Curried Lentil Hand Pies

handpie1These Curried Lentil Hand Pies, with their crispy, crackling, golden crust and creamy, meaty, spicy lentil filling, are all about healthy comfort. And if you thought that term was an oxymoron, well, you’d better think again.

You know I’m always looking for easy recipes I can make on a weeknight and brown bag to work the next day. With this recipe, I not only found ease and convenience, but also kid-friendly, indulgent, and downright decadent. In fact, try this in your lunchbox and then come back and tell me how you — or your kid — couldn’t wait all morning for lunchtime.

Curried Lentil Hand PieTo make my Curried Lentil Hand Pies easy and foolproof, I used phyllo dough. Phyllo, used to make baklava and spanakopita and all of those decadent Middle Eastern pastries, is usually fat-free and makes a crispy crust each time, guaranteed. If you’re someone who has balked from using phyllo, this is the perfect recipe to break free of that fear. Despite all the instructions that go into using phyllo, it really is rather easy to handle because it is  forgiving of small mistakes. Tore a sheet? Don’t worry, just patch it and move right on to layer it with another one.  No one will know the difference.

To stuff into the phyllo, I made an incredibly delicious and healthy lentil and vegetable stuffing with some Indian flair. The stuffing  comes together in 30 minutes, and then you need another 15-30 minutes, depending on your expertise, to make the pies. Bung them into the oven for 25 minutes, and you have delicious hand pies that, underneath their elegant look, pack more than 13 grams of protein and nearly 15 grams of fiber each. Whoa!

So what’s stopping you?

Curried Lentil Hand Pie

5.0 from 4 reviews
Curried Lentil Hand Pies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 5
  • 15 phyllo pastry sheets, 9 inches wide by 14 inches long. If you can only get the 9 by 28 inch size, don't worry. Just cut the sheets in half and use. Thaw the phyllo before use.
  • Oil for spraying
  • 1 cup brown lentils (whole masoor). You can also use French puy lentils for a variation.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Make the filling by heating the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and saute until they soften and start turning lightly golden.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and saute a few more seconds.
  3. Add the coriander powder, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add the tomato and cook for about two to three minutes or until the tomato breaks down.
  5. Add the carrots and green bell pepper. Stir to mix, cover, and cook about five minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  6. Add the lentils and stir to mix.
  7. Add two cups of water or enough to barely cover the lentils.
  8. Bring the lentils to a boil, cover with a lid, and let the mixture cook about 25 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Let any excess moisture evaporate. You want the filling to be very dry.
  9. Add salt to taste and stir in the coriander leaves and spring onions, if using.
  10. Set aside to cool.
  11. To assemble the pies, unroll the thawed phyllo sheets and cover them with a damp towel.
  12. On a flat surface, place one sheet and spray lightly with oil. Layer with another sheet, spray lightly with oil, then repeat for a third sheet.
  13. Now cut the phyllo crosswise down the middle and stack the sheets on top of one another so you have six layers.
  14. Place one-fifth of the filling in the center of the phyllo sheets, fold in the long sides first, press down to seal, brushing on some water along the edge if needed. Then fold in the shorter sides to make a packet.
  15. Place seam side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Spray some oil over the top, for a prettier look.
  16. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and filling until you get five pies.
  17. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  18. Bake the hand pies for 25 minutes or until they are golden-brown on top.
  19. Remove the hand pies, transfer to a rack to cool, and serve either warm or cold.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 278 Fiber: 14.7 grams Protein: 13.4 grams

Curried Lentil Hand Pie**

For another pie recipe with Indian flavors, check out my Tikka Masala Pot Pie, a perennial favorite in our home.

Tikka Masala Pot Pie

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  1. says

    Oh I can imagine how u must’ve waited for lunch time! Those parcels look so so good.
    These can be versatile! any dry-ish filling will work here. mmm-mm-mmm!
    I used to be scared of handling phyllo sheets, they are so delicate, and had this thing in my mind, if I tear it (which is inevitable) I have to trash that sheet. I stayed away for a while because of these silly ideas 😉
    I’m glad I have overcome those silly notions.

    • says

      Hi Pallavi, I used to be intimidated by phyllo too– it’s so delicate, it’s only natural to be a little afraid. And yes, any dryish filling would work!

  2. Merri-An Bastin says

    Holy Cow Vaishali! Haven’t been visiting lately and was so surprised by your new look pages. It looks FANtastic, and of course all your food is gorgeous. Congratulations!

  3. Roxy says

    I just made these for dinner. They are AMAZING! Thank you soo much! Your recipes are absolutely delicious. I’m so glad my husband showed me your website. I can’t wait to try more!

  4. Donna Schaffer says

    Hi Vaishali,
    I just made these hand pies and they are Fabulous!! thanks for all the great recipes!!

  5. Tanya says

    I made these today and they are outstanding.
    I added a diced potato with the carrot and used 2 long green chillies instead of the bell pepper.
    What beautiful flavours – The spices are perfect to my boyfriend’s and my tastes (which is rare).
    Thank you Vaishali!! :)

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