best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help protect our eyes as we age.

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of olive oil and one of the healthiest oil choices with a high level of monounsaturated fats, natural antioxidants, phytosterols and vitamins. The traditional Mediterranean diet, rich in virgin olive oil, has been shown to offer some protection against chronic diseases by reducing pro-inflammatory mediators. Virgin olive oil contains numerous phenolic compounds that exert potent anti-inflammatory actions. Of particular interest is the phenolic compound oleocanthal, shown to possess similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen.