Smoky Asparagus Quiche! This vegetarian quiche recipe is made with softened leeks, smoked cheese, and a wholegrain spelt crust. Perfect for a springtime brunch, and leftovers are great for packed lunches.
There are a few things that I’m really stubborn about eating only when they’re in season locally. Strawberries, for example, I almost never buy unless I can find them at the local fruit stand. Asparagus is another.
Asparagus is such a welcome beacon of spring, it’s always seemed to be cheating they system to buy the imported stuff. This is silly, really, since first of all, local asparagus has such a fleeting and fickle season, if you blinked at the wrong moment you might miss it. Also, I buy bananas from Ecuador, grapes from Chile, and avocados from Peru. So what’s the big deal with a bundle of asparagus from Italy, a mere handful of countries away?
It’s just one of those things, I guess, I feel like asparagus doesn’t really count if it’s imported. Am I crazy?! (<– the answer is obviously yes, but do me a solid and just don’t tell me)
Earlier this week, though, I admitted defeat. I took a hard look at the field of ice we have to navigate across to get our boy to daycare, a painful look at the longterm forecast of more snow and sub zero temperatures, and came the conclusion that I clearly have to make my own spring this year.
So, Italian asparagus was purchased, along with a sturdy looking leek form Holland, some German smoked cheese, eggs from Sweden, and a batch of whole grain spelt pastry was dug out of the bottom drawer of my freezer, and a vegetarian quiche recipe was born: Smoky Asparagus Quiche, no less.
This Smoky Asparagus Quiche is, I believe, the first quiche to have graced the pages of this blog in nearly eight years of cooking together. Better late than never right? And it’s a dandy of a vegetarian quiche recipe if I do say so myself.
Asparagus and leeks are a classic springtime combination (<– that’s a thing, right? or did I just make that up?) and I think they go together beautifully in this quiche. So many quiche recipes use bacon or ham, but to keep things vegetarian I sought out some smoked cheese.
I used smoked gouda, but I’m willing to bet that smoked cheddar would also work well, and I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that smoked mozzarella would probably be fine in this vegetarian quiche recipe. If anyone tries these out, please let us know in the comments!
Hey Nutrition Lady, making my own pastry freaks me the eff out!
Okay, no problem. First of all, don’t let pastry intimidate you. This pastry, in particular, is super rustic, so if it tears while you’re rolling it out, or if it seems too crumbly or not crumbly enough or whatever else, just take a deep breath and press it into the pan. It’s all going to get covered up with egg and cheese and asparagus anyways.
Also! You can totally just buy a frozen pie crust, press it into your own tart pan, and no one will no the difference. Promise.
Should we talk about asparagus pee?
Yes, we should.
Here’s the deal: asparagus has been long notorious for making your pee smell funny after you eat it. I’ve read that from 25-50% of people note a strong asparagus smell in their urine as early as 15 minutes post consumption. Here’s a fun fact you can impress your friends with: asparagus actually makes EVERYONE’S pee smell funny, but not everyone is able to detect the smell. Only about 25% of people have the “asparagus smelling gene” switched on. Neat, eh?
The smell is due to volatile (airborne) compounds that are released during digestion when asparagus’s sulphurous amino acids are broken down, and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you, or the asparagus. It’s just one of those things.
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B2, and B3, and contains a good amount of phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, vitamin E, and manganese. All that goodness? Who cares if it makes your pee smell funny!
Other brunch recipes you might enjoy:
Smoky Asparagus Quiche
Smoky Asparagus Quiche! Made with softened leeks, smoked cheese, and a wholegrain spelt crust, this quiche is perfect for a springtime brunch.
For the Spelt Pie Pastry
- 3/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed 1 stick / 113 grams
- 3-4 Tablespoons ice water
For the Smoky Asparagus Quiche
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium leek cleaned and thinly sliced
- 8 ounces asparagus trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 ounces smoked cheese, grated eg smoked gouda or smoked cheddar
- salt and pepper
To make the pastry
In the bowl of a food processor combine the flours, salt, and butter.
Pulse a few times until the butter is roughly the size of peas.
With the food processor running, add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the pastry begins to come together. It should still be a bit crumbly, but when you squeeze it in your hand it should hold together.
Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to form it into a smooth disc. Wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. You can also make this a day or two ahead and keep the dough refrigerated, or it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
When you're ready, preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
Roll out the pastry to about 1/4 inch thick (I err on the side of a bit thinner) and gentry lift into a 10-inch tart pan. Press the pastry into the pan, trim the edges, and prick the bottom with a fork.
Line the bottom of the tart pan with parchment paper and fill it with rice or dried beans or pie weights if you have those.
Place it into the preheated oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the tart shell from the oven, remove the parchment and weights, and return to bake for another 10 minutes until lightly golden.
Remove the tart pastry from the oven and let it cool while you prepare the quiche ingredients.
To make the Smoky Asparagus Quiche
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F / 180°C. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the leeks, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until they have just begin to soften.
Add the asparagus, and sauté about 5 minutes more. The asparagus should be bright green and still crisp. It will continue to cook in the quiche, so we don't want to over cook it here.
Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs together with the heavy cream and milk.
Add 3/4 of the cheese to the eggs, reserving some to scatter over the top.
Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
Add the asparagus and leeks to the cooled tart crust and spread into an even layer.
Pour the egg mixture over top of the asparagus. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Carefully place the quiche into the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until puffed and golden and set in the middle. It should have only a little bit of jiggle left.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Pastry freezes really well, so make a double batch and you'll have another pie crust for a rainy day!
- Quiche is great served warm, cold, or at room temperature.