“Okay, it needs to be something filling but it can’t have any nuts, dairy, soy, wheat, oats, or coconut in it. Also, it shouldn’t be too complicated, something easy for me to make, and quick, too, because I won’t have a lot of time; but it needs to look like it took some time, because, well, you know, I don’t want them to say anything snide. And it would be great if it could look pretty and elegant. Oh, and it should taste good, of course.”
I couldn’t help myself. As my friend’s rambling came to a halt, I laughed at her. “Well, I’m glad you’re not asking me for much,” I said.
My friend had just learned that she was expected to host her in-laws (parents-in-law and sister-in-law and her husband) for Mother’s Day, and unfortunately while my friend has many wonderful skills, she really does not like to cook – at all! Hence, the frantic SOS phone call to me.
Fortunately, I had a perfect solution to offer my friend: Quiche.
Quiche is a wonderful dish for company. It’s quick and easy to make, but looks elegant and is wonderfully tasty. You can also use up leftovers from your fridge to make it, and it’s incredibly versatile. You can adapt it for many food allergies, and you can even make it for folks who have egg allergies or are vegan, provided they have no soy allergies. As well, you can make up two, three or four different types in your oven at the same time, depending on the size of your oven.
Quiche Making Tips:
1. The crust: What’s lovely about quiche is that you can make a pie crust recipe of your own, you can purchase a ready-made crust, you can use a pre-made crust mix, or you can use the recipe I will provide below which doesn’t require any rolling at all and is adaptable to fit your allergy needs. I’ve even seen people use tortillas as the crust.
Crusts can be traditional with wheat, or they can be gluten free. Obviously, a ready-made crust is fastest, but even making one home-made doesn’t take very long at all. Like with pie-making, though, sometimes you will find that you need to cover the edges if you don’t want them to be too browned.
2. The filling: Quiche is lovely because you can put in whatever you want. Any type of meats, cheeses, and vegetables you have on hand will work in a quiche. What you should keep in mind, though, is that small, chopped up cooked pieces are best. Leftovers work well, because it’s already cooked, and you can just chop them up into bite size pieces.
If you’re starting from scratch, though, you can quickly saute chopped vegetables or meats in a few minutes. Make sure you cool them slightly, though, before adding the egg mixture. My favorite combination is spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, and chicken sausage, but you can make up any combination you can imagine.
You only need a cup or so of the filling to fit into your pie crust. How much filling to egg ratio you have, though, depends on what you like. The more filling, the less egg you’ll taste; the less filling, the more egg part you’ll taste.
3. The egg mixture: Quiche is essentially eggs mixed with cream or milk. The ratio between the eggs and the milk determines the texture of your quiche. For a 9 to 9.5 inch pie pan, you want to use the equivalent of three to four eggs. If you want a solid, sturdy, eggy quiche, you would use less milk, maybe about 1/2 cup. If you want a creamier, airier quiche, you would use more milk, like 1 cup.
Using cream versus milk makes for a richer quiche. Just about any type of milk or cream will work in quiche. I’ve used soy, flax and rice milk without any problems. I’ve also used soy and rice creamers.
You can also use egg whites to cut back on the cholesterol. Half liquid egg whites and half whole eggs works the best, but you can also use 3/4 cup liquid egg whites with just one whole egg.
If you can’t have eggs at all, tofu works wonders. Just blend up a block of tofu (I like the silken tofu) with the type of milk you prefer (2 tbsp to 1/4 cup) and mix your cooked filling ingredients and seasonings into it before pouring it into your crust.
How you make up your quiche with the egg mixture is versatile, too. You can put your cooked ingredients into the center of your crust and pour your egg mixture over the filling. Or you can mix your filling into the egg mixture and pour the entire thing into your crust. It depends on the texture and taste you want. For example, if I caramelize onions for a quiche, I like to layer that on the bottom of the crust and then add more layers of mushrooms or spinach or meat and pour my egg mixture over it, because then when I cut a bite of my quiche, I have the lovely layers to look at and the tastes to hit my tongue one at a time. However, if I’m using a chicken sausage and spinach, I prefer those tastes to be throughout my quiche, so I’ll mix them into the egg mixture before pouring the whole thing into the crust.
4. The seasonings: Quiche can be seasoned however you like. Italians herbs, Mexican spices, different types of cheeses, caramelized onions, minced garlic – whatever you want to experiment with works. I never use salt but I always use fresh ground black pepper and some combination of the afore- mentioned herbs and spices. What’s great is if you saute your vegetables or meats with your choice of herbs and spices and then adding some more to the egg mixture. The more flavor you can infuse into your quiche, the better. When I make my crust, I will often add crushed herbs and onion powder to it, as well. However, if you prefer things more on the mild side, simply using a little salt (if you aren’t going to use any other herbs and spices, you should use a pinch) and pepper is fine, too.
5. The baking: Cooking up a quiche is rather simple. Once your quiche is assembled, it’s like baking a pie. You choose what you want to do: Bake the entire thing at 350-375 for about 30-45 minutes (will vary, depending on our oven heat and the thickness of your filling and whether it’s a 9 in pan or a 9.5 or 10 in). Or you can first heat your oven to 425 degrees, cook the quiche for 10-15 minutes, and then turn the heat down to 325 for 15-30 minutes.
Easy Gluten Free, Dairy Free Vegetable Quiche Recipe
(This recipe can be adapted to use wheat and dairy if desired.)
(You can also use whatever filling you prefer instead of the option below.)
1 1/2 cup Garbanzo Bean flour
1/4 tsp ground onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup safflower oil
3 tbsp flax or soy milk
4 eggs (or 1/2 cup liquid egg whites mixed with 2 whole eggs)
1 cup flax or soy milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
10 oz thawed, chopped spinach
1/4 cup sauteed chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped cooked broccoli
1/8 cup chopped caramelized onions
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix the flour with the onion powder, salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano and pepper.
3. Whisk the safflower oil with the milk until it’s creamy. Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until a dough ball forms.
4. Press the crust into a 9 or 9.5 inch pie pan, using your clean hands to form an even crust along the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
5. Whisk the eggs with the milk, pepper and oregano. Set aside.
6. Combine the spinach, mushroom, broccoli and onions and arrange on the bottom of the crust.
7. Pour the egg mixture carefully over the filling and put the quiche into the center on the center rack.
8. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Bake for another 15-25 minutes. The quiche will be done when the center is slightly puffed and the egg is no longer runny. NOTE: When you reduce the heat, you may want to put aluminum foil around the edges of your crust to prevent too much browning. (My children like it toasty, so we dispense with that particular step, though.)