Growing up, quiche was never part of our regular dinner rotation at home. If my mom couldn't cook it in a wok, it probably wasn't making it to the dinner table. And thank goodness she wasn't brave enough to try that. Yet, I still have some oddly vivid memories of quiche. I think it started in high-school, when I spent two years working part-time at a high-end tea store. My job actually involved describing which flavor of quiche paired best with the customer's tea selection…(I wish I could tell you that was a joke – it's not). I spent so much time talking about, prepping and serving quiche that at best my position on them was one of indifference.
That all changed in university, when I discovered Costco-sized packs of frozen pie crust. And let's not forget about those massive cartons of eggs. Very quickly, I became quiche obsessed. I would bake up multiple quiche and eat them throughout the week. Some days I would have a slice for breakfast, a slice for lunch and a slice for dinner. For a time- and cash-strapped student, it was perfect.
But as you might expect, my infatuation with quiche quickly died down after I moved on from my university days. Not only was I bored of consuming my body weight in frozen pastry and eggs, but now I was actually making some money! And as quickly as quiche had re-entered my life, it was now gone. But like any good romance movie, we obviously get back together. And that's the fun part! Recently, I've been playing around with gluten-free pie crusts. And, after having much success with a sweet version for my mom's birthday, I decided that a savory version should work as well.
Since you're probably up to your eyeballs with holiday meal planning, I figured I'd save you the hassle of a finicky roll-out crust. That's right, we're going to rock a delicious, savory press-in pie crust for this recipe. There's no flour, kneading or even rolling pins involved. How easy is that?! And not only is this savory crust faster and easier than your standard shell, but it's also a whole lot healthier. Just what we need to hear around the holidays, right?
The delicious savory crust is made from a combination of oat flour and sunflower seeds. Oats make for a lovely whole-grain alternative in gluten-free baking, and they're dirt cheap compared to buying other gluten free flours. I like to make my own homemade oat flour by simply giving whole oats a whirl in the food processor. It's so easy I bet you'll never consider buying oat flour again! The addition of sunflower seeds provides an extra level of flavor in the crust – especially because we give them a quick toast before baking. Toasting the seeds is a great way to bump up flavor, and also helps make them easier to digest. And digestion is important, because there's so much good stuff in these little seeds!
And, their naturally occurring oils help create a lightened up version of a standard pastry crust. Don't get me wrong, we'll still need extra fat to bring this crust together – but with the help of these little seeds, we won't need a whole stick of it.
The filling in this quiche is a combination I love. The leeks are classic, the thyme keeps things fresh and the goat cheese – well, does cheese ever need an explanation? I threw in some spinach at the last minute, and I'm glad I did because the color is stunning. The combination is satisfying, but doesn't leave you feeling weighed down. And funny enough, after all these years, I could still have this quiche for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you're familiar with quiche, you already know that it works well with all types of sides. When serving quiche for lunch or dinner, I like to throw together a simple arugula salad. The peppery notes of the arugula pair really well with this quiche. I didn't include a recipe for the arugula salad, because I always eyeball it – and spend all of 30 seconds putting it together. It usually goes like this: large handfuls of arugula, squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil, and several cracks of salt and pepper. But feel free to get creative and use whatever ingredients you have on hand. If you plan to eat the quiche for brunch instead, I'd imagine that some roasted potatoes would pair very nicely on the side. Store any extras in the fridge and re-heat the next day (or eat it cold – Anguel actually likes it better that way!).
Gluten Free Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche
Gluten Free Crust
- ½ cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 leeks, diced (white and light green parts only, 2½ to 3 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup milk (or non-dairy milk, see note 1)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled (about 6 tablespoons)
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Set aside 1 9-inch tart pan (see note 2).
- Toast seeds for Crust: Add sunflower seeds to a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes.
- Mix crust: Pulse oats in a food processor until crumbled. Add sunflower seeds and salt, process until the texture of sandy flour. Add butter, process until its the size of small peas. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in small increments of the water until a ball of dough comes together. The dough will feel sticky, this is normal. Wrap dough and pop it in the back of the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Start Filling: Meanwhile, add butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
- Bake crust: Use your fingertips to firmly press the chilled dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Prick the bottom crust with a fork (about 15 times), to let steam escape when baking. Bake until the crust looks dry and is starting to pick up pale color on the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Bake quiche: Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the leek mixture and goat cheese. Bake until the filling has set in the middle, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a baking rack, then slice and serve.
- Non-dairy milk option: You can use plant-milk instead of dairy milk, just make sure its unflavored and unsweetened.
- Tart pan: A nonstick tart pan with a removable bottom is recommended. If your pan doesn't have a removable bottom, lightly spray or grease it. For extra insurance, cut out a circle of parchment and place it inside the bottom of the pan.