Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sundried Tomato and Spinach Quiche

QuicheThe first time I ever had quiche was at a fireside chat with the Dean of the American Film Institute when I was a grad student there.  College days for me usually started late and ended late so when I showed up without having had breakfast, I was so happy to see a spread laid out.  The veggie friendly buffet was made up of fresh fruit, muffins, croissants, and a cheddar broccoli quiche.  Maybe it was the coffee overload or the surprise of being fed when I thought I’d have to wait two hours before I could grab a bite but my first taste of quiche was divine.  Fast forward to today, and this vegan girl won’t let any eggs or cow cheese pass her lips.  The need for a plant based quiche was suddenly in demand.  Not just any quiche would do.  Oh, no.  I wanted that quiche in my memory.  I wanted the cheesy fluffy quiche without the egg and without the cheese.  What’s a girl to do?  About a year ago, I experimented with a soy free, gluten free quiche that I made for my sister.  It was good but unless it's really freakin’ good, it doesn’t make the blog.  Grab your pencil and your notecards because this recipe is one you’ll want to keep around for generations!  This baby uses tofu instead of eggs and for a little dash of guaranteed yum factor, I’ve added some Daiya* cheddar to it.  Can you really go wrong with tofu and Daiya?  I say no way!!  Usually, I shy away from soy.  Not to say that soy is bad but I know that it is not the easiest on the digestive system and soy has a tendency to slow me down after I eat it.  Limit but not eliminate.  That’s my motto and since I’ve been so good lately about having two raw meals a day, I decided that a little splurge was deserved.  Leave it to us crazy vegans to call a healthy, plant-based quiche a splurge!!  Well, life is what you make of it and splurge I did!! 
This recipe includes a homemade and incredibly quick crust but you can also use a store bought pre-made version.  My crust is made with whole wheat flour and coconut oil and is incredibly light and flaky.  It works wonderfully as a pie crust so if you wish to make pie, just double the recipe.  The beauty of a quiche recipe (just like a soup or stir-fry recipe) is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.  I had a huge container of spinach and a large jar of sundried tomatoes so I knew they would pair beautifully together.  Part of the ease of a vegan lifestyle is being able to throw in fresh and local produce to a recipe that is a blueprint for your dish.  Once you know the basics, then experiment with different pairings and flavors to create something new and fresh.
* Daiya is a brand of vegan cheeses that are made using tapioca starch instead of soy, rice, or nut.  It is completely meltable and is great in dishes which call for meltable cheeses i.e. pizza, mac n’ cheese, quesadilla, or even as a garnish such as for tacos, soups, or chili.  You can buy it at most grocery stores especially Whole Foods, Sprouts, Central Market or other health/vegan specialty stores.  You cannot get it at Trader Joes, Vons, or Albertsons (as far as I know). 

Ingredients:
- 1 Quick Vegan Pie Dough/Crust
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small tomato, sliced thinly (this will go on top of the quiche for decoration)
- 1 pound firm tofu, pressed and patted dry
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup vegan cheddar shreds (I used Daiya)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup almond milk
 
Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Drain your tofu and wrap in a kitchen towel.  Set something heavy on it to drain the excess water.  Leave the tofu to press while preparing the other ingredients.
3. In a medium sized skillet, add olive oil and bring to medium heat.  Then add the onion, zucchini, and sundried tomato until cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the spinach and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the spinach is slightly wilted.
4. In a food processor using the S blade, add the tofu, nutmeg, turmeric, salt, pepper and almond milk.  Blend until smooth.
5.  In a medium sized bowl, add the veggies, tofu blend, and vegan cheddar shreds.  Stir the mixture together and add pepper to taste.
6.  Pour your tofu mixture into the pie crust.   Decorate the top with thin slices of tomato (optional but so worth it).  Bake for 30 minutes.  Is it done?  Test by inserting a knife into the middle.  If it comes out clean, it is done. Serve warm with a simple side salad for an incredible meal anytime.  You can also eat it cold or at room temperature for a packed lunch or picnic.  Will keep for a few days covered in the refrigerator. Plated quiche







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