quinoa crust quiche

I love quiche—or at least, the idea of it. I order it when I go out and it usually delivers my requirements: buttery crust, eggy goodness, cheesy decadence. But when I’m honest, I know that most of those buttery crusts that I’m paying other people to fill came straight out of a package. Meanwhile, I have a perfectly fine, infinitely healthier alternative on hand. That big old package of quinoa calls my name. And one of the best ways to use it up is with a quinoa crust quiche.

quinoa crust quiche

Jump to recipe.

Why, you may ask, do I happen to have said gigantic quinoa package? Well, I’m not trying to be mean, but quinoa tastes weird. I always detect this odd, sort of dusty undertaste. I know it’s not this package either, or that it’s old, or any other explanation. Nonetheless, its nutritional perks are impressive. Protein-rich, fiber-rich, chockful of vitamins and minerals—read all about quinoa’s specific health benefits here, and check out Jennifer’s terrific blog while you’re at it. Also in its favor, quinoa morphs easily as a substitute for all kinds of grains, particularly those that are already fragmented into small pieces like cracked wheat and couscous.

As a pie crust substitute, it’s super easy and SO much healthier that it’s worth a try. Just be forewarned: You are not making something that will taste like a pie crust. A quinoa-crust quiche does not flake with buttery goodness. Rather, it sits on the plate as a hearty earthy base for all the eggy-cheesy-veggie goodness you want to throw in it. These items I had on hand just begged to be added to a tasty quinoa crust quiche.

quinoa crust quiche likes veggies

(I just realized I’m writing as if I’m Kathy Najimy’s character in The Fisher King. Is she the one responsible for that thing where we add a y to the end of basically every single word? If so, huzzah to you, Kathy.)

So with the quinoa crust, you gotta remember that weird quinoa flavor that you want to camo just a tad. That means that, at the very least, you need to cook the quinoa with salt (or the no-salt sub of your choice), preferably in broth rather than water. Once all the water’s cooked in—and do make sure the quinoa’s not wet at all—and the quinoa’s cooled, add an egg. But you can add even more flavor by sauteeing and adding an onion, or lots of chopped herbs, including scallions, and—most decadent of all—a big old handful of your favorite grated cheese.

Now, simply place the mixture into a pie pan that you’ve sprayed with no-stick, or oiled, or buttered; up to you. I like to take a piece of wax paper and use that to press the quinoa into shape…

quinoa crust quiche: use parchment paper to press evenly

…keeping it even on the bottom of the pan and nicely rising on the sides.

quinoa crust quiche, the crust ready to pre-bake Then bake, and voila. Your quinoa crust is about to become a quinoa crust quiche. I used this recipe from Clean Eating as my jumping off point. When I originally posted this recipe, I had broccoli, kale, and a bunch of mushrooms on hand and quite happy to jump into the pan.

quinoa crust quiche gets filled with a mix of vegetables

This week, I did a Skype cooking session with a pal, and we both realized we could pretty much use any vegetable-ish substance. For me, that was leeks standing in for the onions, dandelion greens, kale, and asparagus; for the last, I followed the advice of a couple of vintage cookbooks and peeled the stems, making the asparagus a lot more palatable. The first go-round, I placed the veggie mix directly into the crust….

quinoa crust quiche, ready for the milk cheese mixture

…then topped with an egg and cheese mix…

quinoa crust quiche gets a layer of egg and cheese filling

…and  then more cheese. (This is actually kind of a modest amount, but I have some in the crust and also some feta mixed into the eggs. Go as wild as you like.) By the way, the speckles are from the mustard I used.

Quinoa crust quiche before going into the oven.

Here’s that one finished:

Yesterday, I separated the eggs, whipping the whites to soft peaks. I mixed the yolks and cheese with the cooked veggies, then folded in the whites. Then pour it into the crust. I actually prefer this one, so have amended the recipe below to include it.

quinoa quiche

There you have it. You’ve used up some of that sad wallflower quinoa (to use my buddy Jenny Englander’s term), and you’ve got a healthy meal you can pack up for a road trip or nosh on at your desk. Some cherry tomatoes sparkled up both the visual and flavor palates. Enjoy with your own seasonal variations throughout the year.

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Quinoa Crust Quiche: The Recipe

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Quinoa Crust Quiche
A great use for quinoa, this savory quinoa crust quiche incorporates the nutty grain to hold a delicious, veggie filling that's as cheesy as you like.
quinoa crust quiche
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Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes, divided
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes, divided
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
quinoa crust quiche
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Crust
  1. To make the crust, place the broth and quinoa in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the salt, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover without disturbing for 12 minutes. Turn off heat, lift the lid, and let the quinoa sit for a few minutes to ensure all liquid is absorbed or evaporated. If any liquid remains, drain the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and gently pat it dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375º. Beat the egg and 1/2 cup of cheese together in a bowl. (Save the other half!) Make sure the quinoa is warm, not hot, then add it to the mixture, stirring until well blended. Spray an 8-9 inch pie plate with non-stick spray, or oil or butter the pan. Pour the quinoa mixture into the pan. Using a piece of wax paper, baking parchment, or plastic, gently press the quinoa into place, so that it's flat on the bottom of the pan and ascends up the sides of the pan.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, then remove.
Filling
  1. While crust bakes, chop vegetables. Heat oil or butter in a large saucepan. Add sliced leeks or chopped onions and salt to taste. Saute approximately 5 minutes, then add mushrooms and a little more salt. Cook 3-4 minutes, until most mushroom liquid has cooked off, then add sherry. Add broccoli and kale, and cook 5-10 minutes, until green vegetables are tender.
  2. As vegetables cook, whisk eggs with ricotta/cream/half and half mixture and mustard. Add half of the remaining cheese (1/4 cup). Alternatively, whisk egg yolks with ingredients above. In separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add vegetables to yolk mixture first, then fold in egg whites.
  3. When vegetables are finished, either a) add them to the crust or b) stir them into the egg mixture (or use method above, which separates the eggs). If you've added the veggies to the crust, pour the egg mixture on top. If you've mixed everything together, pour that into the crust. Either way, sprinkle the remaining quarter cup of cheese on top.
  4. Bake 35 minutes. Allow quiche to stand approximately 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy.
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