Quinoa base for quiche

Gretchen McKay

Homemade quiche can be a problem for cooks who don’t like to play with pastry dough, as well as diners who want to steer clear of gluten. Enter quinoa, a protein-packed, grain-like seed that’s been nourishing people for more than 3,000 years.

A safe and healthy alternative to wheat, cooked quinoa is a perfect building material for a tasty — and super easy — pie crust when mixed with some beaten egg and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Any number of fillings lend themselves to the nutty taste of a quinoa crust, but spinach coupled with salty, slightly tangy feta pairs especially well. Served with a bright citrus salad or bowl of fresh fruit, this cheesy quiche makes just as good of a dinner as it does a lunch or brunch dish. And you don’t even have to feel guilty if you feel like taking a second helping; a quarter-pan wedge has just 309 calories.

Spinach and Feta Quiche With Quinoa Crust

For crust

2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Dash of salt

1 large egg, beaten

Cooking spray

For filling

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

5-ounce bag baby spinach

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 large eggs

2 large egg whites

11/2 ounces (1/3 cup) feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make crust: Combine quinoa, pepper, salt and egg in a bowl, stirring well. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake in hot oven for 20 minutes; cool.

Make filling: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add spinach and saute for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Combine milk, salt, black and red peppers, eggs and egg whites. Stir with a whisk. Arrange spinach mixture in crust, and pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Bake for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then cut into 4 wedges.

Serve warm, with fresh fruit.

Serves 4.

— “Cooking that Counts” by the Editors of Cooking Light (Oxmoor House; January 2017; $21.95)