Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

I’m now on day 16 of my 60 day Whole30® challenge. So far, things are going fan-tas-tic. I keep forgetting just how much I loooove taking this challenge. I don’t know how or why it is that it does that to me, but it never fails to make me feel awesome and super inspired in the kitchen. You’d think that restricting one’s access to some of their favorite foods and ingredients would tend to have the opposite effect on them, wouldn’t you?

Apparently, this foodie is different. Way different. After all, the Whole30® is what initially got me hooked on paleo!

Frankly, if you’ve never tried it, I strongly suggest that you give it a go. I say you won’t regret it.

And if you’re currently taking the challenge (or even if you’re not) boy have I got a spectacular treat for you today. I call it Cottage Pie With A Twist. Why with a twist? Well ‘cuz da zuke, itsa twisted, ya know. Okay, okay… I’ve come up with better ones before, I know. But even if my play on words leaves to be desired, I can guarantee you that the dish doesn’t.

I could go on and on, babbling about just how good this one tastes, but don’t think it’s all that necessary. Frankly, I think the pictures say it all, so I’ll let them do the talking if you don’t mind…

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

It’s best to start by spiralizing the zucchini so it has time to get rid of its water while we work on the rest of the recipe. So go ahead and take that spiralizer out of the cupboard and get busy turning those zucchinis into long spaghetti-like strands.

Place the strands into a colander then add a teaspoon of salt and mix well.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Next, place your colander in the sink or over a large bowl. If you opt for the bowl, make sure your colander is elevated so the zucchini doesn’t come in contact with the water that it will release.

Place a sturdy plate that fits snugly in the colander right over the zucchini and add a weight over that plate. Let that entire rig sit on the counter for about 30 minutes, or until the zucchini has released all of its water. Expect around 1½ cup.

Pictured above is my set-up. Note that the colander is hanging by its handles, so it didn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, and I used my super heavy mortar and pestle as a weight. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you could use a large can of tomatoes, a jar of olives or pickles, or a small saucepan filled with water…

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

While we’re at it, might as well go ahead and prep the potatoes now…

You want to slice them as thinly as possible for this Cottage Pie, so the use of a mandolin is strongly recommended. If you don’t have one, though, you can still do the best you can with a good old chef knife… just make sure you use your best, sharpest blade on this project!

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Now that the prep work is out of the way, preheat your oven to 375°F.

Melt some cooking fat in a heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little bit more salt and continue cooking until the fungi get all soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Remove the vegetables to a plate, put the skillet back over the heat source, crank up the heat to high and add the ground beef. Break the meat into little pieces, sprinkle with yet a little bit more salt and cook until the beef turns dark brown and starts to become crispy, about 10 to12 minutes.

See those bits of dark brown, crispy goodness on that meat? That’s what you’re after. Because THAT, my friend, equals flavor to the 10th power. And flavor that great is never a bad thing…

When the beef is cooked to your liking, add the salted herbs, Dijon mustard, oregano, paprika, pepper, cayenne and water. Stir until well combined and continue cooking for a few minutes until the liquid has completely evaporated.

If you don’t have the salted herbs in your fridge, don’t worry about it. While they do add tons of depth to the dish, you can still do without them. However, you’ll need to adjust the saltiness level, so don’t forget to throw in a bit more salt.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Alright, now add the reserved vegetables back into the pan and stir well.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Transfer that beautiful meat to a baking dish.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Alright, time to check on our zucchini. This is what it should look like after all that water has been forced out of it.

You’ll notice that it has shrunk in size quite a bit and its texture is a lot softer, yet somewhat… chewier? Yeah, I guess we could call it that. Chewier. But in a good way, trust me. That really is good stuff!

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Arrange the spiralized zucchini over the meat, followed by sweet potato slices.

Oh, and by the way, you might be tempted to skip the “water squeezing out of the zucchini” step but believe me, it wouldn’t be a good idea. Remember how I said that you can expect to remove about 1½ cup of water from all that zucchini? Trust me, you do not want that liquid to end up at the bottom of your dish…

It’s not soup we’re making here, it’s Cottage Pie!

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Pour the melted ghee over the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 55-60 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

You can lift the slices very delicately, especially those in the center, to check and make sure the bottom slices had a chance to cook all the way through.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

When the potatoes are completely cooked, remove the foil and turn the broiler on for 3 to 5 minutes to crisp up the top slices a little bit and give them a beautiful golden color.

Remove from the oven and let the dish rest for 5-10 minutes, then garnish with fresh parsley before slicing and serving.

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

This dish is so elegant, yet so simple to execute, it’s already become a favorite of mine. I know I’ll be making it often! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it as a post workout breakfast. Really, it’s the best! No need for anything else on the side, it’s a complete meal in itself. Just slice, reheat and devour! It doesn’t get easier, or tastier than that.

And I’m already thinking that it must be equally excellent with Brussels sprouts instead of zucchini. That, and a little bit of smoked bacon…

Hummmmm… I get the feeling I’ll be playing with this dish a little bit in the next couple of weeks…

Or a lot!

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com
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Cottage Pie With A Twist

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Impress your guests with this spectacular and tasty take on the classic Cottage Pie. So elegant and delicious, it's bound to become a favorite!
Servings: 6

Ingredients

The meat layer

The middle layer

The top layer

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Start by spiralizing the zucchini and place the strands in a colander; add a teaspoon of salt and mix well. Set your colander in the sink or over a large bowl (make sure it’s elevated so the zucchini doesn’t come in contact with the water that it will release) and place a sturdy plate that fits snuggly over the zucchini. Add a weight over that plate and let that rig sit for about 30 minutes, until the zucchini has released all of its water.
  • With the help of a mandolin, slice the sweet potato as thinly as possible and reserve.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F
  • Melt some cooking fat in a heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little bit more salt and continue cooking until they get all soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the vegetables to a plate, put the skillet back over the heat source, crank up the heat to high and add the ground beef. Break the meat into little pieces, sprinkle with yet a little bit more salt and cook until the beef turns dark brown and starts to become crispy, about 10-12 minutes.
  • When the beef is cooked to your liking, add the salted herbs (omit if you don’t have but make sure you adjust saltiness), Dijon mustard, oregano, paprika, pepper, cayenne and water. Stir until well combined and continue cooking for a few minutes until the liquid has completely evaporated. Add the vegetables back into the pan and stir well.
  • Transfer the meat to a baking dish and then arrange the spiralized zucchini over the meat, followed by sweet potato slices. Pour the melted ghee over the potatoes, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375°F oven for 55-60 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  • Remove the foil and broil for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the potatoes a little bit and give them a beautiful golden color.
  • Remove from the oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 355kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 1725mg, Potassium: 1089mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 3671IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

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Cottage Pie With A Twist | thehealthyfoodie.com

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