Cleaning Up The Classics Part III: Quiche

And so it is with great excitement that I dive in to today’s post.

Quiche to me conjures up images of a myriad of picnic style lunches, either al fresco or gathered around the kitchen table at my parent’s house, table or blanket burgeoning with a smorgasbord of delights whilst the smell of warm pastry further tantalised already piqued taste buds.

Now the thing with a classic quiche is it’s not really what you’d call a ‘health food’, if we’re honest it is probably hanging out at the other end of the scale, but does that mean it’s off limits? Oh no my friends, it most certainly does not! There are a few, let’s say ‘hurdles’ to overcome however in giving this dish a bit of a brush up. The most obvious of these being the underlying gluten and dairy laden nature of the beast, and then once these are addressed how to actually make the resulting dish resemble the original rather than being something else entirely….?! Never one to shy away from a challenge however I feel the recipe I am sharing with you today ticks all those boxes (and then does a little loop dance back around and ticks them all over again!)

So I’m sure you are all wondering how I have performed this mastery. As always I will reply that I have simply looked towards ingredients that are naturally free of gluten and dairy with a few little flavour tricks to recreate this classic delight without sacrificing on taste in anyway.

Buckwheat and gluten free oats make for a wonderfully crisp pastry with that ever so slight sweetness that you would expect of a flaky, butter based version. For me the true star however is the tofu and that is not something I would usually say. This is where we must digress into a small but important side point and that is the question of whether we should be eating soy or not.

There are two big considerations when it comes to soy and soy based products the first being that of genetic modification. 91% of soy crops are now genetically modified, not for nutritional reasons, but rather for economic ones due to the pressure of massive scale agribusiness. It is not that consuming genetically modified soybeans has been linked to specific health concerns (as yet) but personally I would always advise against the consumption of such products as the basis of this science is to alter the genetic code of organisms. Ultimately this then takes them away from their natural state which is what we’re always striving towards with a naturopathic approach. I would therefore always advocate the use of organic tofu as one of the stipulations of this classification is that no part of the product is GM.

The second consideration is the level of processing when it comes to soy based products. Soybeans (AKA edamame beans) are great, rich in plant based proteins and other wonderful things. The thing is they aren’t really designed to be cheese, milk or yoghurt…..if I offered you a nice creamy lentil based fromage frais I think I might be turned down quite quickly! In order to make these products there is a lot of mucking about with the original, so again we’re stepping into the territory of a less than familiar foodie friend. To make them palatable there is also usually the addition of sugar, oils or chemical stabilisers and sweeteners so my advice is enjoy your organic tofu but generally steer clear of the other bits. For vegetarians and vegans soy is a valuable protein source but ideally I would suggest it play second fiddle to other forms such as pulses and legumes. Also although I am playing with tofu today the fermented form, tempeh, is a better if it is to be included on a more regular basis.

Right swerving back to where we started, we’ve got our crisp pastry, silkily smooth filling smattered with lovely veggies and finally there’s the all important sundried tomato layer. Strangely enough that single element, the striking red line dividing crust from filling, is integral to me in doing this recreation justice. What can I say, each to their own!

If you haven’t experimented with tofu before I thoroughly suggest this be your starting point as vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike have all given it the thumbs up. When paired with a beautifully crisp salad those images of a sunny Sunday spent with friends and family can’t help but come flooding on back. My taste buds are already tingling…..

Vegan Broccoli, Spinach & Sundried Tomato Quiche