When I take into consideration pie, I consider Charlie Chaplin and the custard pie fights of silent films. I recall the nursery rhyme about 4 and twenty blackbirds. And in fact the expression “American as apple pie.” If you had been extra into math than I used to be, the phrase may additionally evoke the components for the circumference of a circle. And if you happen to had been a rock and curler, you is likely to be buzzing a refrain about driving your Chevy to the levee.

But two concepts that don’t usually go together with pie are “plant-based” and “healthy.” In this text, I hope to alter that.

The History of Pie

classic american apple pie slice on plate

Most cultures have some model of a pie, whether or not candy or savory. That is that if we settle for a really broad definition of pie: a dish consisting of a crust with filling that’s normally baked. Historically, pies had been a far cry from what we consider as we speak. In historical occasions, pie crusts or shells had been generally only a vessel to maintain the filling from operating and weren’t meant to be eaten. According to Janet Clarkson, who wrote a complete e book in regards to the historical past of pies, these shells had been often known as “coffins.” Not that the contents had been deceased (though some had been), or that the contents would render you deceased (though I’m positive that occurred as properly). The phrase coffin initially referred to any kind of field or basket.

It’s laborious to know for positive who baked the primary pie (dough and spherical baking dishes aren’t precisely essentially the most enduring archeological artifacts). But there’s some consensus that two early pie-making civilizations included the traditional Egyptians and Greeks. Both had the expertise, they usually had the grains. As far again as 6000 BCE, a traveler to the Nile delta might need been provided a pie with a crust product of floor oat, barley, and rye, full of honey, and baked over scorching coals.

The expression “as American as apple pie” shouldn’t idiot you into considering Americans invented it, any greater than French fries or hamburgers are a product of Parisian and German culinary innovation, respectively. The British, together with many others, had found the enjoyment of baking apples in crusts lengthy earlier than America was the apple of the world’s eye. And apple strudel, which actually suits the definition of a filling baked in a crust or shell, predates the American expertise by a minimum of a century.

Pie Filling from the 15th Century

Oh, and that track in regards to the blackbirds? That wasn’t made up, I’m sorry to say. The European pie custom of the center ages basically consisted of throwing as many useless animals as doable right into a single crust. The origin of the phrase “pie” itself testifies to this custom, referencing the habits of the magpie, a fowl that constructed its nest from odds and ends. Believe it or not, one 15th century pie recipe included the next substances: “beef, beef suet, capons, hens, both mallard and teal ducks, rabbits, woodcocks, and large birds such as herons and storks, plus beef marrow, hard-cooked egg yolks, dates, raisins, and prunes.” I guarantee you that we’ll not be sharing a wholesome plant-based model of this pie under.

For very particular events, say “to set before a king,” medieval cooks invented the “animated pie,” with dwell animals like birds, frogs, rabbits, and turtles escaping from the crust as soon as it was reduce open. At a minimum of one occasion held by Britain’s King Charles I, a chilly pie was baked sufficiently big to cover the dwarf Jeffrey Hudson, who emerged from the crust wearing a miniature go well with of armor and bowed to the queen.

Looking again on what I’ve simply written, I’m realizing that this introduction isn’t precisely an argument for the inclusion of pies in a wholesome, moral, and sustainable plant-based weight loss program.

But wholesome pie recipes do exist. These days, it’s simpler than ever to create scrumptious candy or savory pies utilizing complete meals, plant-based substances. And if you happen to like, you may make them gluten-free, too!

Why Eat Pies?

Healthy pie recipes - Man eating savory pie slice

Pies are nice methods to make use of up substances which may not be all that thrilling on their very own. That container of leftover lentils within the fridge, these veggies within the crisper drawer which have seen higher days, and even fruit that’s quick approaching the twilight of its life will be stretched right into a full meal or a nutrient-packed dessert via the magic of pies.

Pies are nice for a crowd or bigger households, as they’re usually fairly filling. So if in case you have multitudes to feed, pies may simply do the trick.

At least within the US, we affiliate pies with holidays. For instance, pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, apple pie for July 4th, and lemon meringue pie on — I’m not making this up — National Lemon Meringue Pie Day (August 15).  So they provide many alternatives to remodel conventional meals into more healthy variations. Pie is maybe the final word consolation meals, so even if you happen to miss problematic substances, your variations can usually nonetheless make folks joyful.

Because we’re conditioned to love pies, they’re an effective way to experiment with a meals you aren’t conversant in or are much less more likely to strive in one other type. Let’s say you belong to a CSA (neighborhood assist agriculture) or co-op, and you find yourself with a dozen persimmons, a pound of rhubarb, or a large inexperienced zucchini. Any of these substances may fill a pie crust and provide you with an entire new expertise of that meals.

Pies don’t simply are available in 10” rounds both. You may bake “hand pies” for small meals and snacks. Because they’re moveable, you possibly can brown bag them for lunch, or take them on picnics and highway journeys. Many culinary traditions have their signature model of a hand pie: empanadas and samosas are two well-known and well-loved examples.

And as a result of pies “feel” decadent, you may get away with stuffing them with wholesome substances and get no (or only a few) complaints from the choosy eaters in your life.

Types of Pies

person pulling pie out of oven

Let’s divide the world of pies into two essential classes: savory and candy. Savory pies are the meals, and candy ones are the desserts.

Savory Pies

Pot pies historically characteristic meat and greens in a deep dish, lined with a domed crust. Many pot pie recipes omit the underside crust, so the dish can be a baked stew with an edible lid. The two most typical varieties are rooster and beef pot pies, which give a jumping-off level for creating wholesome, plant-based options.

Shepherd’s pies have traditionally consisted of a decrease layer of floor meat lined with a mashed potato crust. As the title implies, the most typical meat was lamb or mutton. Similar pies made with beef had been known as “cottage pies.”

Hand pies are small, particular person servings, usually with the filling fully enclosed inside a crust. In addition to the empanadas and samosas already talked about, this class contains Cornish pasties, Jamaican patties, and even Italian calzones. They will be eaten scorching or chilly, which makes them good moveable decisions.

Most pies are made with single-layer crusts, both comfortable or laborious, flaky or strong. Another class makes use of phyllo dough, which is available in very skinny layers rolled collectively (assume spanokopita). Turkish pies known as borek use phyllo dough to surround (usually) meat, cheese, and greens.

Sweet Pies

If we had been to word-associate about pie, we’d in all probability start with fruit pies. In the US, apple pie is the default. But, in fact, many sorts of fruits are completely fabulous in pies. Strawberry-rhubarb is a nice mixture of candy and tart; blueberry pies are unimaginable, and cherry and peach are not any slouches both. Fruit pies can have strong crusts, or if in case you have a while in your arms, and also you’re trying to impress, you possibly can prime your fruit pie with a lattice crust.

Other sorts of candy pies embody galettes, tarts, mousse pies, custard pies, meringue pies, and there are additionally candy veggie pies that use pumpkin, candy potato, or different flavorful vegetable-based fillings.

How to Make Pies Plant-Based and Healthier

Healthy pie recipes include this carrot and pumpkin pie

We’ve checked out some fairly tempting pies to this point, besides that the majority of them have contained substances you could wish to reduce or get rid of out of your weight loss program. So have I simply been teasing you with forbidden fruit (pies), or can we make these pies plant-based and wholesome? I believe the reply…


You can change some or all the refined sugar in a pie recipe with date paste, fruit, or quite a lot of more healthy sweeteners.


Pie crusts usually require flour. You can select more healthy flours than the default white-bleached selection, similar to 100% complete wheat flour, chickpea flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour, oat flour, or rice flour. There are additionally a number of forms of gluten-free flour mixes obtainable in lots of supermarkets and well being meals shops today.

The uncooked vegan neighborhood has given us uncooked meals pie crusts, which have the added benefit of not needing to be baked, so we will have our pie and eat it rapidly. Raw meals crusts usually embody floor nuts or seeds, and dates or different candy dried fruits.

And, as we’ve seen, some so-called pies don’t have crusts in any respect. Just use a pie plate, and you may have the spirit and the form of the pie with out the dough. Of course, you’ll want the correct substances so every part holds collectively.


There are a number of methods to switch eggs in a pie recipe, relying on the operate of the eggs. Flax meal and water (also referred to as “flax eggs”) can bind substances collectively in a pastry or quiche. The water leftover from canned or cooked chickpeas, known as aquafaba, makes a wonderful meringue base. And comfortable or silken tofu can usually change eggs in quiches and frittatas.

It’s simply as simple to dive into the savory world of meat pies by substituting beans and different legumes, mushrooms, and veggies like eggplant that may approximate the mouthfeel of meat. And if you happen to’re cooking for many who aren’t actually into veggies but, you possibly can assist them transition with plant-based meat analogues, which have gotten extra life like by the day.

You may change cheese with tofu, plant-based cheese analogues (use these sparingly as a result of they usually include a number of processed substances and generally even fractionated oils), or your personal home made nut cheese.

6 Scrumptious & Healthy Pie Recipes

Now it’s time to strive your hand at pie-making. Our wholesome pie recipes are various and completely scrumptious. And, with all the variability, there’s one thing for nearly everybody. We’re together with a fair six — three candy and three savory — simply to make sure we’re not taking part in favorites.

1. Raw Chocolate Mousse Pie

raw chocolate mousse pie on plate

Creamy, chocolatey, and luscious, but with out flour or oil — is that this decadent pie for actual? Yes, chocolate goals do come true! Plant-based substances like nuts and avocado create a wealthy dessert that’s full of dietary goodness. This pie is certainly a crowd-pleaser, even crowds that “don’t” eat vegetation!

2. Avocado Key Lime Pie

avocado key lime pie

Do of a yummy dessert that provides you 13 grams of fiber per serving? Now you do — meet Avocado Key Lime Pie! There’s lots of fiber hidden in avocados, in addition to quite a few vitamins like folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, B nutritional vitamins — and extra! Combined with the nuts and dates, that is one nutrient-dense and fiber-licious finish to your meal!

three. Sweet Potato Pie

sweet potato pie slice on plate

Feel all the nice vibes and heat power of autumn with every chew of this candy potato pie. Creamy and barely candy, candy potatoes supply plentiful fiber and vitamin A, serving to your physique stay wholesome in the course of the cooler months, on the holidays, or anytime you wish to take pleasure in it.

four. Mushroom and Kale Pot Pie

mushroom and kale pot pie slice on plate - healthy pie recipes

How can a pie be so wholesome but really feel so indulgent? Mushroom and Kale Pot Pie has all the weather to qualify as each a well being meals and a consolation meals. Immune-supporting mushrooms, nutrient-dense kale, and pathogen-fighting aromatics deliver an irresistible mixture of taste, textures, and diet to this tasty pie.

5. Cauliflower and Chickpea Samosas

cauliflower and chickpea samosas on serving plate with sauce

Have enjoyable within the kitchen whereas making our tackle a restaurant-style Indian favourite — Cauliflower and Chickpea Samosas. Cauliflower is added for vitamin C, chickpeas are added for plant-powered protein, and whole-wheat flour is a wealthy supply of fiber (you can too go together with a gluten-free flour if you happen to desire). Go all in and make your personal dough or buy natural complete grain dough on the retailer to maintain it easier.

6. Veggie Quiche

veggie quiche slice on plate - healthy pie recipes

Once the dough is made, this quiche recipe comes collectively rapidly. To make it even simpler, prep the dough and the filling forward of time and retailer them within the fridge till you’re able to impress with a easy and stylish breakfast (or dinner!). Alternatively, buy a 9-inch pie shell and omit the dough-making course of altogether!

One Last Word About Healthy Pies

Although at first look it might not seem to be pies are a well being meals, there are many methods to regulate them to make them wholesome and plant-based. Whether candy or savory, pies generally is a enjoyable and scrumptious option to share meals with family members and get extra vegatables and fruits into your weight loss program — with out relying on animal merchandise and unhealthy substances.

Tell us within the feedback:

  • What’s your favourite pie of all time? Is there a option to make it wholesome and plant-based?
  • Is there a sort of pie you’re trying ahead to making an attempt now?
  • What’s one kind of pie you possibly can add to your common meal rotation?

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