I can’t begin to tell you how amazingly good this Vegan Quiche With Asparagus tastes. The garlicky, mushroomy creaminess flavour (plus cheesy, if you’re not vegan and want to grate some cheese over the top before serving), coupled with the asparagus and crumbly, biscuit-like texture from the pastry sparks off all manner of heavenly taste sensations.
Quiches are perfect for breakfast, brunch and lunch, but I also love this quiche with asparagus for a light dinner served with a big bowl of salad.
What Makes Asparagus Healthy?
There’s lots of reasons to eat asparagus especially during springtime when they are in season and at their best.
1. Asparagus is packed with nutrients
These nutrients include vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium and some protein.
2. Asparagus is an anti-bloating food
Firstly, it’s a natural diuretic helping you flush excess liquid and combat belly bloat. And secondly it supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria which helps to reduce gas in the stomach.
3. Asparagus can help with weight loss
Not only is asparagus low in calories (remember though, it’s more important to choose foods based on nutritional content than calorie content), but it also contains lots of soluble and insoluble fibre, making it a good choice if you’re wanting to lose weight.
4. Asparagus can boost your mood
Asparagus contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been linked to improved mood. It’s also full of folate, a B vitamin that helps to lift your spirits.
Vegan Quiche With Asparagus - The Pastry Ingredients
1. Wholegrain Spelt Flour
For the shortcrust pastry in this recipe, I’ve used wholegrain spelt flour as it’s lower in gluten. You can opt for white spelt flour instead if you wish.
While spelt can be a great alternative to wheat for those with mild gluten sensitivity, spelt is not gluten-free. If you suffer from celiac disease or have a confirmed gluten allergy, you should avoid spelt.
However, if you do not have celiac disease or a gluten allergy – but still react to wheat, spelt may work for you. You may be able to enjoy spelt products without the negative reactions brought on by wheat.
There are many reasons why spelt tends to be less reactive than wheat, but basically the quantities and types of proteins (like gluten) and carbohydrates of spelt differ from those found in wheat.
2. Organic Vegan Block
I’ve used a vegan alternative to butter in this recipe. If you’re not vegan you may prefer to use butter, or you may wish to stick with the Naturali plant-based brand (pictured in the above photo) or use another healthy plant-based alternative. Either way it shouldn’t make any difference to the success of your pastry.
Tips for Making Your Shortcrust Pastry Base
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty - how to make the shortcrust pastry base.
Homemade pastry is cheaper, better than store bought and doesn’t have to be a nightmare to make. So, do give it a go if you haven’t made pastry before. Here are my key steps for successful shortcrust pastry making:
1. Make sure your pastry ingredients are cold before you process them. If they get warm, it can make the pastry greasy and heavy.
A food processor is the ultimate tool for making pastry – it works fast and doesn’t heat the mixture.
2. Always chill the dough after you make it. It’s also a good idea to do it again before baking too, so once you’ve assembled your pastry creation. This also sets the fat content and helps the pastry to keep its shape in the oven.
3. Trying to work with pastry straight from the fridge will result in cracks, so make sure you give it 10 minutes at room temperature before you attempt to roll it out.
4. Roll your pastry out between two sheets of baking / greaseproof paper to avoid messy, sticky fingers and floury work surfaces.
5. Always rest your pastry before baking, for at least 20 minutes in the fridge. This helps prevent the pastry shrinking in the oven.
The secret is to work it as little as possible to prevent the gluten from becoming elastic.
How to Blind Bake Your Shortcrust Pastry Base
1. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper bigger than your dish.
2. Crumple it into a ball and unfurl it. This helps it mould to the shape of the dish better
3. Press the paper really well into the corners of the tin but try not to damage the pastry
4. Fill completely with baking beans (or if you don’t have any, use rice or lentils)
5. Make sure the beans are pressed right into the sides, all the way up to the top of the dish. The sides are more important than the bottom as that’s what you’re holding in place.
How to Stop Your Shortcrust Pastry Getting Stuck in the Quiche Dish
Ok, you don’t need to grease flan dishes / tins – there’s enough fat in the pastry. If your pastry sticks to the dish it's not because you haven't greased it first.
The key is to leave it to cool for 10 - 15 minutes, then serve. If you serve your quiche straight from the oven then there is a chance that it will break. Leave it too long and the fat will solidify and weld the pastry to the flan dish.
Vegan Quiche With Asparagus Recipe
Prep time (without the pastry chilling time): 15 minutes Cook time: 1hour 15 minutes Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
For the quiche with asparagus pastry base:
- 200g of spelt flour
- 100g of organic vegan block or butter alternative (for a non-vegan option)
- Pinch of salt
- 5 dessertspoons of filtered water
For the quiche with asparagus filling:
- 100g of asparagus (washed, and bottom ends removed if tough)
- 50g of mushrooms (shitake, white, oyster or portobello)
- 1 400ml tin of coconut milk
- 120g of raw cashew nuts (soaked in water for at least 20 minutes beforehand)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- Handful of fresh coriander leaves / 1 teaspoon of dried coriander
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Olive oil to brush the asparagus head pieces
For the vegan quiche pastry:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°F / 350°F.
2. Chop the vegan block into smaller pieces and place it with the flour and pinch of salt in a food processor.
3. Process until the pastry mixture starts to come together in one big ball. Add the water if necessary (i.e. too dry) to help this process.
4. Chill in the fridge for 30 - 60 minutes.
5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and leave it to stand for about 10 minutes before rolling it out between two pieces of baking / greaseproof paper until you get a circle large enough to cover your 23 cm / 10 inch quiche dish (about 2-3 mm in thickness).
6. Place the rolled out dough over your quiche dish and line the inside of it with the pastry.
7. Press it into the nooks and crannies with your fingers. Trim the excess pastry with a sharp knife or by running a rolling pin along the dish edge. Patch any holes up with the cut off excess.
8. Pierce holes in the bottom of the pastry with a fork and chill the pastry lined quiche dish for about another 30 minutes.
9. Line the pastry case with a large piece of crumpled baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice for a blind bake.
10. Blind bake the pastry for 25 minutes.
If you'd like more guidance on making this shortcrust pastry, refer to the tips above.
For the quiche with asparagus filling:
1. Place all the quiche filling ingredients into your food processor and process until everything is more or less broken down. You will obviously have some bits left with the nuts and mushrooms - this is fine.
2. Cut the asparagus into two equal sized pieces and place the bottom ends in the pre-baked quiche dish before adding the filling ingredients that you’ve just processed.
3. Cook in the oven at 180°F / 350°F for 40 - 45 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
4. Remove the quiche from the oven about 30 minutes into your cooking time and add the head half of the asparagus pieces, which need to be brushed with a bit of olive oil before laying within the quiche filling.
5. Return the quiche to the oven for the remaining cook time or until lightly browned and then remove the quiche again and leave it for about 10 - 15 minutes to give the filling time to set fully.
6. Serve with a selection of steamed vegetables or salad ingredients / dishes of your choice and enjoy.
The pastry base can be made in advance and frozen. The complete quiche can also be frozen pre or post cooking.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Tag @nicolamonson on Instagram and use the #nicolamonsonrecipes hashtag. I love seeing your recreations.
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