Though Americans are likely to think first of something sweet when they hear the word “pie,” savory pies were far actually more common than dessert varieties for centuries. In many parts of the world—including England and Australia—they still are!

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The earliest documented pie recipe seems to date back to the thirteenth century, a recipe for “tortoise pie” found in an Andalusian cookbook. However, pie itself seems to have originated even earlier, when prehistoric people cooked “galletes” over hot coals in inedible "reeds" made of mud or leaves to keep meat from drying out and yummy juices from dripping away.

Early British pies, which seem to have appeared as early as the 12th century, most likely got their name from the French “pate,” which means pastry. Others speculate that pies got their name from the magpies, birds who have a reputation for unusual scavenging habits. This was due to the fact that almost anything could be used in a pie!

Though the crusts of these pies were made from more conventional flour, they weren't meant for eating either; like reeds, these early crusts were primarily meant to hold the meat as it cooked and to preserve it for long periods afterwards, an especially important quality for those traveling by ship.

These early crusts were called “coffyns.” Now, before anyone gets morbid, at the time the word only referred to a basket or box!

Coffyns were technically edible, though they were too thick and tough to be of interest to most upper or middle class people at the time. If they were eaten at all, it was by beggars and servants.

Gradually, more edible pie crusts developed, and small sweet pies called "tarts" began to appear on the scene. However even these sweet tarts were typically made with only fruit, spices and pastry rather than sugar, which was rare at the time.

The pie didn't become a bona-fide dessert until much later, when the American sugar industry took off. In England nowadays, the word "pie" still usually refers to a savory dish while sweeter pies are called tarts or cakes.

Now, though most pies are much maligned dieting disasters, you can indeed do pie the healthy way! In the three pie recipes below, gut-busting white flour is replaced with light crusts made from melba toast and chickpea flour.

The pies' use of fatty cheese and butter is also minimized, while the inclusion of veggies like cabbage, celery and onion and spices like oregano, garlic and ginger ensure they're still packed with plenty of flavor—and plenty of micro-nutrients as well!

If you're a beef fan, you'll probably enjoy our Simple Mini Meat Pies or our Steak and Onion Pies, while someone searching for some lighter fare may be more inclined towards our amazing Fish Pie!

Fish Pie

Fish pie

There's something a little fishy about this healthy pie recipe! Estimated nutritional value depends on fish choice.

Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook time
25 minutes
4 servings


  • 400gm fish of choice
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbs crushed garlic
  • 4 tbs natural yogurt
  • 8 mini toasts
  • 1 pinch ginger
  • 1 pinch lemon pepper spice
  • 1 pinch lemon herb and garlic spice

Cook fish with spices (or alter to taste), breaking up the fish as its cooking. Turn off heat. Blitz celery and onion in blender till in fine pieces (not minced). Cook till soft in separate pan. Put in with fish. Cut cabbage into small pieces and cook till soft, then add to fish. Add ginger, minced garlic, and yogurt to fish mix together. Divide fish into 4 ramekins. Crush mini-toast and sprinkle over fish and cook in mod oven 15 min.

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Simple Mini Meat Pies

A meat pie

Are you ready to eat this meaty treat? Estimated nutritional value of 307 calories, 11.7g fat, 69 cholesterol, 24.3g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 25.9 gprotein, 4.3g sugar

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
20 Minutes
1 serving


  • 40g chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon of homemade butter
  • 60g beef, or other protein of choice
  • Soda water
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Add salt and pepper to flour. Rub butter between fingers in flour till breadcrumb-like consistency. Add enough soda water till a firm dough. Roll out thinly and use cutter for pie maker. You may need an egg flip or spatula, something very thin to help get it off the board/bench. Pop in pie maker and fill with 60g protein. Serve with vegetable of choice, and, if desired, garnish with 123Diet Gravy.

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Steak and Onion Pies

Steak and onion pies

Make no missteak—this recipe is delicious! Estimated nutritional value of 331 calories, 11.9g fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 31.2g carbohydrate, 9.1g fiber, 25.1 g protein, and 5.5g sugar.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
20 Minutes
2 pies, one serving each

Pastry Ingredients

  • 100 g chickpea flour
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp parmesan
  • 1 tbsp homemade butter
  • Filling Ingredients

  • 100 grams diced beef (or other allowed protein of choice)

Rub butter into flour, of breadcrumb consistency. Add a little soda water to bring together as a dough. Knead dough, roll into ball, rest in fridge for 1/2 hour. To avoid pastry sticking, roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper and sprinkle chickpea flour on paper and on pastry. Push pastry base into non stick pie pans, add filling, and pop on top. Pinch together edges. Bake in a fan-forced oven on 180 for 25 mins. Enjoy!

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