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I’ve had grain salads on the brain lately, and I’ve been trying to come up with a jazzy new quinoa salad to share with you all. Greek style quinoa salad? Quinoa salad with grilled veggies? Quinoa fruit salad for breakfast? I dunno, it isn’t coming to me. But! While I was trying to brainstorm quinoa salads something else popped into my mind and went from idea to reality and into my mouth over the course of an afternoon. Quinoa crusted mini quiches!

Grammatical question; is quiches a word? Or is quiche one of those things where the plural is the same as the singular? I’m going with quiches. These quiches, in any case, are the kind of thing that I thought would be perfect for summer picnicking. They’re easily portable, and they’re good served hot, cold, or at room temperature. They’re also cute enough to be tea party food if that’s how you roll, or stable enough to jostle around in your bag along side a salad for a packed lunch.

The concept for these quinoa crusts is similar to this brown rice crusted tart. It’s best made with quinoa that is a little on the dryer side, even a day or so old. Maybe you make a big old batch of quinoa for this salad or these crackers, and you make a little extra to set aside for your crusts. I love cooking that way; one big pot of grains for several dishes. Remember that cooked grains freeze well too, I often cook a big batch and then freeze one or two cup portions for quick easy cooking later.

One year ago: Springtime Fried Wild Rice 

Quinoa Crusted Mini Quiches Recipe:

Here I’ve used in-season asparagus and Gruyere cheese, but you could dream up countless flavour combinations for your quiches. Parchment muffin liners are useful here, maybe even essential. I didn’t want to gamble on trying to remove the quiches from the muffin tins without them. Depending on how thick you make your crusts, you may end up with leftovers. You can make more custard and make more quiches, or, as I did, just bake up the crusts on their own and eat them for a snack.

Makes 12 mini quiches.

Recipe from The Muffin Myth

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For the crusts:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

2 beaten eggs

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Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with parchment muffin liners. In a large bowl mix together cooked quinoa, eggs, and cheese. Drop 2 Tbsp of quinoa crust mixture into each muffin tin (I used 2 scoops from a #70 cookie scoop, which measured 1 Tbsp per scoop, in each liner) and then use the back of a spoon to press the mixture down and flatten the top of each crust. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the crusts have set. Remove from the oven to cool slightly, but leave the oven on.

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For the quiches:

12 asparagus spears, chopped into bite sized pieces, tips reserved for topping

2 Tbsp chopped chives

6 eggs

3/4 cup plain yoghurt

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

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Whisk the eggs, yoghurt, and chives together. Distribute chopped asparagus over the slightly cooled quinoa crusts, reserving the tips for topping. Evenly distribute the custard over the 12 bases, filling each muffin liner nearly to the top. Set in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the egg has just started to set.

Remove the quiches from the oven, sprinkle the top of each quiche with shredded cheese, and place one asparagus tip carefully in the center of each quiche. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until quiches are puffed and golden. You may want to turn on the broiler for a minute if you like the cheese to get brown a bubbly on top.

Serve hot, room temperature or cold.

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Do ahead: cooked quiches will last for 2-3 days in an air tight container in the fridge. Bases can be made in advance and frozen, but don’t freeze cooked quiches, the egg doesn’t thaw well.

Know what you’re eating: what’s good about this? Asparagus  is a great source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B2, and B3. Asparagus also contains a good amount of phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, vitamin E, and manganese. All that goodness? Who cares if it makes your pee smell funny! Eggs are an amazing source of high quality protein, vitamin B12, choline (important for your brain), carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Eggs are satiating; a study found that those eating  a low fat diet which included 2 eggs a day for breakfast lost nearly *twice* as much weight as those eating a bagel breakfast with the same calories and mass, with no increase in blood cholesterol levels. Quinoa not only has a very high protein content (about 18%), but it also contains a complete set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron. Yoghurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, and protein, to name a few. The live bacterial culture is very beneficial for digestive health, however, the heat of baking will destroy that benefit in this case.

This recipe contains a total of 1 cup of shredded cheese, distributed over 12 mini quiches, which equals a moderate 1.5 Tbsp of shredded cheese per quiche. Yoghurt (I used 3.5% Turkish yoghurt) replaces heavy cream which is so often used in quiche. We’re doing a good job of moderating here!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012

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