This vegetarian dish was served during the Second World War, when meat and other key ingredients were in short supply. Created at London’s Savoy Hotel, it’s named for Lord Woolton, then minister of food. Despite efforts to popularise this pie, the public – who preferred a meat filling – gave it a lukewarm reception.


For the filling

  • 500g each potatoes, cauliflower, swede and carrot, all chopped
  • 4 spring onions chopped
  • 1tsp vegetable extract or 1 stock cube
  • 1tbsp rolled oats

For the pastry

  • 150g wholemeal flour
  • 75g butter cold and chopped into cubes
  • 8tbsp cold water


  • STEP 1

    For the pastry, put the flour in a mixing bowl and add the butter.

  • STEP 2

    Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.

  • STEP 3

    Add the water to make a soft dough.

  • STEP 4

    Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes, then roll it out to a size big enough to cover the top of your pie dish.

  • STEP 5

    For the filling, put the vegetables, vegetable extract and rolled oats in a saucepan, add an inch or so of water and stir to avoid sticking. Cook for 10 minutes. Once cooled, transfer the mixture to a pie dish.

  • STEP 6

    Cover with pastry and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes, or until the top is browned.

This article was first published in the March 2022 issue of BBC History Magazine

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