Healthy pea pies with wholemeal flour

Qassatat tal-Pizelli – Malta’s Tastiest Pea Pies

Here in Malta, we love our food, big time! In spite of being a small country with a population of less than half a million, we’ve got an abundance of national dishes and traditional Maltese recipes. What makes qassatat and pastizzi slightly different to the rest of the Maltese foods is the fact that they’re accessible absolutely everywhere. 

You can find these snacks in little shops called ‘Pastizzeriji’, located in every village. These shops sell a number of snacks including sausage rolls, pizza squares, arancini, and of course, these delectable pies. Just to give you an idea of how popular Pastizzeriji are, there are 3 of them within a 100m of my house! 

Healthy qassatat tal-pizelli (Maltese pea pies)

Although pastizzi are arguably Malta’s most famous food, I much prefer qassatat tal-Pizelli personally. So what’s the difference between the two? Pastizzi are crunchy, diamond-shaped, savoury pastries. They’re made with puff pastry, and typically filled with either ricotta (irkotta) or a mushy pea paste (pizelli). Qassatat, on the other hand, are made with shortcrust pastry and shaped into little pie baskets. The qassatat fillings are the same as pastizzi. You’ll typically find these filled with ricotta, peas, or spinach and anchovies.

In traditional Maltese cooking, the qassata recipe uses white all-purpose flour and trans-fat packed margarine. This naturally makes Maltese pea pies a nutritionally void calorie bomb. Not exactly the best food to fuel your body with.

Yet no one can deny just how mouth watering these pea pies are! And since they’re such a staple of Maltese cuisine, I had to give them a healthy makeover. I just love to enjoy a Qassata with my afternoon tea, especially if it’s guilt free!  This Qassatat recipe is perfect as the ultimate healthy snack that is filling, chock full of protein and also suitable for vegans. What’s not to love?

Close up photo of the Qassatat tal-pizelli

So what on earth is inside these pies? Two things, a healthy pie crust and a nutritious pea filling 🙂

How to make healthy pie crust

What makes pie crust unhealthy in the first place is white flour and margarine. White flour is stripped off the parts highest in fiber and nutrients. It is highly refined and chemically treated to improve the elasticity of the dough. Additionally, margarine is packed with trans fats which lower the levels of good cholesterol in your blood, and increase the levels of bad cholesterol. This increases your risk of heart disease. 

Pie crust can still be scrumptiously crunchy and yummy without these nasty ingredients. I replace the nutritionally void white flour with a blend of oat, wholemeal and almond flour. This flour mixture presents a nutritionally balanced option with plenty of protein fiber and good carbs. The next substitution is swapping margarine for a mix of extra virgin olive oil and dairy free yogurt.  Olive oil has numerous benefits and is a heart-healthy option for this vegan pie crust recipe.

This crust couldn’t be easier to make, you just chuck all the dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse. Then you add all the wet ingredients and pulse a bit more. You kneed it in a large bowl to form a dough, adding some plant milk to improve elasticity and you’re good to go.  

A plate of Vegan Qassatat tal-Pizelli on a wooden table

The pie filling is just as easy and follows a similar process. Just process peas, olive oil, salt and spices until smooth, and your filling is ready. 

These delightful qassatat are bursting with rich flavour. They’re dense in nutritional ingredients and packed with stuff that keeps you well-nourished and healthy. Since the flour blend used in this recipe is wholemeal, these pies will not be identical to the traditional version in terms of colour – just think of them as sun-tanned modern twist on the classic.

You just need to bake the pies for around 25 minutes and you’ve got yourself a divine healthy pea pie to devour with your afternoon tea.

Can you freeze pea pies (Qassatat)?

Yes! These pies are also freezer-friendly, so you can make a large batch to have snacks for whenever hunger hits. 

Have you already tasted Maltese qassatat before? Let me know what you think of them in the comments section!

Healthy qassatat tal-pizelli (Maltese pea pies)

Healthy Qassatat tal-Pizelli

Geraldine Bartolo
These vibrant Pea Pies are one of Malta's staple foods, typically sold from shops called 'Pastizzeria'. This recipe is a healthy and vegan version of the traditional Maltese.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Maltese, Mediterranean
Servings 8 mini pies
Calories 348 kcal


  • Food Processor
  • Rolling Pin


Pastry Ingredients

  • 110 g Oat Flour
  • 60 g Almond Flour
  • 200 g Wholemeal Flour or gluten free flour blend
  • 15 g Chia Seeds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 100 g Soy-based Yogurt
  • 40 g Light Soya Cream
  • Dairy free milk if needed

Filling Ingredients

  • 800 g Peas
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Curry
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil


Prepare the filling

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until a creamy texture is achieved.

Prepare the pastry

  • Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer or food processer and pulse until well blended.
  • Add in olive oil, yogurt & cream & pulse.
  • Transfer ingredients to a bowl and kneed until a dough is formed. If the dough is not very elastic, add some milk until it’s easy to roll out.
  • Roll out dough und cut 8 round circles the size of a regular cereal bowl.
  • Place one heavy tablespoon of filling into each circle.
  • Fold the edges towards the centre to form pleats all around.
  • Bake for around 25 minutes at 180 degrees until golden brown.


If you use My Fitness Pal to log your food, you can find this recipe listed on the database as ‘The Healthy Malteser Qassata tal-Pizelli’ .

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