For the longest time, there was always a heap of leftover quinoa in my refrigerator. No matter how hard I tried to make it for family meals, it always managed to expand beyond my expectations, only to end up in the back behind the lettuce untouched for days until rediscovered and ushered out the door into the compost, noses crinkled in disgust.
Nowadays, though unfortunate when I consider all of the pie crusts that could have been, all of that’s behind me. Phew!
Quinoa is a versatile, nutrient-rich grain that packs a punch when flavored well and crisps up nicely in the oven. For savory crusts, when mixed with the fatty qualities of ground nuts, it’s an excellent alternative to standard pastry doughs. This is a godsend when you’re trying to avoid certain foods, whether long-term or short, without compromising on flavor or your ability to satisfy your cravings, and it gives you options for your leftovers. It’s a total win/win.
Personally, when I crave quiche, what I’m mostly craving is the crust paired with the savory softness of the filling, and if that filling isn’t full of delicious, it’s just not going to do the trick. The truth of the matter is that some days, all you want salt and crunch, and no amount of salad scratch that itch. This is one recipe fills that void for me. I hope it does the same for you.
Prep: about 30-40 minutes
Bake: between 45 minutes to an hour
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, ground
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
salt to taste
1 green bell pepper, roasted, skin removed, sliced into small squares
1 leek, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried currants
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup goat cheese (optional)
Set oven to 350.
1. For the crust: grind pumpkin seeds in a food processor or blender and mix with quinoa, spices, olive oil, and almond meal. Be sure to taste it to make sure it’s seasoned to preference. Take pie dish and lightly coat with olive oil. With your fingers, spread the mixture out by gently packing it down, working it up the edges of the dish, leaving it roughly 1/4 inch thick. Add a little more quinoa if necessary, then bake in dish uncovered for 20 minutes to ensure the crust is crisp on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Prep vegetables. Saute mushrooms and leek together with garlic and herbs.
3. Roast bell pepper on the stove until the skin is blackened, then place in a covered dish for approximately 10-15 minutes.
This makes it easier to brush off the skin, and leaves the pepper inside soft, with a distinctive roasted flavor that adds a delicious level of depth to the filling. Slice thinly into small squares.
4. Add currants and bell pepper when mushrooms have softened.
5. Beat 4-6 eggs and add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water.
6. After letting the pie crust cool for a few minutes, add the vegetable mixture, and if you so desire, sprinkle the top with a bit of soft chevre goat cheese or feta, or the vegan equivalent, then distribute the beat egg over the contents evenly.
7. Bake about 45 minutes, or until the center is firm and the top appears somewhat crispy.
Comfortably yields 8 servings. Cover and store in refrigerator safely up to 3 days.