Crustless Quinoa and Kale Quiche
Wait—before you box this dish into a category of food in your head that sounds something like, “really healthy and nutritious so I should probably make it but probably won’t actually because, you know, too healthy” consider the fact that its appeals might not just be in vitamins or calories (or the lack thereof) or a correct carb-fat-protein ratio. Consider the flavors, too: caramelized onions, the tang of sharp cheese, the slight crunch of quinoa. Ribbons of wilted and slightly bitter kale that offset the sweetness of the onions. Not so bad, right?
Then again, if the nutrition of this dish caused you to take a second glance at it and maybe even perhaps consider trying it out, then all the better. Because honestly, that’s why I lingered on the webpage I found it on over at Food 52 and it’s also why I promptly printed the recipe out to take home and make. Well, that and the fact that I had every required ingredient already in my fridge or pantry (always a plus).
Thing is, I know I’m not suppose to think like that. I should really only be interested in the complexities of the flavors, the combination of textures–you know, “foodie” things like that. And believe me, this dish delivers on all of that too. I was actually a bit surprised at just how good this thing ended up tasting. After it came out of the oven, golden brown and crispy around the edges from the white sharp cheddar cheese, I couldn’t help but slice a wedge of it to try out. And then I had another. I loved how each component of the “quiche” had a bold flavor but when all together, they create something of a mellow and perfectly balanced taste.
But it just doesn’t only come down to taste, because I know that on some level (more present in some than others), we care about just what we’re eating and exactly what types of things we’re putting in our bodies. So, just like how you can’t wholly attribute all of the goodness to this dish in the fact that it’s “healthy,” you can’t completely ignore the fact that when you’re eating it and it tastes delicious, somewhere inside you’re pleased with yourself for knocking off a couple of those daily requirements of vitamins, too. After I finished off the last slice of this quiche, I decided I would make it again–not just because of it’s taste or it’s nutrition, but because of some messy, dependent combination of the two.
(Just sayin’ though–next time I make this I might just cook up a couple strips of bacon to a crisp to add in. Not because there’s something missing in the flavor of it as is, but just because when it comes to that flavor-health trade-off, just try and guess at which one tends to overpower the other for me. Yeah, I’ll choose the bacon.)
Crustless Quinoa and Kale Quiche
Adapted from Food 52
Makes 8 slices
I replaced what the cream cheese the original recipe called for with feta, but feel free to experiment with different combinations of cheeses. Also, see bacon comment above. Yeah, next time it’s gonna happen.
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into thin bite-sized ribbons
1 vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese
4 ounces feta
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie dish. Set aside.
Combine the quinoa with 1 cup of water and a big pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about twenty minutes or until fully cooked. Keep covered and set aside when done.
While the quinoa is cooking, carmelize the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When hot (the oil should be shimmering), add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are completely softened and browned, about 10-12 minutes or so. Remove the onions from the pan and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add the ribboned kale into the hot pan used to cook the onions and cover with a lid. On medium heat, cook until the kale is slightly wilted and bright green, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow the greens to slightly cool. Squeeze out any extra liquid, if any, using a sieve or clean dish towel.
Add the kale, cooked quinoa, minced garlic, and cheeses to the onions in the mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients so that they are evenly combined.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until even and combined. Pour over the quinoa kale mixture and stir until everything is evenly distributed and the eggs cling to the greens. Add a little salt and a few cranks of freshly ground pepper.
Pour the mixture into prepared pan and cook in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until the top is darkly golden and the pie has started to slightly pull away from the sides of the pan. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled (my favorite).