Think you can’t enjoy your favourite comfort foods whilst following keto? Think again. This cottage pie combines tender beef mince and vegetables with a creamy and cheesy cauliflower mash topping. It’s as good as the original – yet only contains 10.5g total carbs and 8g net.
How do you make this low carb?
Traditional cottage pie is topped with creamy mashed potato which is the antithesis of keto. Cauliflower mash to the rescue – topped with delicious cheese to make it extra comforting.
Instead of the traditional carrots and peas used in cottage pie, this also uses broccoli and celery, with a small amount of onion and tomato puree to add extra flavour. The addition of beef stock, thyme and Worcestershire sauce make this a super tasty option for dinner.
How can you thicken it?
You will see some cottage pie recipes use flour to thicken the juices in the recipe. I find that you can reduce the liquid right down without overcooking it, so I don’t think it’s needed. However, if you did want to thicken things up then you could use xanthan gum.
Can you freeze it?
This recipe is absolutely perfect for freezing, so make a few batches and get some advance meal prep done! For best results, prepare the recipe until before it goes into the oven and then cool and freeze. You can portion it into small foil containers like these for easy storage and to take up less room in the freezer than bulky casserole dishes.
When you are ready to serve the pie then remove from the freezer and leave to defrost in the fridge overnight or for 4-8 hours depending on the size of the pie. Pop in the oven for the time indicated below.
- Olive oil – or you can use vegetable oil
- Onion – finely diced
- Celery – diced into small pieces
- Garlic – finely chopped
- Beef mince – you can use lamb instead (which would technically then be shepherd’s pie rather than cottage pie)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Beef stock
- Thyme – fresh, leaves stripped from the stems, or dried
- Broccoli – cut into very small pieces
- Whipping or single cream – you can use butter instead if you prefer
- Cheddar cheese, grated – you can alternatively use Monterey Jack or a harder cheese like Gruyere or parmesan. Whatever cheese you use, don’t buy it pre-grated as it will include stabilisers which make it more difficult to melt.
Stick or immersion blender – you can also use a food processer/blender or you could mash by hand instead if you don’t have one
Casserole dish – use one that is appropriate for the number of portions you are making. It’s also best to try and find one which is deep rather than shallow, yet smaller in surface area. This is because the cauliflower mash doesn’t yield a huge volume and therefore it’s better to not have to spread it too thinly. For 2 portions I used this one which is 9X5 inch (It also comes in a few different colours!)
How to make it
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Bring a small pan of salted water to the boil.
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook for around 5 minutes until the onion has softened and making sure that it doesn’t brown.
Add the beef mince to the pan and break apart so you aren’t left with any big chunks. Once the mince is browned all over add the tomato puree, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Season to taste and add the broccoli to the pan and leave on a low simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced right down.
While the beef mixture is cooking, make the cauliflower topping. Add the cauliflower florets to the boiling water and boil for around 7-8 minutes until soft. Drain and return to the pan. Add the cream and use a stick/immersion blender to blitz into a smooth paste. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese with a spoon (don’t use the blender for that – as it will get super sticky).
Transfer the beef mixture into a casserole dish and spread the cauliflower mixture on top. Top with the remaining cheese and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden on top.
Products that work well for this recipe
Russell Hobbs 3-in-1 Blender
Le Creuset Stoneware Casserole Dish
BergHOFF Neo Cast Iron Oval Cov Casserole
This keto cottage pie is so comforting and tasty – made with creamy and cheesy cauliflower mash – you won’t believe it’s low carb!
Each serving contains 10.5g total carbs and 8g net.
The default recipe serves one.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 15g (0.5oz) diced brown onion (around 1/8 of an onion)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 25g (0.9oz) diced celery (around 1/2 a large stick)
- 150g (5.3oz) beef mince
- 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 60ml (1/4 cup) beef stock
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 25g (0.9oz) sliced broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- 100g (3.5oz) cauliflour flourets, broken up
- 1tbsp whipping or double cream
- 40g (1.4oz) cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350 F. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan/skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic and celery and fry for around 5 minutes until softened. If it starts to brown turn the heat down
- Add the beef mince to the pan and cook until browned all over. Stir and break the mince up consistently so you don’t end up with big chunks.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, the beef stock and the tomato puree to the pan. Stir well and add the thyme and season to taste. Add the broccoli florets and then cook for around 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the cauliflower to the boiling water and boil for around 7-8 minutes until tender.
- Drain the cauliflower and then return to the pan with the cream. Use a stick/immersion blender to blend into a paste. Stir the 3/4 of the cheese with a spoon until well combined.
- Spoon the beef mixture into a baking/casserole dish.
- Top the mixture with the cauliflower cheese mixture – spread as evenly as you can. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and an extra few tyme leaves for decoration.
- Place the baking dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.
- If the mixture is too liquidy then keep simmering it until it reduces down
- You can use butter instead of the cream in the mash if you prefer.
- You can use a different cheese based on your preference – gruyere, Monterey Jack or even parmesan work well.
- Don’t use pre-grated cheese, as this won’t melt as well due to the stabilizers used in the production.
- It’s better to use a deeper casserole with less surface area, as the cauliflower mash doesn’t yield a huge portion and you don’t want to spread it out too thinly. For 2 portions I use this 9X5 inch casserole.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: British
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 644
- Fat: 48g
- Carbohydrates: 10.5g
- Protein: 42g
Keywords: keto, dinner, british, low-carb, comfort food, beef