Home made quiche is a classic, isn’t it? Growing up, it was a real weekend staple in our house: served warm with potato salad for Saturday lunch after dance classes, or eaten cold on picnics (which often ended up being car picnics, because this is England).
On seeing quiche as a brunch option in my favourite café of all time, it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen – let alone eaten – a quiche since I was about 15. What happened? Did this family favourite go the way of many other British staples in the early 2000s; swept away on the tide of exotic new ingredients like olives and hummus (!), that also brought us Cool Britannia? Well, whatever the reason, this Basil & Walnut Pesto Quiche is bringing it back.
Inspired by the reintroduction of quiche to the list of ‘meal items that are once again cool because they are delicious and always have been’, I started experimenting with different ways of creating a version using whole food ingredients, that would be both healthy and equally as tasty as the quiche of my childhood. Only without the egg, milk, cheese and pastry. Was it a challenge? Well, maybe a little one. But once I stopped trying to ‘match’ components like for like, and instead focussed on creating something completely original, I realised I had arrived at a quiche that is just great.
This Basil & Walnut Pesto Quiche is so vibrant and delicious with the flavours of springtime. Just look how green it is! How could you not feel great tucking into a slice of this savoury delight? The wonderful velvety-smooth texture of the pesto filling is fortified by chopped kale and olives, making this is a quiche that can hold its ground and give you a post-winter boost of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. And who can resist the juicy burst of a cherry tomato?
Do you remember the love I was sharing for the virtues of poppy seeds in my rhubarb crumble granola recipe? Well, I promised that I would share further experiments with this punchy little wonder-seed and this is just one of those occasions. I think they bring a delicious nuttiness, a hint of smokiness and depth of flavour to this otherwise green, light and bright dish – and they look great sprinkled all over the top with wild abandon.
I think you’ll like the use of potato slices instead of pastry, too. Not only does this change make for a healthier choice, but the finished result is a delightfully crisp, almost roasted sweetness, which works so well to contain and envelop the soft, dense filling.
But as well as tasting fabulous and fresh, this quiche is:
- so quick and simple to prepare, making this a great choice for relaxed family lunches and brunch gatherings alike;
- high in healthy mono-unsaturated fats from the avocado and walnuts, and low in the saturated fats found in dairy products that can raise cholesterol;
- a great source of vitamin E, found in walnuts and sunflower seeds, which can be beneficial for heart-health;
- full of powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from the iron and vitamin K found in kale, to the B vitamins in sunflower seeds (which also add a lovely crunch to the texture);
- a recipe that will really impress at a family occasion; and
- a bright, cheery celebration of springtime!
Making this recipe could also be a great opportunity for involving the mini chefs of your brood in the kitchen; let their imaginations run wild with the idea of a green pie, and encourage a creative flair with the decoration! Although I may not have had any little hands helping me with the creation of this dish, I did have a very keen photographer’s assistant…
So here’s the recipe for a real whole ingredient original; I hope you love it!
- 2 medium potatoes (about 300g)
- 70g walnuts
- 1 avocado
- 30g fresh basil (including stems)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 chia eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds combined with 5 tbsp water)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
- 10 black olives, pitted and chopped
- 80g kale, chopped, tough stems removed
- 15g fresh chives, chopped
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 6 asparagus spears
- 3-4 small tomatoes
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
- Make the chia eggs and set aside.
- Thinly slice the potatoes and add them to a pan of boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes, until just soft (be careful not to overcook them, you want the slices to remain intact). Drain and leave to cool in a colander.
- To make the pesto, begin by blitzing the walnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. To this, add the avocado, basil, garlic, chia eggs, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Process until you have a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the olives, kale, chives and sunflower seeds. Season with lots of black pepper.
- Next, coat a foil-lined cake tin or flan dish with the remaining olive oil and arrange the potato slices to form a crust. I start by covering the base, then cut a straight edge on the slices for the sides of the tin, to help them stand up more evenly.
- Pour in the quiche filling and press down evenly with a spoon.
- Arrange the asparagus spears and tomatoes as you wish, pressing down gently, and sprinkle the top with poppy seeds.
- Cook on a middle shelf for 40 minutes. Once cooked, leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin, so that the filling has a chance to set.
This post is part of Spring Break V, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media at #SpringBreakV. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here.