Whenever the weather improves and the sun starts to shine once more, there’s always one dish I yearn for – quiche. To me, its synonymous with picnics and tasty suppers with salad piled high on the side.
When I first changed to a whole-food plant-based diet, I thought quiche would be off the menu as it’s traditionally made with eggs, cream and cheese. All that dairy would put me in bed for weeks now! Fortunately, I discovered how to make a super tasty fully plant-based alternative a few years ago. I even demonstrated it on a Facebook live cooking session during lockdown – you can have a look at that here along with the full recipe.
That recipe is still a great one to follow, but sometimes pastry is a bit of faff or I just don’t fancy it. There is always my crustless quiche option, but I prefer those for picnics or lunch boxes, not a main meal. Recently, my mind started wondering what else could be used.
I wanted to have a crust that:
- formed a robust outer layer
- used minimally processed ingredients
- provided additional nutrients
- had a little crunchiness
After a little research on the internet, I came across a crust which used cooked quinoa. I wasn’t convinced it would have enough integrity support the quiche filling, but decided to give it a go. And too my surprise, it worked a treat!
Quinoa is a genius ingredient to include in a whole-food plant-based diet. It’s gluten free, full of fibre and plant-based protein and can be used as a meal accompaniment, stuffing or star of the show. I wrote about it during the International Year of Quinoa – 10 years ago now! You can find that article and a tasty salad recipe here.
The key to helping the quinoa stick to form a crust is to add my old favourite, ground flaxseed. Not only does it help bind ingredients together, but of course it comes with its own fibre and nutrients, including essential omega 3 fatty acids. You can find out more in my Fabulous Flaxseeds post.
As well as adding flaxseed, making sure the quinoa is well cooked also helps create a good sticking consistency. I suggest once it’s cooked and absorbed all the vegetable stock, leave the quinoa in the pan to cool with the lid on. This will continue to make the grain absorb any spare fluid. You want it slightly over cooked.
One very important piece of equipment you’ll need is a good quality non-stick loose bottomed tart tin like this one here. Without it, your crust will remain in the tin, not on your plate! If you’re not sure how easily your tin will release the quiche, give it a little wipe with some olive oil before pressing the quinoa into the base, particularly into the fluted edges.
I’m writing this bang in the middle of asparagus season, so of course this just has to use those tasty spears of loveliness! If it’s out of season, then use whichever veg is available in abundance, or just what you fancy.
I love a bit of sauce on the side of my quiche and salad, or at least a tasty salad dressing! Here’s one more link for you – a list of tasty dressings to tart up your salad. All with extra goodies that are good for your body as well as your tastebuds.
Finally, I always find quiche tastes better the day after you’ve made it, so it’s a good one to make if you’re cooking in advance for a busy night later in the week. It keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days. This recipe makes 4 large but not overwhelming portions; it can serve 6 people if you’re after a more modest amount. If you’re cooking for one, then halve the recipe and make in a smaller tart tin.
I hope you enjoy this tasty fully plant-based and gluten free quiche with a difference. Do let me know how you get on.
Asparagus quiche with quinoa crust
- Blender or food processor
- 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin
For the quinoa crust
- 150 grams quinoa colour of choice
- 400 ml vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
- black pepper
- extra water as needed
For the filling
- 1 medium leek washed, trimmed and shredded
- 8 spears of fresh asparagus
- 100 grams frozen peas defrosted
- 350 grams silken tofu
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- pinch kala namuk/Indian black salt if you have it
- salt and pepper to taste
Make the quinoa crust
- Pour the quinoa into a sieve and rinse under a running tap. Pour the veg stock into a small saucepan with a lid and bring to the boil.
- Add the quinoa to the boiling stock, pop on the lid and reduce the heat. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the stock is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for a while.
- Once the quinoa is cool enough to handle and is slightly sticky, add the ground flaxseed and stir well to combine. The mix should start sticking together when you press it between your fingers. Add 2-3 extra tablespoons of water if you need to make this happen. Season with black pepper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC
- Tip the quinoa mix into the tart tin. Spread out and press it into the base and the edges with your hands. This may take a few minutes to get it spread out equally and pressed into the corners.
- Carefully place the tart tin in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sides start to brown and the base feels firm to the touch.
Make the filling
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of water in the base of a medium-sized pan. Add the shredded leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the leeks are soft.
- Whilst the leeks are cooking, trim the ends of the asparagus stalks to remove any woody bits. Dice the stalks but leave the tips. Slice these in half lengthways and put to one side.
- Pop the chopped asparagus stems in the pan with the leeks and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the defrosted peas to the pan to warm through.
- Place the silken tofu, nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic granules, kala namuk, salt and pepper into a blender jug or processor bowl. Blend to combine, creating a smooth mix. Check the flavour and add more nutritional yeast, garlic, salt or pepper if required and blend again.
- Pour the tofu mix into the veggie pan and stir well to combine.
- Once the crust is cooked, carefully spoon in the veggie mix and make sure it's spread into all the corners. Arrange the asparagus tips on top.
- Place the quiche back into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the mix has set and is lightly brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool. If served warm, the quiche will be a little crumbly - once fully cooled in the fridge, it sets better and is less flaky.
- Once you're ready to eat the quiche, loosen the edges with a knife and carefully push the base up from the bottom. Leave the quiche on the base when serving.