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I love quiche. 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 I bought from Costco calls my name. And one of the best ways to use it up is with a quinoa crusted quiche.
Why, you may ask, do I happen to have said gigantic quinoa package still mostly full of unused quinoa? 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 the quinoa’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. 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.
It’s the kind of treat I associate with going to a hippie cafe somewhere out west, or in Ann Arbor, and a great addition to a leisurely brunch—particularly if you’re planning a virtual weekend in some sunny haven in, say, California or Oregon or….wherever. Hippies lived everywhere, didn’t they?
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 crusted quiche.
To make the quinoa crust, remember that that weird quinoa flavor needs a little camo. At the very least, cook the quinoa with salt (or the no-salt sub of your choice), preferably in broth rather than water. Once all the liquid’s cooked in—and do make sure the quinoa’s not wet at all—and the quinoa’s cooled, add an egg. Add even more flavor with a big 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, keeping it even on the bottom of the pan and nicely rising on the sides.
Then bake, and voila. Your quinoa crust is about to become a quinoa crust quiche.
Really, whatever you have on hand will work great for the filling. For the finished version in the top picture, it was leeks, dandelion greens, kale, and asparagus. With asparagus, by the way, I follow the advice of old school cookbooks and peel the stems; you don’t have to, of course, but I just like them better that way. For the one below, it was mushrooms and broccoli. Sauté your veggies, and put them in the crust. Then mix the eggs and ricotta (or whatever) and pour it over the top. The speckled in the egg mixture are from my high end mustard. So swanky!
Bake it in the oven, and….voila! A gorgeous, healthy, yummy Quinoa Crusted Quiche is ready to head to your table. Enjoy.