If you’re brand new to vegan cooking, there are a few things you just need to trust me on. First, cashews are vegan magic. When soaked and blended like hell, they become velvety smooth and can take the place of milk, heavy cream, or even plain yogurt. Second, the vegan meat and dairy alternative market is unbelievable right now! There are the heavy hitters like Field Roast, Beyond Meat, Miyoko’s Kitchen, Kite Hill, and Treeline, and there are constantly new products coming out every day. It is really easy to find your new fave alternative.
Finally, you need to trust me that you can make a great quiche with tofu. I know it sounds weird, but when you compare tofu and eggs it sort of makes sense. They are both mild in flavor, high in protein, and, for lack of a better word, “squishy” in texture. Tumeric is what gives this quiche its yellow color. There isn’t a strong egg taste here obviously (you can get that by adding kala namak salt). The mild flavor of the tofu is what makes this asparagus and leek quiche so great. When you have freshly picked spring asparagus, you need a recipe that celebrates it and doesn’t hide it behind competing flavors.
I knew that asparagus quiche was in my future as soon as I saw gorgeous green bunches of asparagus pop up all over the Collingswood Farmers’ Market. What a difference fresh picked veggies from a local farm makes. You are getting everything quickly after harvest and at the peak of freshness. Plus, you get a chance to talk with the people who grow your food, learn their stories, and maybe pick up a few ideas to try out in the kitchen at home. This past Saturday I picked up a few bunches of asparagus from Viereck Farms and a leek from Flaim Farms, and I could hardly contain my excitement!
I highly recommend hitting up your local farmers’ market this weekend and making some fresh asparagus quiche afterwards. You can use a store-bought crust to save on time. Best part, this quiche holds up well as leftovers so you have breakfast for the rest of the week. And if you can’t find asparagus, the base of the quiche is easily modified for whatever veggie is in season by you.
Asparagus & Leek Tofu Quiche
adapted from Vegan Brunch‘s broccoli quiche recipe
makes a 9 inch quiche
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups of flour
large pinch of salt
1/4 cup of chilled vegan butter, cut into pieces
4 tbs of ice water
2 tbs of vodka
1 tbs of chopped chives
Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowel. Add the vegan butter and work into flour with your hands until crumbles are pea-sized. Add the water and vodka by tablespoons until the dough starts to come together. Add chopped chives and knead for a minute until the chives are mixed in and the dough is formed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
For the filling:
1 tbs of olive oil
1 lb of asparagus, woody ends discarded and stalks finely chopped
1 medium leek, washed, dark greens removed, and light green/white end chopped
1 tsp of nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp of tumeric
1/2 tsp of salt
1 lb of firm tofu
1/2 cup of raw, unsoacked cashews
1 garlic clove
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbs of white miso
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the crust in a circle until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Gently transfer dough to your pie dish. Poke the bottom of the dough with a fork to create several small holes and bake for 10 minutes. While dough is in the oven, start on the filling.
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil when the pan is warmed and then add the chopped leek. Saute for about 5 minutes until the leek has started to soften. Add chopped asparagus and cook for another 4-6 minutes until asparagus is slightly soft. Stir in nutritional yeast, tumeric, and salt and turn off heat.
Remove tofu from packaging and squeeze out some of the excess water with your hands. Crumble tofu into the bowel of your food processor. Add cashews, garlic, Dijon mustard, and miso to the food processor. Run for approximately 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and well mixed, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowel as necessary.
Stir together tofu mixture and sauteed leeks and asparagus. Taste and adjust with additional salt if necessary. You shouldn’t have to add much salt due to the miso. Spread the filling mixture evenly over your pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes until the edges are browned.