Sundried Tomato Pesto Quiche
Quiche: the new travel snack.
Okay, “snack” might be a little aggressive, but I guarantee that if I whip out this golden-crusted, green goddess of a quiche on my next flight and offer my neighbors a slice, they will be decidedly less miffed when I climb over them for no fewer than three bathroom breaks. They might even let me set the quiche on their tray table while I make my exit.
Admittedly, quiche will probably never replace trail mix or granola bars as the go-to B.Y.O. travel snack—the in-flight serving space is uncomfortably cramped, and the TSA would likely confiscate the serving knife. Regardless of its airport security status, quiche still is well-suited for portability, so when Ben’s aunt asked me what I’d like to bring for our family Easter celebration in Chicago (a two-hour drive from our home), I immediately turned to my good travel buddy, quiche.
Not only can quiche easily withstand the two-hour ride in our backseat, but also it’s one of the best dishes to prepare in advance, making it perfect for holiday entertaining. Well-wrapped, fully baked quiche can be frozen for up to two months, though I’m relieved that I won’t have to resist this beautiful Sundried Tomato Pesto Parmesan Quiche for nearly that long.
Every August when basil is booming, I make and squirrel away dozens of containers of pesto to bring a little brightness to our table in the winter months. Earlier this week while reorganizing our mess of a freezer, in between a forgotten container of spicy cheese soup and a frost-bitten veggie burger, I uncovered a treasure: one last container of sunny summer pesto. I knew immediately that I wanted it to be the star flavor of my Easter quiche.
Stirring pesto into the quiche filling adds instant vibrancy in both color and taste, so I chose the remaining quiche ingredients with the purpose of highlighting the pesto: sundried tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan cheese.
I’ve also been playing around with different ways to make quiche healthier without losing its signature decadence (or offending the French), and today’s pesto quiche recipe is my favorite version to date. I traded the heavy cream for Greek yogurt, which keeps the filling thick and rich without adding fat, and I also replaced some of the whole eggs with egg whites for extra lightness.
Beneath that green machine pesto quiche filling: an ultra flakey crust. I used my foolproof Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust (and if you think pie crust isn’t for you, please please read yesterday’s post!)
Perfectly portable, marvelous made-ahead, and green for spring, this Pesto Quiche will be a star at any gathering.
It also would make some airline passengers very very happy. Pesto Quiche instead peanuts? Now that is my idea of an upgrade!
Sundried Tomato Pesto Quiche
A healthy pesto quiche with sundried tomatoes, Parmesan, and spinach.
Yield: 1 9-inch quiche (serves 6)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 1 whole wheat pastry crust (unbaked)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup dried (not oil-packed) julienne sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Prepare the pastry crust according to the recipe directions (recipe will yield 2 crusts. Feel free to either half the recipe or freeze the second half for a later time).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle, then fit it into a 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish). Trim the crust so it overhangs the plate edge by about 1 inch all the way around, then tuck the edges under at the plate edge and crimp with your fingers or a fork.
- Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals, then line the plate with foil or parchment paper. Fill with dry beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights, ensuring that the beans or weights are all the way up against the edges of the pan. Set on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake for 15 minutes. Remove the lining and weights. If the crust has puffed up in spots, gently press it back down with a fork. Bake, uncovered, for 8-10 additional minutes, until the bottom of the crust is lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, place the sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit 5 minutes to rehydrate, the drain and pat dry.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, Greek yogurt, pesto, salt, and pepper. Then, stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and sundried tomatoes. With the pie plate still on the baking sheet, carefully pour the filling into the prebaked crust. Bake until the quiche is puffed and the center is set but still a little jiggly, 40 to 50 minutes. If the crust starts to brown too quickly as the quiche bakes, wrap the edges of the pan with foil to protect it. Let quiche cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
To make ahead: Pastry dough may be frozen, unbaked, for up to 3 months. Fully baked quiche may be well wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. To bake from frozen remove from freezer and let stand for about 10 minutes to take some chill off of the pan. Reheat in a 350 degree oven, tenting as necessary to prevent overbrowning, for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.
More travel-friendly, taste bud-tempting quiches: