Saturday, March 31, 2012

Whole Grain Spring Quiche {Cabot Contest & Giveaway}

I don't want to bury the lead, so I'm going to give you the head's up - this quiche tastes like a vegetable fritatta on a cheesy polenta crust. YUM. (If you're still interested, read on):

{I received free samples from Cabot Creamery of the cheese and giveaway items mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.}

The Cabot Creamery, up in one of my all-time favorite states, Vermont, threw the gauntlet at the Recipe Reduxers. They asked us to take a whole grain, fruit, or vegetable we've never tried before, and develop a rockstar recipe that includes their reduced fat cheddar cheese. I selected not one, but two whole grains that have never graced my kitchen cabinets, and got to work. I developed a delicious quiche crust out of these two unusual (but available!) whole grains that's soft like a nutty polenta on the bottom and crispy and delicious on the top. You know how good cheesy polenta is? Then you'll start to understand how great this crust is with the quiche. 

Let's talk about these new grains first :

Amaranth is actually not a grain (FYI - quinoa isn't either - mind blown?), it's a seed, but it's treated like a grain. It's got a sweet, nutty taste - when you cook it in water, it tastes like a more substantial cream of wheat cereal. Even though it's a tiny little seed that comes in a box, it's related to beets, swiss chard, and spinach. I know. This sounds crazy. But stick with me - there's more. This little seed, that's cousins with swiss chard, can not only be eaten like porridge or cooked with grains like rice, but it can be popped like popcorn in a skillet. According to the Jefferson Institute, the popped kernels are traditionally mixed with honey or molasses and shaped into snack bars and cakes (like Rice Krispie Treats) in Mexico. It's the jack of all trades of the seed/grain world. It's high in protein, and has lysine, an amino acid that most grains don't have (so it's good to mix into a vegetarian diet!). Did I mention it's also gluten free?

And let's not forget about bulgur - the other high-profile, whole-grain component of the quiche crust. While amaranth comes to us from Central America (where it was grown 6,000 years ago), bulgur makes it's way from the Middle East. It's made from cracked wheat berries and loaded with fiber. It cooks up into a soft, light dish, and it's got a nutty flavor that helps give the crust its own (albeit small) voice. 

So this quiche starts with an awesome, fun, nutty, yummy, whole grain-crust. Then, it gets filled to the brim with an egg custard that's loaded with veggies including spring's very own asparagus. I've trimmed the saturated fat by swapping 2% milk for cream, and reduced fat cheddar cheese for whole-fat cheese.

I hadn't tried Cabot's reduced fat cheeses before, so this was all new to me. I was suspicious - not gonna lie. I kind of assumed they would be flavorless and rubbery like the fat-free shredded cheeses I mistakenly purchased a long time ago. But...they were delicious - totally sharp, cheesy, and melty! And they taste awesome in this quiche. I used a mix of the 50% and 75% reduced fat cheddar cheeses.. Their sharp, cheddar bite complements the nutty flavor of the crust, and mixes well with its polenta-like texture. Deliciousness.

And now for the Giveaway! Two readers will win a coupon for a free reduced fat cabot product. To win, tweet to @sweetfoodie about what you plan to do with your reduced fat Cabot cheddar cheese, or write in the comments below. I'll pick two winners at random on April 7th. Good Luck!

Whole Grain Spring Quiche

1 cup amaranth
½ cup bulgur wheat
½ tsp salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups shredded 50% and/or 75% reduced-fat Cabot cheddar cheese
½ cup milk
3 large eggs
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
¾ cup asparagus, sliced into small pieces on the diagonal
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chives, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)


  1. Boil 1 cup of water in a non-stick saucepan. When boiling, add 1 cup rinsed amaranth, and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook about 20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Pour amaranth into a medium bowl.
  2. Mix bulgur wheat with 1 ½ cups water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Add bulgur to amaranth and mix to combine.
  3. Stir butter and salt into the grain mixture and refrigerate about 1 hour until cool.
  4. When cool, mix in 2 tablespoons of milk and stir until combined.
  5. Press a thin layer of dough into a greased 9-inch pie or quiche plate. You will not use all of the dough. (see note)
  6. Bake the crust in a 425 degree oven for 18-20 minutes, until it's golden brown. 
  7. Remove from the oven, brush with a beaten egg yolk and bake for 3 more minutes to harden.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Sauté chopped asparagus and mushrooms for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Whisk together egg, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg (optional) in a medium bowl. 
  5. Stir in mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, and chives. 
  6. Sprinkle ½ the cheese on the crust.
  7. Pour the custard on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Note: Warm the remaining grain mixture for breakfast porridge the next day. It’s like a whole grain cream of wheat and is delicious with chopped fruit and nuts (and a little maple syrup or honey to sweeten if you would like). 

Jefferson Institute:
Wheat Foods Council:


  1. Oooh, does this sound and look delish (just in time for spring!) I've only ever have popped amaranth but love your use of it here (and great tip on how to use the leftover grains.)

  2. veggie frittata on cheesy polenta crust. yup. i'm sold ;-)

  3. Thanks Deanna! I've never popped it before, but I'm definitely going to try now that I have a whole box left over :-)

    Regan - Thanks - glad to hear it :-)

  4. This looks fabulous!
    I love quiches but on a polenta crust!? Sounds just delicious!

  5. Yum! I love an interesting quiche...this looks amazing!