A slice of quiche packed for lunch in our Bariatric Bento Box
I often eat quiche – it’s versatile, easy to prepare and stores well. It also lends itself to so many meal occasions – main meal, light lunch, supper, picnic and alfresco dining alike. What I have always done post-op is to avoid the pastry crust – the processed carbs being off-limits for me. The high saturated fat and simple carbs always proved a poor choice and so you could often find the remnants on the side of my plate as I would simply just eat the centre. As a way around this waste I think I came up with many a delicious crust-less quiche variation, but, truth be known, one of the reasons I liked quiche or flan in the past, was for the crust! Sometimes it seemed like a poor substitute and compromise ….
Just recently I have been swept along by the new trend to use chick pea or garbanzo flour (sometimes called gram flour) in recipes with great success and it has been good for making pizza bases, waffles, muffins and the like – foods that have been until now tricky to negotiate on the nutritional front. The flour is high in protein and vitamins so a good new staple for me to play with. It therefore made sense to try using it to make a pastry-style crust for a quiche or flan. So I have rolled up my sleeves in the Bariatric Cookery Test Kitchen and developed what I think is a real recipe winner – a bariatric-friendly crust for a quiche!
The result is terrific and if I do declare myself every bit as good as a conventional pastry crust. I have used a combination of chick pea/garbanzo flour with ground almonds/almond flour and a splash or two of virgin olive oil to make a wonderfully nutty-tasting, gluten-free, pastry-like crust that crisps beautifully when baked. I’ve used it as you can see here to make a simple ham and cheese quiche with chives and tomatoes but you can use this basic recipe to make any number of variations: why not try cheese and spinach, smoked salmon and prawns/shrimp with asparagus, bacon with egg, a roasted vegetable selection, smoked haddock with dill, sausage or chicken with mushroom, pumpkin and feta, or courgette with salami? You’ll doubtless have your own family favourite combos to make a start.
It isn’t a low-fat alternative (which I am beginning to mistrust because of the added sugars so often added to make palatable) but the fats in its make-up are what I call ‘good fats’. It certainly doesn’t provide empty calories and is most satisfying, not a mournful mouthful.
You can use a cast-iron skillet or a metal flan dish or tart pan – all will give a crisp result, and the crust can be baked and refrigerated for up to 3 days before you add the filling and bake the quiche for convenience. It’s not a pastry that you can roll out – it needs pressing into the chosen pan, but cooks firm and doesn’t crumble when cutting to serve.
My recipe below is enough for a large quiche about 25 cm/10 inches in diameter which cuts into about 10 slices but you can reduce the quantities by one-third to make a 20-cm/8-inch quiche that will serve 6-8. Cooked quiche will also freeze well in an airtight container.
A slice of quiche served with salad on our Bariatric Portion Plate
HAM AND CHEESE QUICHE WITH A CRUST
For the crust:
175 g/1½ cups chick pea/garbanzo flour
150 g/1½ cups ground almonds/almond flour
¾ tsp baking powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp water
For the filling:
175 g/¾ cup cooked chopped ham
100 g/1 cup grated strong-tasting/mature hard cheese
6 eggs, beaten
175 ml/¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or skimmed milk
3 tbsp snipped fresh chives
baby tomatoes, halved to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas 6. Lightly grease a 25-cm/10-inch cast-iron skillet or loose-bottomed flan tin with a little oil or low-fat cooking spray.
- To make the crust, mix the chick pea/garbanzo flour with the ground almonds/almond flour, baking powder and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in the oil and, using your fingers, work the oil into the dry ingredients until the mixtuure is crumbly. Add 1-2 tbsp water and squeeze the dough together – if it still feels dry and doesn’t stick together then add a further 1 tbsp water to ensure it does. Turn into the skillet or flan tin and use your fingers to press it evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan or tin. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until it is dry to the touch and starting to firm up and turn a light brown colour. Reduce the oven temperature to 190 C/375 F/gas 5.
- Sprinkle the ham over the base of the crust and top with the cheese. Mix the eggs with the milk and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the ham and cheese mixture to cover then sprinkle with the chives. Top with halved tomatoes as liked and bake for 30-40 minutes until the quiche is golden, firm and set in the centre.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing to serve warm or allow to cool.
SERVES 10 (or cuts into 10 slices)
WLS PORTION: ½-¾
* suitable for Freezing
CALORIES PER PORTION: 249