Healthy Eating: Quiche — a creative way to use veggies hiding in your refrigerator

Tofu spinach quiche

I recognize that many people reading the “Healthy Eating” column are not vegetarian and do not enjoy eating tofu. But my offering today is a recipe that uses tofu–and you won’t even know it’s there! For about 25 years I was a vegetarian (not vegan), but during my treatment for cancer I became very anemic and needed to adjust my diet in order to heal. I recognized that eating animal proteins was a change that I had to make–even  if I did it reluctantly.  I believe that change is a good thing in many areas of life–my diet being one of them. Currently I lean toward a vegetarian diet, although I prepare animal proteins on a regular basis for the rest of my family. Quiche is one of the items that I enjoy making and eating. It’s delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a creative way to use up the veggies I have in my refrigerator.  Usually I make quiche with eggs and milk, but the version that I offer here is eggless, dairy-free and if you use the oil-based pie crust it is vegan as well. You can also make it gluten-free by using a substitute flour of your choice in the crust.

Feel free to use any vegetables that you have on hand. I chose mushrooms and spinach, but I love to make this recipe with other veggies, such as caramelized onions, roasted red pepper, kale, swiss chard, asparagus or broccoli. Whatever you have lurking in your refrigerator and need to use up, feel free to add it to your quiche.  This is a healthy, high-protein meal that you can make your own by using the vegetables that you love best.

Tofu-Spinach Quiche

1 Basic Pie Crust

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced onions
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
½ teaspoon salt
5 cups chopped fresh spinach (approximately 14 ounces spinach, loosely packed)
1/3 cup uncooked couscous
1 pound soft tofu, rinsed and rained
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon umeboshi paste  (optional)
3¾ teaspoons brown mustard
3¾ teaspoons cornstarch powder

Prepare Basic Pie Crust (See recipe below)

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onions for 3–5 minutes or until translucent. Add the mushrooms and salt and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add the spinach and cook until the greens are soft, adding small amounts at a time.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When greens are soft, stir in the couscous and turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, mix together the tofu, miso, umeboshi paste, mustard, and corn starch. Combine the tofu mixture with the greens mixture and mix together well. Stir in the almonds.

Place the combined mixture in the prepared pie shell and back for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5–10 minutes. Serve.

*Umeboshi paste is a Japanese condiment made from pickled and pureed ume (plum) fruit. It adds a wonderful flavor layer to this quiche.

Basic Pie Crust

This fine, flaky crust can be prepared very quickly.

Preparation time 10–15 minutes. Chilling time 30 minutes. Makes one 9-10 inch pie crust.

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into large cubes
¼ cup ice water
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together both flours and the salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the four mixture until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

In a small bowl, mix together the water and syrup and add to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork. (the dough should forma a ball and not be too sticky.) If too wet, add a sprinkling of flour. If too dry, sprinkle in a few more drops of water. (Do not overmix or the dough becomes tough.) Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to 1/8-inch thickness or less. Use immediately or place in a pie pan and freeze. (This pie crust can be frozen for 4–5 weeks.)

Basic Pie Crust (Non-Dairy)

Preparation time 10–15 minutes. Makes one 9–10 inch pie crust.

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
Pinch of salt
¼ cup canola oil*
¼ cup ice water

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together both flours and the salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and water until the oil forms small globules throughout the water. Immediately add the oil mixture to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness or less. Use immediately or cover and chill until ready to roll. (The dough can also be placed in a pie pan and frozen for later.)

*Substitute corn oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, or other plant-based flavorless oil you prefer.

—  By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at jaideborah@yahoo.com.

 

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