Dairy free chicken pot pie or turkey pot pie to use your leftover turkey! With this recipe you can make a few individual pot pies in ramekins for a lower-carb pot pie option (just one crust on top of the ramekin) or do traditional 2 crust pot pies for flakey crust all around.
Healthy delicious “buttery” pot pie pastry made with natural butter flavored coconut oil for a savory coconut oil pie crust where you can’t taste the coconut and its soy free! This recipe can be made as individual mini pot pies in souffle ramekins (for less carbs, but still satisfying the pastry craving) or in mini disposable foil pie pans or the traditional way as a large pie with 2 pie shells if you don’t have ramekins. There is also a simple hack here for using frozen pie shells (store-bought or homemade ahead of time) instead to cut down prep work. Whether you make or buy the dough, whole grain Spelt pastry or traditional flour pie pastry can be used.
Traditionally pot pies are made with a roux: a combination of flour and butter to thicken the filling, and then encased in 2 pie shells. These healthy pot pies are made with a dairy-free “cream” made of cauliflower and potato purée, broth, herbs, hidden coconut milk and natural butter flavor coconut oil, so it is full of healthy fats and veggies like a healthy cauliflower potato soup as a substitue for milk and cream, and then mixed with turkey or chicken and covered with a flaky pastry top made with natural butter flavor coconut oil by Nutiva. Make them with leftover turkey, rotisserie chicken or vegan by simply replacing the meat with mushrooms.
These pot pies are also a kid friendly way of getting your kids (and the kid in you) to eat more hidden veggies along with all their favorite foods: flakey pastry, peas and carrots, potatoes, chicken and optional bacon/ham.
tip: Pot pies take time so if you get hangry like me, start ahead on a free weekend day when you are feeling organized about a cooking project.
Tip: Pot pies are best fresh. If you plan to make some for ahead I recommend making the traditional variation giving of two pie shells together in a disposable aluminum pan rather than ramekin pot pies. Because ramekin pot pies take a long time to cool due to their thick ceramic dish and if you keep them in the fridge and suddenly put them in the oven the next day, then that’s a temperature shock for the ceramic. So for ramekin pot pies make the amount you’ll eat that day. I usually do have leftovers so I just use common sense to not temperature shock the dish too much. To keep things simple with meal prep you can prep the raw pie crust ahead.
Yield: This recipe is for two pie shells (to make one pot pie) or 4x 2 cup ramekins or four 6” disposable aluminum mini pie pans. (This recipe can also be made in a greased muffin tin). So if you are making a traditional pot pie without ramekins put pastry shells on top and bottom. If using larger 3 cup souffle ramekins you may be able to squeeze in 4 pastry “lids” from rerolled scraps and if one lid is a tiny bit short it can float on top of the pot pie rather than overhanging the ramekin securely. I only own two ramekins myself and eat the rest as pot pie soup* while waiting for the pies to bake! Also Based on which type of pot pie you are making, divide the ready dough accordingly into however many balls you need for your ramekins or traditional pot pie with two crusts (ie. 2 balls for two crusts).
Dairy free “buttery”* coconut oil pie pastry Ingredients:
(OR if you don’t have time to make your own pastry dough, use 2 defrosted frozen pie shells as directed below)
- 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour or spelt flour (or a combo of the two-You may need less water if using spelt or a combo)
- 1 1/3 cup natural butter flavor coconut oil by Nutiva, solid and cold, but scoopable as you find it in winter, when its not melted into liquid (If not using butter flavored coconut oil, use Refined coconut oil for less coconut taste, but I highly recommend the butter flavour for savory recipes. im sure ghee would work too)
- optional, 1-2 tbsp coconut butter in place of 1-2 tbsp of a tbsp of above oil, room temp (you wont taste the coconut, I’ve used more in it before) or cold palm fruit oil (note you can find an environmentally friendly palm oil, also if using red palm oil, it makes things orangey so you’ve been warned)
- 6-12 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1-2 tsp sea salt (I like more salt and there is no butter etc here to add saltiness)
- Optional, 1/2 tsp sugar
- Optional, Few thyme leaves removed from the stems
- variation: you can cheat a bit by adding 1/4 tsp of baking powder for flakiness
- optional, egg wash: one whisked egg+ tsp water for egg wash later to secure the “lids” to the ramekins (here is the whisk I use)
Ingredients for the dairy free “cream” in the pot pie:
- Large onion, diced
- 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed
- scant 2 cups Cauliflower florets
- 6-7 nugget potatoes or 2.5 large potatoes, peeled and diced (paleo/keto sub with more cauliflower but it will not be as thick)
- Approx 700ml-1 litre turkey stock or chicken stock, fresh or frozen and thawed overnight in the fridge for tastiest results (just enough to cover the above veg. Vegan sub chicken-flavored veg broth or veg broth)
- (variation 1/4 cup of sherry/dry white wine can be used instead of a bit of stock, to deglaze the pan and cook off)
- From 1 Can coconut milk, 3/4 of the top solid cream part only, not the watery part (so approx. 3/4 cup coconut milk cream)
- 3 tbsp butter-flavored coconut oil or ghee, or more to taste
- 10 or more sprigs Thyme, stem removed or sub dried herbs
- Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely diced or sub with 2 tsp dried rosemary
- Optional, 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
- Optional: 1-2 bay leaves
- optional, 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 2 dashes of lemon juice
- optional, 3/4 tbsp -1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast (to taste) plus tiny pinch of turmeric
- 3 tbsp natural butter-flavor coconut oil by Nutiva (or ghee or vegan butter)
- 3/4 of a rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey (vegan sub: mushrooms and veg)
- 6 nugget potatoes or 2 large potatoes, optional (can be subbed with more meat or veg)
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 1 small Bunch of thin Carrots, diced (fresh is best, but you can sub frozen or canned carrots and peas for less chopping)
- 2 cups white mushrooms (can be subbed with more meat, potatoes, or frozen peas and carrots)
- 1 heaping cup canned or frozen peas (if you love peas and carrots another cup or more frozen peas and carrots can be added) (keto sub mushrooms)
- Optional: Parsley few bunches, chopped finely and stems removed
- One pack fresh Dill, stem removed, chopped
- Few sprigs thyme, stem removed or sub with dried
- sage leaf, finely diced
- optional variation for extra flavour (recommended): add 1-2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into cm slices
- optional: 1/4 cup deli ham or fried bacon, chopped into small pieces
Directions to make the pie crust:
- Mix the flour, thyme and salt either in a food processor attached with a dough blade or in a bowl (ideally a bowl that you can easily get your hands into). Pulse a few times or mix by hand. Add coconut oil. Pulse or do it by hand using pastry cutter/pastry blender (or a fork) to cut the oil into the flour for about 40-45 seconds. It will look like wet fine crumble like wet sand with no chunks left and beads of fat smaller than a pea. If using food processor keep stopping to scrape down the sides in this step and next steps. (note: a stand mixer can be used too to reduce handling with warm hands).
- Add 4 tbsp ice water, adding only as much as needed to get it into a dough. Mix with wooden spoon or pulse. Add an extra tbsp of ice water, adding one tbsp at a time only as needed to make it a dough (if you take off a piece it should be easy to roll into a ball), and mix with spoon or pulse. Only use as much water as needed for dough to come together and so it is not too dry nor sticky. Very briefly knead it with your hands adding the scraps in (hands add warmth though so not for long and don’t overwork the dough!)
- Then make dough into 2 balls for traditional pot pie or 3-4 balls if using 3-4 ramekins. Extra scraps can be rolled into a smaller extra ramekin lid later.
- Work with one ball of dough at a time. Place it on a nonstick rolling mat or on a parchment paper covered work surface, and cover with parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll it out as a disc shape that is about 3 mm thin. Repeat with next disc. (Note: if you need to patch pieces and scraps up use moist fingers).
- Can be made ahead, wrapped up in seran wrap, refrigerated for a day, or frozen and then thawed for convenience as this project takes some time.
- Follow directions below for making it into ramkein “lids”.
- Paleo sub tip: if using almond flour, since almonds contain some fat you may want to decrease the oil slightly. You can also use a combo of almond and regular flour for better consistency. If using a gluten free flour mix, use one with some xanthan gum, and do not freeze and thaw, its too crumbly. Also adding an egg can help and if so you may reduce the ice water. Chill it 20 min before using. If using whole wheat pastry flour you may need more water.
OR if not making pastry from scratch: easy Pastry Crust hack from frozen pie shells (ideally deep dish) that have been defrosted:
(Unfortunately gluten-free frozen pie shell will not work for this hack, so look for a dairy free one with regular flour, i find cheap white flour or spelt ones work best). Defrost frozen pie shells at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge overnight. Place the thawed frozen pie shells on a lighlty floured surface or silicone non-stick mat and top with parchment paper (or place it between two sheets of parchment paper). or use a marble board. use rolling pin to roll it out about 11″ deep (if using deep dish pie shells) but not too thin. Place the thawed pie shells on a nonstick rolling mat and top with parchment paper (or place it between two sheets of parchment paper on a smooth work surface if you dont have a nonstick mat). Use rolling pin to roll it out (for deep dish about 11″ wide) but not too thin.
To secure the ramekin “lids” with homemade or storebought crust: One egg, whisked, plus a teaspoon of water for egg wash (vegan sub see notes)
Follow steps 11-13 below to prepare the ramekin pastry “lids”.
Directions to make the “cream” and filling:
- First make the dairy free “cream“:
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Drizzle a sheet pan or lasagna pan with oil or melted ghee. Add the cauliflower florets, the chopped potatoes, onion and garlic and drizzle with more oil. Add rosemary, some of the thyme, generous salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly- you dont want the garlic to burn or the veg to be crispy so be generous with the oil. Bake 25-33 minutes, tossing halfway through, bake until just tender, but not burnt nor crispy, it will be finished off in the pot.
- Once fairly tender transfer to a pot and add diced zuchini if using. Add broth and coconut milk, you may not use all the stock, just enough to cover the veg fully. Add the rest of thyme and seasonings from “the cream” portion. cook til its all tender for several minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée it smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, place it in a regular high-speed blender once it’s cooled down slightly from the broth and coconut milk. (A masher will do an ok job too but you’ll have whole herbs still.) Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Have a taste test. If desired stir in nutritional yeast and puree again. Stir in a few more spoonfuls of natural butter flavor coconut oil. This “cream” can be frozen, but it’s best fresh or prepared the day before if needed.
- To make the filling: In a large 12” fry pan melt the oil or ghee and add diced potato, celery, (plus mushrooms and leek if using) and sauté for 8 minutes or so then add carrots and diced sage leaf. Stir often. Sauté a few minutes until everything is pretty tender, adding the frozen peas (or frozen veggies if using) in the last 2 minutes to warm them, so they dont add extra moisture to the pies. Add to the pot of soup. Move from pan to the pot, add some chopped parsley, if using to the stew. Cook about 4 minutes until everything is tender, add diced or shredded turkey or chicken, diced fried up bacon or ham if using, along with any of their gravy juices/grease and tasty bits.
- Season with poultry seasoning and extra salt and pepper (keep in mind that since there is no butter in here unless you are using ghee there’s no salt present so and sea salt is less salty, so a lot of sea salt is needed). Adjust seasoning to taste with lemon juice, butter flavor coconut oil and Cayenne. Garnish with lots of chopped fresh dill (which really is an unsung hero for flavour in dishes like these).
- If using ramekins use an empty ramekin with the top side down to measure how much pastry dough you need and leave about a centimeter or more room around the rim, then use a sharp knife or cutters to cut a circle in the pastry dough. (If you don’t have ramekins you can stick two pie shells together for a traditional pot pie).
- Cut a small X in the middle (as shown in below pic) for steam to escape.
- Ladle filling into ramekins.
- To assemble the individual ramekin pot pie pastry “lids”: Whisk one egg and mix a tsp of water in for egg wash (for vegan pie crust omit this and just place the pastry “lid” on top of the pot pie to float).
- If using ramekins place top of ramekin down and use a sharp knife or cutters to cut around it, leaving enough room around the edges. Use a sharp knife to mark an X in the middle for steam to vent. Brush the top and outside of the ramekin rim with egg wash then put pastry on top and press in to the ramekin to seal. Use pastry brush to brush egg wash over the X mark and all over the top of the pastry”lid”.
- OR to make a traditional pot pie (2 pie shells, no ramekin): Flip parchment paper over to gently turn out the dough over greased pie pan (greased with buttery coconut oil of course!) and make short edges as this oil based crust doesn’t hold quite as strongly as buttery ones. Flip the other rolled out dough disc to cover it, trim excess with kitchen scissors and seal it with fingers (fluting with fingers if desired, but its not necessary as long as its sealed). Make an X in the middle and a poke some small holes with a toothpick(2 small holes is enough for individual pot pies) or make a few small incisions in the dough for release of steam.
- Preheat oven to 375° For ramekins or 400 for traditional whole 2 crust pot pies. Place the ramekins or pot pie on a sheet pan to avoid spills or crumbles. Bake til golden, about 30 to 35 minutes for 2-cup ramekins, a little longer for whole pie. If browning too quickly use aluminum foil to tent over edges (this can be done as needed later or at the start for a several minutes and taken off after). Turn the pies halfway through for even browning.
- tip: there is a lot of filling here especially if adding mushrooms and if like me you only own 2 medium ramekins, and have leftover filling, turn it into pot pie soup* by thinning it out with a few spoonfuls of shaken coconut milk and broth. I like to have extra to enjoy as soup while waiting for the pot pies to bake because this dinner does take a while to bake and have ready.
*Nutiva‘s vegan natural butter flavored coconut oil is made by fermenting herbs and the result is coconut oil that tastes and smells like butter (and no I do not work for them lol just love to use their butter flavored coconut oil for recipes like these!) I also like using this butter flavor coconut oil in pot pie soup.
Vegan pot pie sub: sub the stock with (chicken flavoured) veg broth and the meat with more potatoes and veg, adding sautéed mushrooms if desired to replace the meatiness and corn if desired. skip the egg wash and just place the “lids” on top or stick two pie shells together.
Paleo note: Whole 30 allows potatoes but if you find they upset your stomach or are on a keto diet simply make the recommended substitutions. I haven’t tried making the pastry entirely from almond flour yet (mostly for economical reasons), but I am sure that with a little decreased oil and a little added arrowroot starch and some elbow grease it can work out well (see paleo notes above), though the texture will of course be different, keep me posted if you make it so I can make this a thorough resource for all diet types 🙂