Veggie quiche a quick, and (mostly) healthy weeknight treat

‘Basically a giant egg pie

Hi there, home cooks! After a few months off, it’s nice to be back with you and getting creative in the kitchen.

March is National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign led by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to get people thinking about informed food choices and forming sound eating and activity habits. This year’s theme is “Eat Right Bite by Bite,” and the academy website — eatright.org — offers a four-week plan to get you thinking the right way about healthy food.

Challenge accepted.

I don’t know what it is about quiche that I personally find kind of intimidating. There’s nothing particularly hard about the construction — as a good friend explained to his young daughter, “it’s basically a giant egg pie” — nor does it matter what you stuff them with. When you combine eggs, crust and a whole lot of cheese, the result is pretty much guaranteed to be delicious.

The question then becomes how do you make it healthy and the sort of meal even finicky palates will enjoy? It should come as no surprise to regular readers that I’m a huge fan of fresh produce. There’s very little in terms of fruits and veggies that I don’t like, and, to-date, almost nothing I won’t try.

Nutritionally, fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber while also being low in fat and calories, according to the American Heart Association. They’re critical for weight loss and help control your blood pressure. Plus, they taste delicious and when combined in a barrage of colors, they look gorgeous!

For this recipe, I grabbed some bright green kale, a deep purple (technically red, I suppose) onion, light-brown cremini mushrooms and a vibrantly red bell pepper, which we all know is a vegetable, even though science tells us it is technically a fruit.

Now, it’s not going to offend me if you don’t want to use one or more of these ingredients. Try swapping sweet yellow onions for the pungent purples, or replacing the pepper with chunked tomatoes. If you can’t stomach kale, why not swap it out for spinach, arugula or broccoli? Or if the idea of fungus makes you fuzzy, consider thinly sliced baby potatoes in place of mushrooms.

And of course, for the carnivores out there, it’s simple to add ham, turkey, sausage, bacon, flank steak … really any meat that you crave. Just make sure you either reduce the amount of egg in play accordingly, or bake it over a cookie sheet to catch the drippings.

My quiche came together in about an hour, including the time to clean the produce and bake the dish. Because it was a school night, I used a premade pie crust from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If you’re someone who has to make your own crust, plan to add roughly 15 minutes prep time; but, frankly, that’s totally unnecessary thanks to the quality of the prepared crust.

I’m not kidding, this quiche disappeared almost before I could take a picture. It really is that good.

regan.foster@southeastexpress.org

Veggie quiche
1 red bell pepper
½ small red onion
½ bunch green kale (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
½ pound cremini mushroom caps
8 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 premade pie crust
1½ tablespoon coconut or olive oil
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch pie pan with the prepared crust.

While oven is warming, wash the bell pepper, kale and mushrooms and allow them to drip dry in a colander.

Peel the onion and dice into ¼-inch pieces. Core and deseed the pepper, and slice into ½-inch pieces. Slice mushroom caps into ¼-inch thick pieces. Pull the kale leaves off of the stalk and tear into roughly 1-inch chunks.

Warm ½ tablespoon oil in a medium skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until oil spreads and starts to shimmer. Add about ⅓ of the onion and pepper chunks, and sauté until tender-crisp, about two minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and reduce until it forms a light glaze. Transfer the onions and peppers to the pie crust and spread them evenly across the bottom.

Repeat the process with the onions and mushrooms, and the onions and kale mixtures.

Once all vegetables are cooked, beat the eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper in a large bowl until very smooth and fully incorporated. Pour the scrambled eggs over the cooked vegetables and give the filling a good stir until everything is covered in egg.

Bake your quiche for 20 minutes until the filling is softly set up but still jiggly. At this point, smother the entire thing with shredded cheese of your choice.

Bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is totally melted and bubbly.

Remove quiche from the oven and allow it to rest for about five minutes to cool until it isn’t the temperature of molten lava. Serve with fresh bread and a salad of your choice.

— Recipe by Regan Foster

 

SHOPPING LIST

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1 Red Bell Pepper ….. $1.25
1 Red Onion ….. $1.00
1 Bunch Green Kale ….. $1.49
½ Pound Cremini Mushrooms ….. $2.25
1 Dozen Simple Truth Eggs ….. $2.71
1 Package Pillsbury® Pie Crusts ….. $3.49
1 8-oz Kroger-Brand Shredded Cheese ….. $2.50
1 16.9-oz jar Monari Federzoni Balsamic Vinegar of Modena ….. $3.99
1 14-oz Simple Truth Coconut Oil ….. $5.49
Tax (8.25 percent): ….. $1.99

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Total $26.19

**More recipes: Happy (healthful) holidaze **
** Grid iron grub **
Salad days **

 

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