Low Calorie Fish and Leek Pie

By Karen Burns-Booth •

Karen shares how you can still enjoy all the comfort of a fish pie but with fewer calories than normal.  This pie comes in at only 250 calories a serving when served with fresh curly kale.

Fish Pie, the very words conjure up cosy evening meals at the kitchen table with piles of fluffy mashed potatoes, flaky fresh fish and a full tummy!  I am a big pie fan, I love pies of all types…..puff pastry pies with tender pieces of beef, short crust pasties with farmhouse Cheddar cheese and potato topped pies such as Shepherd’s and Cottage pie, if it has pie in the title, it is the meal for me!

But, pies are laden with calories, they are the ultimate comfort food recipes……they are packed with tasty fillings and are encased (or topped) with pastry and potatoes. Perfect though they may be for a cold winter’s day and a family supper, or as part of an extravagant summer picnic, they are just a teensy weensy on the high calorie side, unfortunately for me when I am on a diet!

The usual fish pie of my childhood, and the recipe that I still follow today (my mum’s recipe) comprises smoked haddock, cod, prawns, boiled eggs and peas all bound in a rich parsley sauce and topped with mounds, and I mean mounds, of cheesy mashed potatoes, with an extra layer of grated cheese and sliced tomatoes on top…..a veritable hunk of a dish, and a firm family favourite.

Whilst my low-calorie recipe for Comforting Fish and Leek Pie may not have ALL of those elements in it, it IS comforting and also very filling; plus it has lovely Scottish smoked haddock and cod as part of the ingredients. This fish pie, when served with a generous portion of curly kale, is only 250 calories per serving, and it’s packed with flavour. It’s very easy to make, and can be on the table from start to finish in about 45 minutes.

As well as the prime Scottish fish that I used in this recipe, there is a leek, some breadcrumbs with lemon zest and lots of fresh herbs……the topping is then finished off with some lemon slices, which make the pie look attractive whilst adding to the citrus flavour as the fish pie bakes. Yes, I know, it is NOT the usual pastry or mashed potato kind of pie, but it is hearty and filling and is perfect for anyone who is following the 5:2 diet, for a fast day (low calorie day where women are allowed 500 calories and men are allowed 600 calories a day).

I hope you enjoy this fish pie as much as we did when we had it the other day; on a non-fast day or when serving this recipe to the family, you can serve some mashed potatoes or crusty bread as an accompaniment, as well as assorted seasonal veggies.

Low-Calorie Fish and Leek Pie

(Serves 2 people)


1 leek, cleaned, trimmed and very finely sliced
125g smoked haddock, filleted and skinless
125g cod fillet, skinless
300mls skimmed milk
1 teaspoon cornflour
Grated zest of 1 lemon, and then the lemon sliced for topping
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs to taste, I used lemon thyme and parsley, finely chopped


Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Place the sliced leeks in a large frying or sauté pan that has a lid, and add 1 tablespoon water. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on, or until the leeks are soft.

Add the fish and the milk to the pan and simmer, with the lid on, for a further 5 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and is starting to flake. Drain and remove the fish and leeks, and put them into an oven proof dish.
Mix the cornflour with a little water and add it to the hot milk cooking liquor, heat it gently until the milk thickens and then season to taste with salt and pepper, and some chopped fresh herbs of your choice.

Pour the milk sauce over the fish and leeks.

Mix the grated lemon zest with the breadcrumbs, and then scatter them evenly over the top of the pie filling.

Arrange the sliced lemon slices over the top and scatter some more herbs over, leaving some for a garnish.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Serve with steamed curly kale and a lemon wedge, for a low-calorie and comforting meal. 

Inspired?  For more light recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.


Karen Burns-Booth

Karen Burns-Booth is creative freelance food writer & blogger. Her love of seasonal food & recipes stems from her childhood observing her grandmother and mother’s cookery skills. A regular contributor in Country Kitchen magazine, she currently writes for numerous other publications, food, travel and tourism websites and has several recipes in print in compilation cookbooks. She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook.

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