I've always loved the combination of broccoli and cheddar cheese; something I've frankly missed since going vegan. I've been happy to see an influx of vegan-friendly plant-based cheezes arriving on the market. While they may not all have the most nourishing profile of ingredients, there is something to be said for nourishing nostalgia.
I read an interesting post on the Coach Calorie blog yesterday about how those who wish to lose weight (or get healthy, or any number of health goals) first eliminate their favourite foods, as though deprivation and misery are the keys to success.
And I will echo the point: They're not.
Satiety and satisfaction, though very similar, are not necessarily one and the same. Satiety is a response in the body that tells you it has achieved physical fullness and nutrient balance. It is meant to keep us from eating in excess and signalling that our body has what it needs for now. Making sure a meal is macronutrient-balanced is a great way to achieve satiety.
Satisfaction, however, runs on a deeper level. A meal can be perfectly macronutrient-balanced, but if it tastes bland, has an unpleasant mouthfeel, or is otherwise awful to consume, it's not going to be satisfying on an emotional level. Food should taste good and be enjoyable to eat, if not all the time, then at least the majority of the time. This is also obviously not to say we should eat cake for breakfast, a bag of chips for snack, pizza for lunch, *a healthy dandelion salad for dinner*, and then ice cream for dessert.
We should endeavour to learn how to cook food with spices, not be afraid of healthy amounts of fat, add a dash of sea salt here and there. And of course, we should not feel like we need to put a moratorium on all of our favourite foods. Being adventurous in the kitchen and trying alternative ingredients to replicate your favourite flavours can be healthful in its own way; not just physically, but in appealing to your inner child, your hidden chocoholic, your secret cheese junkie.
So circling back to vegan cheezes. I woke up this morning wanting to do *something* with chickpea flour, *something* with broccoli and cheez. LIGHTBULB MOMENT! and I whipped up these Broccoli Chedd'r Mini-Quiches. I'll be honest, it was about an hour of deciding what to put in the bowl - would this really taste good? should I add more of this? what will this do to the colour? - and wondering, once it was in the oven, whether it would turn out at all the way I wanted it to.
But that was also part of the fun. Learning to cook and drawing on that experience; plus feeling adventurous and drawing on foods-loved-past; leads to a fascinating alchemy of nourishment for health and nostalgia.
Plus, the results are in: Tasty, nutritious... and not only satiates my body, but satisfies my secret cheese junkie. (Full disclosure: I ate three once I got them out of the oven.)
Savoury Vegan Broccoli Chedd’r Mini-Quiches
A vegan, gluten-free twist on a classic flavour combination. Chickpea flour, or besan, is a versatile, high-protein, gluten-free flour that is well worth making a pantry staple. Its cooked texture and flavour lends itself perfectly to replacing eggs for making scrambles, omelettes, and of course, quiches. Nutritional yeast (“nooch”) adds a cheesy flavour while also providing an additional protein and B-vitamin boost. These broccoli chedd’r mini-quiches are beautiful for a brunch, or as a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Serve au naturel or with a favourite sauce, such as vegan hollandaise, sour cream, or for a spicy kick, hot sauce or sriracha. Makes 12 mini-quiches.
1 cup frozen organic broccoli florets
Coconut oil for the muffin pan OR paper cupcake liners
1½ cups chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (besan)
1 tsp. GF baking powder
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (increase to 3 Tbsp. + more for sprinkling if not using vegan chedd’r)
¼ tsp. organic ground turmeric
¼ to ½ tsp. sea salt (you may wish to use a little more if not using vegan chedd’r)
¼ tsp. organic chili powder
Pinch each fresh ground black pepper and red chili flakes
Optional: pinch black salt, to taste
1¾ cup unsweetened hemp or almond milk OR water
⅓ cup vegan chedd’r shreds, such as Daiya or Earth Island, plus more for sprinkling, optional (or use more nooch as indicated above)
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease or line your muffin tin.
In a pot with a steamer basket, steam the broccoli until just cooked (it should be bright green). Transfer broccoli to a strainer and run cool water over it to stop cooking. Allow to drain off as much moisture as possible. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, nooch, and spices). Whisk to mix.
Add the hemp milk or water and whisk to mix.
Add the ⅓ cup chedd’r, if using. Gently fold into batter.
Start spooning the batter into the muffin tin, about half-filling each compartment. You should still have some batter left after. Distribute the broccoli into the compartments. Spoon the remaining batter evenly over the broccoli. Sprinkle extra chedd’r or nooch on top of each mini-quiche.
Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until just firm. A toothpick inserted in the middle a quiche should come out clean.
Allow to cool slightly before removing mini-quiches from the tin. You may need to use a butter-knife to lift the edges away from the sides neatly if not using liners. Transfer to a plate and serve. Alternatively place the mini-quiches on a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before storing them in containers or sandwich bags for grab-and-go breakfasts or snacks.
This recipe also appears on SaraGalipeau.ca in Recipe of the Month Archive, April 2016. Get the pdf here.