I have a theory that almost every country has a variation on a minced meat dish with a creamy topping. In the UK, we have shepherd’s pie, in Greece they have moussaka, in Italy they have lasagne, and in South Africa they have bobotie.

Bobotie is made from a spiced minced beef and a savoury custard topping. Traditionally, dried fruit is added to the mince mix and I use raisins and grated apple apples. Usually bobotie contains bread soaked in milk, however, rather than using gluten free bread alternatives, I use mashed beans. This results in the same consistency but lower in carbs and higher in fibres, as well as being naturally gluten free.

Don’t be put off by all the ingredients, the recipe is very simple and spices all get added together. I usually make double the quantity of the mince mix and freeze half. Then when I want to serve it again, all I have to do is beat an egg into the milk topping and pop it in the oven!

I originally found this recipe on the website of a South African guest house. Unfortunately the website no longer exists so I can’t give you the link. But as I have never been to South Africa, I would love to hear your comments on how this recipe compares to dishes you have tasted there.

Gluten & Dairy Free Bobotie

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A spiced, fruity beef mince dish with an eggy topping.


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 500g / 1lb minced beef steak (lean beef mince)
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 Grated Granny Smith Apples (or other sour green apples)
  • 50g raisins
  • Small tin (200g/7oz) of cannellini or other white beans
  • Spices – put in a small bowl to be used altogether.
    • 2 tsp madras curry powder
    • 1 tsp coriander
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
    • 1 tsp tumeric
    • 1/2 tsp cinamon
    • Pinch chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon


  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml / 1 cup oat or soya cream
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
  • Stirfry the minced beef in 1 tbsp oil until browned (about 5 mins) and put aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and soften the onions until they are translucent (Tip – sprinkle 1/4 tsp baking powder on the onion to accelerate the process).
  • Add the grated apple, garlic and spices to the onion and mix. Fry for another minute to develop the flavours.
  • Drain the beans and then pulverise them in a food processor or mash them with a fork.
  • Add the beans and beef to the onion mix.
  • Add salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Spoon the mixture into an oven dish (freeze at this point if needed) and sprinkle with the lemon zest.
  • Mix the topping ingredients together well and then pour over the mixture.
  • Bake for 40 mins. at 180C/350F.

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