Mexpat Mama’s Jungle Cookbook: Vegetarian + GF Quinoa Crust Quiche

I woke up the other morning thinking about what was in my fridge and what I could make with it for meals this week. I hate wasting food, and I had some leftover cooked quinoa that no one was eating taking up space on the bottom shelf. I’m quite certain I’m the only one in my household that even knew it was there or worried about its fate. But I was determined not to throw it away. As I laid in bed, the idea of turning it into a crust for quiche felt like a stroke of brilliance. Or madness. Am I the only one that wakes up thinking about what’s in the fridge, worried over the fate of leftovers and inventing recipes? Please tell me that I’m not alone. Is it a sign that I have an unhealthy obsession with food, that I’m losing my mind, or that cooking is my calling? I’m not sure, but the quinoa crust quiche turned out delicious, so I want to share the recipe with you. Nut flour and cheese hold this crust together, making it really savory and satisfying – plus it’s gluten-free! I used a veggie filling, but you can put whatever you like in it. Let me know if you try it and add your suggestions for improvements in the comments below. Provecho!

Ingredients:

For the crust:
3 cups cooked quinoa (cooked in broth)
1 cup finely ground pecans
1 cup thinly shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten
1-2 pinches of salt

For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
8 eggs
A whole bag of fresh baby spinach (about 10 packed cups)
1 chopped red pepper
⅓ cup plain yogurt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp fine herbs (mix of thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, basil, and rosemary)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the crust first. Mix the cooked quinoa (best if cooked in a broth for added flavor) with finely chopped pecans (I chop mine in a mini-Cuisinart until they are almost like flour), grated cheese, egg, and salt, and mix everything with your hands until well combined and starting to stick together. 
  2. Drop spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture into an oiled or buttered-up pie pan and press it into the bottom and sides with your fingers until the entire pan is covered with about a ¼ inch layer of crust. 
  3. Bake for 20-25 min at 425oF until the edges start to get a bit golden. Remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Prepare your filling: Heat up oil in a skillet and saute the red peppers with all the spices. Add in spinach and saute until it’s wilted. Drain and cool in a colander. 
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the 8 eggs with the yogurt until well combined, then add the cheese and stir. 
  6. Add the pepper/spinach to the egg mixture, stir until well combined. 
  7. Slowly pour the mixture into your pie pan until it is almost level with the top of the pan.
  8. Put the pan on a foil-covered tray (in case it spills over while baking) and bake for 30-45 min at 425oF. 
  9. Check at 30 min and if the center is still runny after 30 min, give it 5 minutes more. Check again for runniness, and keep giving it 5 min more until the center is firm. It took my oven about 45 min to bake completely. I know all ovens work a bit differently and mine is not well insulated, so I kept a close watch. Also, keep an eye on the crust so the edges stay golden and don’t burn. 
  10. Cool for 10 min, slice, and enjoy!

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