Quiche used to be one of my favourite lunches. When I attended elementary school, my mom would send me off with Tupperware containers full of mini ham quiches. She’d buy frozen, single-serving tart crusts (probably at Costco) already shaped around tinfoil molds, so all that was needed was to fill them with eggs and other fillings, and bake them… then voila: quiche! My fond memories of quiche most likely are due to my love of eggs. In all honesty, as a vegan of 7+ years, eggs are the only food I miss some times. I loved eating big plates of scrambled eggs with soy or oyster sauce, boiled eggs on their own, salted eggs over easy on buttered toast for a “nutritious” breakfast, and quiche. While there are vegan alternatives for all my other fave foods like milkshakes, cheese, ice cream, burgers, chocolate and yogurt (which are always more delicious anyways), I hadn’t yet found a proper, satisfying substitute for my beloved quiches and other egg-based recipes. UNTIL NOW… *dramatic music*
Folks, it’s all in the chickpea flour.
In the past I have noticed a number of wonderful-looking quiche, crepe, omelette and frittata recipes in the myriad cookbooks around my house, and realized the common denominator between them all was chickpea flour. I took note of this, but didn’t try my hand at any of them. Then while visiting my older brother and his fiancé in Calgary a few months ago, I had the pleasure of enjoying a vegan quiche at The Coup (sweet spot, btw). I was taken aback with how much it reminded me of the egg-based dish it was inspired by. I asked the server about the ingredients and sure enough, they mentioned chickpea flour, as well as some other vegetables like carrot and onion. Again, I noted it, and this time resolved to recreate my own version once I got home. Finally got around to it in February and all I can say is WOW. I will never miss eggs, quiche, frittata or omelettes again. Using chickpea flour along with other flavourful veg + onion and garlic provides everything I crave in an egg-based dish. The texture, flavour and appearance is – dare I say it – better than the animal version. Plus, no one has to get hurt when ya use chickpeas. Unless you believe chickpeas feel pain. In that case, this recipe is a monster.
Please do yourself a favour and try this out. Let me know what you think. I am beyond joyed. I will be making this and a million variations of it for years to come. The recipe I ended up adapting for this first experiment was Rita Serano’s, from her awesome cookbook titled Vegan in 7. The book is beautiful, approachable and designed for quick and easy recipes which call for 7 or fewer ingredients. 10/10 would recommend! I plan to make a bunch of other recipes from it, because this first one has me SOLD. You can buy it here.
ZUCCHINI + CHICKPEA FRITTATA
Adapted from a recipe in Vegan in 7 by Rita Serano
1 large grated zucchini (or 2 medium)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 peeled, grated garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
1/3 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs (I used cilantro, basil and green onion)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a non-stick pan on medium-low heat with the oil (use water if you don’t want to use oil), cook the zucchini and garlic with the coriander, turmeric and paprika. If it’s too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to help it cook. Once the zucchini is softened and translucent – this will take around 10 minutes or less – mix in the chopped basil and green onion and turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper as desired.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour with the water. Add the zucchini mixture and stir everything up evenly. It should be thick enough that the zucchini pieces do not sink to the bottom. Pour into a lined pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until there is a beautiful golden brown colour on top. For the last 3 minutes I used the broil setting on my oven to intensify this. But keep an eye on your frittata if you do this because it will go from perfect to burnt in just a minute!
4. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then slice and enjoy with your garnishes. This would be lovely with a big salad and a smokey tomato sauce.