I’m supremely eager to post about Johnny Cake, Red Bean Stew, Mise en Place versus mess, and consumer responsibility with a somewhat thin wallet. But I promised to post about quiche quickly, so here I go.
I’ve always loved a breakfast or dinner pie. Hearty, savoury, and heavy on the pastry. Vegan quiche, much like any other quiche, fits the bill, and has the benefit of being cholesterol free (or much closer to it), and easier to season, since the raw filling–traditionally made with tofu blended until it is smooth, almost fluffy–is entirely safe to taste.
Veganomicon’s authors comment (maybe a little snidely) that “We really wanted to make a vegan quiche that didn’t include tofu or nutritional yeast because every vegan cookbook in the world has one of those.” Eh. Well, I really can’t hate on these highly experienced and really quite creative vegan culinary specialists, since they’ve produced some amazing recipes, and others that are definitely unique, like the Asparagus Quiche with Tomatoes and Tarragon.
I did find their quiche–walnuts, beans, and breadcrumbs form the based–had a yummy texture that I’d like to work with again. I also found that I really didn’t enjoy the slightly soapy flavour of tarragon, which was sadly distributed heavily throughout the quiche, to the tune of a strongly flavoured 1/4 cup. Tarragon, if you’ve never tried it, is compared by some to fennel and anise. Others (mostly people who actually enjoy tarragon, and can thus be bothered to be extra snooty about it) swear it has no such similarities, and is entirely its own special pleasure.
Veering gently back towards the subject at hand, as common as the tofu and nutritional yeast-based quiche is, it’s a classic for good reason. It’s quick, inexpensive, and tasty. It’s also great for folks who think they don’t like tofu, because it’s well seasoned and well blended, so the end result is in no way reminiscent of a block of soy curd. Much the same way that standard quiche doesn’t usually conjure up the experience of sucking on an uncracked egg.
Classic Vegan Quiche
Basic Flaky Pie Crust –from Sarah Kramer’s Vegan A Go-Go! (I abbreviated the instructions.)
1 1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat; you should, too)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance (the recipe called for vegetable shortening…I would never recommend using anything hydrogenated though)
3 tbsp very cold water
Combine flour and salt, and gently rub in Earth Balance. Stir in water, and, on a lightly floured surface, quickly knead a few times. Roll into a ball and refrigerate for half an hour before rolling out and using.
Vegan Quiche Base
350 g firm tofu (about 2 cups), gently squeezed to remove excess water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for cooking and drizzling
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 small to medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups raw broccoli, chopped
1/2 a red pepper
1/2 cup Daiya shreds (optional…and yes, I know this isn’t a veggie, but it’s added at the same time)
1. Make the pastry (instructions above) and allow to chill for a half hour. Which, incidentally, is enough time to prep the base and veggies, and preheat the oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
3. Combine base ingredients (tofu through nutritional yeast) in a food processor, until smooth.
4. Cook onion in a little oil, until translucent. Add garlic and red pepper continue to cook another minute. Add broccoli and cook another two minutes.
5. Roll pastry out, and place in a pie pan or round glass dish.
6. In a large bowl, mix veggies into quiche base. Add Daiya shreds, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
7. Place filling into pastry, smooth out top, and gently drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over top. This helps give a nice golden finish to the quiche as it bakes.
8. Bake until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean–about 30 minutes.