It seems like most people are celebrating a proliferation of tomatoes right now, at least according to instagram. I am still thrilled to be getting greens, and now herbs, from the garden. Yesterday I harvested our first tiny zucchini, barely larger than my thumb. I would have left it longer but I needed it for this recipe. It was lovely. Gardening is one of the best things for nurturing creativity, especially because it's fleeting.
This recipe is pretty loaded with green vegetables, including a pretty good bit of basil. Basil is very easy to grow, and can be grown indoors on a bright windowsill, so I encourage you to test your green thumb with it. Some decent soil, a pot, and regular waterings are pretty much all it needs. You can sing to it if you want, I won't judge. Kale, swiss chard, and spinach are also pretty painless to grow in small spaces. The more you harvest, the more they produce! Really though, we have a city garden in a 3x2 metre plot and it produces more than we need. You'd be surprised by how much food you can grow in even the smallest spaces - I'll post a few pictures of our backyard soon to give you an idea. We haven't really bought any vegetables for the past month or so, which means we've been eating a lot of chard - but zucchini is coming now, and there are green tomatoes on the plants. Thank goodness. Not that the greens are anywhere near being done yet, though.
Quiche is simple and a great entree option if you're pressed for time, on a budget, or both. Very little prep time is need for this recipe, including the pastry, so it's great for a weeknight meal. It does take about an hour from start to finish (mostly baking time) but you could cut that in half by making it in ramekins or other small dishes instead of the long tart version (like these little frittatas). You could even leave the tart base out and line each dish with a couple slices of zucchini instead, which would reduce the time to about twenty minutes. The whole grain base makes this meal particularly filling, though, and making it in the larger dish makes everything a little fancier. Fancy is good if it doesn't need special preparation, right?
The cost for this meal is quite low, as eggs are inexpensive, as are greens. Buy frozen if you can't get fresh, they'll work fine. Eggs, if you buy the good free-range and organic ones, cost about six dollars from the supermarket, so two bucks for this recipe. Local ones are likely cheaper and better quality if you can connect with a friendly farmer. Happy hens = happy you. Flour is cheap too, but I've used some walnuts in this recipe. If you don't want to use the nuts, just use flour in their place. A substitution is provided in the notes below. Keep in mind that vegetarian meals will pretty much always be less costly than meat-based ones, for your wallet, your body, and the earth. Try meat-free Mondays; just that little bit makes a massive difference.
Serves four hungry people, or six less hungry
1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour*
1/4 cup walnut meal*
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup cold water
Grease a tart tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C now if pressed for time.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, walnuts, flax, and salt until fully combined. Add the coconut oil and water. Incorporate with a wooden spoon or your hands. Knead a couple times, just in the bowl, so it feels good and stretchy.
Press into the prepared tin, trying to make it about even, and refrigerate for 10-30 minutes if you have time. Poke several times with a fork and bake at 350F/180C for 10 minutes.
1 small zucchini/courgette, finely sliced or ribboned with a vegetable peeler
50 grams sheep/goat feta (optional)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk*
1 cup swiss chard, chopped*
Small handful basil, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Salt, pepper, and hot pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Line the base of the tart with the ribboned zucchini. It'll overlap, that's fine. If using, crumble the feta over this.
Mix the eggs, milk, and spices in a medium dish with a fork. Go very easy on salt if you're using feta. Add the chard and basil (this will seem weird, but trust me) and stir until the greens are coated in egg. Pour on top of the zucchini or cheese, and spread the chard out so that it's not all piled in the centre.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the middle is no longer liquid. If you're using ramekins, bake for 15-20 minutes instead. Serve hot or cold, with a green salad for a full meal.
1. You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour or kamut.
2. If not using the walnut meal, replace it with an additional 1/4 cup flour.
3. Or use dairy milk if you'd like.
4. Switch out chard for kale or spinach, they're both great in this recipe. I've just been using a lot of chard because we have so much of it right now.