Fish pie is surely up there as one of the ultimate family meals of all time. Warm and comforting, it can keep everyone happy; even the littlest family members! I missed it so much after my son was diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy that I spent months trying to perfect a dairy free fish pie recipe. Here is the result of all my trials! It is really yummy and I promise that you won’t miss the dairy at all x
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What dietary requirements is this dairy free fish pie recipe suitable for?
Obviously dairy free fish pie is a good option for those with cow’s milk allergies! It is also free from egg and soy, as these allergies so often accompany a cow’s milk protein allergy. As a bonus, I have made this recipe gluten free for anyone with coeliac disease, a wheat allergy, or gluten intolerance.
The recipe does contain nuts; I use almond milk to make the white sauce. However, if you need the dish to be nut free, simply switch to another mild tasting plant based milk. I often use oat milk instead, which works well.
One thing to be aware of is that fish is one of the top 14 most common allergens. Fish allergies are relatively rare in children, but you should still introduce one type of fish at a time. You may want to serve this fish pie after you are confident your child is fine with all the fish in the recipe.
Similarly, the recipe contains mustard, which is also in the top 14 allergen list. This fish pie could be a good way to introduce mustard into your child’s diet. If you prefer you can leave the mustard out, although the finished result will be slightly less flavoursome.
A nutritious family meal with a big calcium boost!
As well as being a crowd pleasing meal, fish pie is also full of nutritional benefits; especially for dairy free children. Parents of kids with cow’s milk allergies often develop a calcium obsession – I know I have! This dairy free fish pie is a really great way to give them a big dose of calcium. All you need to do is make sure you are using a calcium fortified plant based milk to make the white sauce. We tend to use Alpro unsweetened almond milk*, which contains equivalent amounts of calcium to cow’s milk.
According to the NHS website, a healthy, balanced diet should include at least 2 portions of fish a week, including 1 of oily fish. Fish is a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and this meal is a handy way to regularly include it in your child’s diet. In particular, oily fish (such as salmon and mackerel) is one of the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are so important for visual and brain development.
How to serve dairy free fish pie for babies
You can adjust how you serve this fish pie to babies based on the approach you are taking to weaning, their age and preferences.
One approach is to mash it all together and serve it on a spoon. If you are doing baby led weaning – or for those more independently minded children (!) – you can give them a spoon pre-loaded and they can feed themselves. Personally, I tended to let my babies take handfuls of it and feed themselves directly. If you are taking this approach you can leave some bigger chunks of fish which are easy for them to pick up.
When choosing a fish pie mix, remember that smoked fish is relatively high in salt. For babies you can either choose a mix without any smoked fish, make up your own mix of fish, or just ensure their portion only includes the white fish and salmon when serving.
However you serve the fish pie, make sure that you have checked extra well for any small bones, and removed these.
Can dairy free fish pie be frozen?
I love cooking, but sometimes I feel like it takes over my life; I know many other allergy parents will be able to relate with this feeling! That’s why I love recipes like this one which are easy to batch cook and freeze. The recipe below is enough to feed four people, but when I make fish pie I often make a double portion, separate it out into two dishes, and put one in the freezer. It’s the same amount of effort in the kitchen, but double the reward!
You can freeze a whole fish pie if you are planning to use it to feed the whole family. Or, the other option is to freeze the extras in smaller dishes such as ramekins, which make perfect baby or toddler sized portions. These can then be taken out one at a time as needed. See the recipe notes below for tips on freezing and reheating dairy free fish pie.
Looking for more dairy and gluten free family dinners ideas? You may like to try:
- Smoky shredded chicken
- Buckwheat or brown rice pasta with this hidden veg sauce
- Quick and easy egg free fishcakes
And for lots more dinner ideas check out my FREE downloadable meal plan. 4 weeks of family dinners, all free from dairy, soy, egg & gluten x
Dairy free fish pie (also free from gluten and egg)
- 750 g maris piper potatoes
- 25 g dairy free butter alternative (I use Pure olive) Plus an extra knob of DF butter for the mash
- 25 g gluten free flour you can use plain flour if you don't need the pie to be gluten free
- 350 ml unsweetened almond milk see recipe notes for nut free alternatives
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 300 g fish pie mix (for example, a mix of salmon, white fish such as cod or pollack, and smoked haddock, all skinless, boneless & cut into chunks) see recipe notes
- 60 g frozen peas or sweetcorn
- 1 tsp polenta
- Preheat your oven to 200ºc / 180ºc fan
- Peel and quarter the potatoes. Cover them with water in a large saucepan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
- Whilst the potatoes are cooking, you can get going with the sauce. Melt the dairy free butter alternative in a large saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flour, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Then, add the almond milk, bit by bit. (gently heating the almond milk before adding it can help stop lumps forming – see these tips for a perfect roux). Keep stirring until you have a smooth sauce.
- Bring the sauce to the boil, then simmer and cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thickened. Take the sauce off the heat, then stir in the nutritional yeast and the mustard.
- Get an ovenproof dish (I use a 20cm by 15cm dish for this). Spread the fish chunks over the base, making sure to double check for any bones. Then sprinkle over the peas or sweetcorn. Pour in the sauce, and give the whole thing a gentle stir.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them well and mash until smooth with a splash of the almond milk and a knob of the dairy free butter.
- Spoon the potatoes evenly over the top of the sauce mix, and run the prongs of a fork along the top – this helps to create lots of nice crunchy bits! Finally, lightly sprinkle the polenta over the top of the pie.
- Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. You want the top to be golden and crunchy, and the sauce to be bubbling up at the sides!
- To make this fish pie nut free, switch the almond milk to another plant based milk. Choose one with a mild taste; if I don’t use almond then I tend to use oat milk.
- If you have mustard allergy this can be left out. You may want to add a little salt instead.
- I tend to buy a fish pix mix as it makes life much easier. However, the smoked fish is relatively high in salt, so for babies you can either choose a mix without any smoked fish, make up your own mix, or simply ensure their portion only includes the white fish and salmon when serving.
- This dish is ideal for batch cooking and freezing. I often make two pies at once, and put one in the freezer. To freeze, I fully cook the pie then let it cool, cover and put in the freezer. To reheat, I defrost overnight and then cook in a preheated oven at 200ºc / 180ºc fan for 30 to 40 minutes. You can cover with foil to ensure the top does not get burned, as it will already be quite crispy. If you want it to crisp up a bit more, You can remove the foil 10 minutes before the end. Always ensure the centre of the pie is piping hot before serving.
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