Auto Immune Protocol Cottage Pie

It can be tough on the auto immune protocol. You're quite limited to what you can eat (meat, fish, veggies, some fruit) that when you suddenly think you can have a food, you realise it's got flour in to thicken the sauce, or nightshade-based spices, tomatoes or sugar. So you slap yet another beef patty on the grill and put the peas on. 

But what's this? A comfort-food classic, that's OK on the AIP? Oh yes. 

aip cottage pie

The mince is grass-fed, Welsh beef. The 'mash' is nightshade free and is actually made from parsnips and cauliflower - a tip taken from Gwyneth Paltrow's elimination diet book It's All Good. And I was quite worried it would be dry without the usual thick, dark gravy but it wasn't - it just tasted really clean and the meat stayed lovely and moist. My eight-year old suspected there was cauliflower in it, but my veggie-phobe five-year old scraped it all up off her plate and asked for seconds. Want to make it? Here's how. 

16th July 2014: Since this recipe was first published Sarah Ballantyne, one of the foremost figures of research into the autoimmune protocol, announced that she now considered black pepper, peas and green beans 'foods to avoid' on the elimination phase of the AIP, whereas they were 'use with caution' foods before. If you're on the elimination phase of AIP it's best to avoid the peas in this recipe - use diced carrots instead.

AIP Friendly Cottage Pie
Serves 4
400g minced beef (preferably grass-fed for AIP)
1 red onion, chopped
a couple of handfuls frozen peas (omit for elimination phase of AIP)
3 parsnips
1 head of cauliflower
1 tsp duck fat
salt, to season

Make the mash first: 
Peel and chop the parsnip and cut the cauliflower into chunks. Tip into salted, boiling water and continue to boil for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are soft. Drain well and mash, adding the duck fat to help it along. This will also enhance the flavour of the mash. 

While the veggies are cooking, get on with the meat base. Dry-fry the mince in a non-stick pan until browned and then add the onion. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and then throw in the peas, if using. Add a slosh of the cooking water from the veg to the meat mixture and turn off the heat. 

Spoon the meat mixture into a medium-sized oven dish and then dot the mash on top. Smooth it over with a fork and bake in a 200ÂșC oven for 10-15 minutes, until the meat underneath is bubbling and the mash has a few golden, toasty bits on top. Eat hot. 

This recipe has been linked up to the Paleo AIP link-up at Phoenix Helix blog. Do check it out for more AIP-friendly recipes.


  1. Jo, this looks soooooo good. Thanks for sharing at the AIP roundtable!


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