Wonder chef Annabel Karmel shares her easy and healthy cottage pie recipe that turns children’s food into gourmet treats – getting them to eat their nutrients will be a cinch…

Mini Cottage Pie | Suitable for toddlers plus

Iron is very important for you baby’s physical and mental development. A baby is born with a store of iron that lasts for about the first six months after this they need to get iron from their diet. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in young children and can cause your child to feel tired, run down and more prone to infection. Red meat provides the best source of iron in a baby food recipe as it’s much easier to absorb iron from animal sources.


  • 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • A generous knob of butter
  • 3tbsp milk
  • 5tbsp grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 60g onion, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot (approx 150g), peeled and grated
  • 150g lean minced beef
  • 150ml passata
  • 150 ml unsalted stock or water
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or a pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch sugar



  • Put the potatoes into a saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for about 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash together with the butter, milk and grated cheese.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion over a low heat for about four minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the garlic and cook for half a minute. Add the grated carrot and sauté for four minutes.
  • In a separate pan, dry fry the minced beef until browned, stirring occasionally. Add to the onion and carrot. Pour over the passata and stock and add the thyme and pinch of sugar. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Divide the meat between three ramekin dishes and top each with mashed potato and brown under the grill.

For more lunchbox recipes from Annabel Karmel, the UK’s number one parenting author, see Annabel’s app,Annabel’s Essential Guide To Feeding Your Baby & Toddler – Annabel Karmel, available on iTunes

Recipe is available from Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner (Ebury Press)