Spinach Mushroom Tarragon Quiche/Kugel with Quinoa
Quiche of Kugel? I can’t really tell but it doesn’t really matter as this recipe tastes heavenly coupled with a glass of wine. Using beans and tofu as a velvety base, the quinoa pearls are beautifully balanced with the custard, spinach and mushrooms. Serve with a light salad, your favorite gravy or sauce and pour yourself a generous glass of vino, just like Julia would.
Real men eat quiche, and real mean are vegan. Perhaps we eat quiche with the pinky sticking out as a sign of cultural refinement in the same way we would sip an aged single malt scotch.
As an omnivore, I loved quiche as it would highlight my favorite vegetables. Whether broccoli, spinach, cauliflower,even fennel, it allowed me to feature them with great subtlety coupled with my herb du jour. As a vegan, I learned quickly how easy it is to recreate the texture and consistency with animal friendly ingredients.
Although we love to think of quiche (say it with puckered lips) as french, its origins are German. Kuchen, meaning cake, became quiche through a series of vernacular transformations. Kugel on the other hand is a noodle or potato casserole, a dish I was forced to learn to enjoy as a child,now adoring its nostalgic, historic and jew-esque down home country cooking dish.
So, when combining the two traditions with quinoa, I am not sure if I can call this a quiche (since it has quinoa) or kugel (since it does not have noodles or potatoes). A quigel? Kuche? Sounds like a disease or a private part near an erogenous zone.
So here is my concoction. Taking advantage of leftover quinoa and whatever I happen to have on hand I created this Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Quiche or Kugel. Start by pouring a glass of wine. It would be so Julia. So french. Ooh la la.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, any variety
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, more if you intend to drink
- 1 15 oz can canellini or northern white beans
- 1 box firm silken tofu (from the shelve, not refrigerated)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon tarragon
- 1/2 cup parsley
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- paprika for sprinkling
There is nothing sexier than caramelizing onions (although roasting garlic comes pretty darn close). So start by heating some olive oil on medium and tossing in the onions. Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring sporadically – meaning NOT consistency – to develop a rich gorgeous golden brown color that smells sweet.
Then add in the garlic, let it mingle before adding it the mushrooms. Cook for another 5 – 8 minutes until the mushrooms are mostly cooked.
Add in herbs, salt and pepper, and deglace with the white wine – if there is any left since you have been drinking – to dissolve any flavor bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add the spinach, wilt, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Process the beans with the nutritional yeast and cornstarch until a firm paste if formed. Add the tofu and season with salt and pepper.
Put all the ingredients, vegetables, bean-tofu mixture, bread crumbs, lemon juice and check for seasoning. Place in a casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika for color, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let it rest for about 20 minutes to the mixture hold together well. You may want to serve this with your favorite salad, perhaps gravy? Try this one.