For Meatless Monday this week, we wanted to share a wonderful recipe for a gluten free crustless quiche/frittata. . . but I guess today is Wednesday. One day slides into the next, and before you know it, the post you intended to write on Monday has neatly slid into Tuesday and then Wednesday. Oh well. . . Meatless Wednesday it is then. This recipe is very easy to make, bakes up quickly, and incorporates some of the wonderful fresh flavors of Spring.
Leafy greens like chard, kale, spinach, mustard and collard greens are some of the very favorite vegetables in our house to eat raw in a salad, juiced, or cooked. In this dish, the cooked mixed greens lend a delicious, slightly tangy, flavor, perfectly balanced by the creaminess of the eggs, raw cheese, and sweetness of the carrots. Any organic, or dairy free cheese of your choice, can work really well in this recipe, we chose to use a raw cheddar because it is everyone’s favorite here, and also enhances the tangy sweet flavors of the veggies.
In our family, we always called this recipe a “crustless quiche,” but then other people call a very similar dish a “frittata”. We began to wonder what was the difference? Is it basically the same recipe, a variation, or something else entirely?
The term Quiche, is best known by most people as a pie-like creation made with a custard filling of eggs and milk, in a pastry crust, usually also including vegetables, herbs, and sometimes meat. Quiche is primarily considered to be a classic French dish, and included in many French cookbooks as one of the basic recipes you must learn in order to say that you can really cook French food. However, as I was about to find out, quiche actually originated in the medieval kingdom of Lotheringen in Germany, which would only later become the French region of Lorraine.
Even today, a dialect of German known as “Lorraine Franconian,” continues to be spoken in areas throughout the Lorraine region, and the actual word “quiche” originates from the German word “Kuchen,” meaning cake. The version of quiche for which the Lorraine area of France is known (quiche Lorraine) in its original form, was made up of an egg and milk custard with a smoked ham, or bacon filling with herbs. Only more recently was cheese, usually grueyere, added to the mix, enhancing the smoky flavor of the meat.
Even though many of the classic versions of quiche contain some variety of meat, it is interesting to discover that old recipes for this dish, going back into the middle ages, were just as likely to offer a vegetarian version. Considering that this post originally began honoring meatfree monday, it is ironic to realize that even as far back as the middle ages, meat free days, usually religious holidays, were celebrated. One interesting meat free recipe for a quiche variation from that time, even calls for the interesting additon of ginger and currents. Here is an interesting recipe link for a very old predecessor of quiche called Ember Day Tart, served on medieval meat free holidays.
After discovering that quiche, in the truest sense, has a pastry crust like a pie, we realized that our wonderful recipe falls much closer into the catagory of a Frittata. Frittata, coming from the Italian “Fritto,” (literally to fry, or fried) is an egg-based dish, somewhere halfway between a traditional quiche and an omlette, but made without a crust. It can be baked in a pie dish in the oven, or started in a frying pan on the stove. A frittata differs from an omelette because the eggs are whipped ahead of time with the milk, and usually the cheese, and then poured in over the filling ingredients which are always added to the dish first, where as in an omelette, the eggs are allowed to thicken, and the filling is added last.
Most people seem to agree that the original recipe for a frittata started in Italy, possibly even pre-dating omelettes in Roman times. Others insist that the dish has its roots in Spain, differing from the Italian version by using potatoes as one of the main ingredients.
Both quiches and frittatas have become well loved favorites around the world. Anyway you look at it, and whatever name you call the dish, this recipe is quick, healthy, and delicious.
Gluten Free Spring Frittata with Greens, Shitake Mushrooms, and Carrots
- 1 lb. bag Trader Joe’s Southern Greens blend
- 1/2 cup Shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup raw cheddar cheese, grated
- 5 eggs
- 1-1/4 cup So-Delicious original coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by heating 1 tsp. of coconut oil in a frying pan, cooking the chopped onion and garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add the southern greens blend to the pan a little bit at a time until the entire contents of the bag have been added, placing the lid back over the pan in between to let the greens wilt down slightly. Then add the shredded carrots, mushrooms, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper, mixing until everything is well blended. Once the greens are cooked down, turn off the heat, and set aside. In a separate bowl, add the eggs, coconut milk, cheese, and dried basil, whipping lightly until frothy.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Add the vegetable mixture to a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish, spreading evenly. Pour the egg, milk, and cheese mixture over the top, lifting up some of the veggies slightly, so the liquid can sink to the bottom.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until everything is set, and the frittata is light golden brown on top.
This recipe can really be served with any vegetable side dish of your choice. We served it with a sweet garden salad, and some fresh steamed asparagus, which is in season in most areas at this time of the year.