Gluten-free asparagus quiche made with leeks, Gruyere cheese, and a hash brown bottom — lightened with egg whites and low-fat milk.
As a Buddhist, Easter may not look like one of my holidays, but you would be wrong. Easter represents hope and new beginnings to me, things we all relate to, and this year, I’m more aware of this than ever.
We continue to create a new life for ourselves in the Northern Sierras, and although we’ve been part-year residents for several years, this is our first spring here. So far, and yes it’s still early days, I’ve decided we should have a 5th season here – a season that’s not quite full-on winter with 10 feet of snow falling every freaking day, but not yet spring. It’s the point where you wake from a deep slumber, rubbing your eyes and stretching your limbs, but not quite ready to spring out of bed.
Instead of the abundance of blooms and leafing that seemingly explodes overnight in March and April in Northern California, here in the mountains, spring is an exercise in patience. Life is more visually subtle; the unfurling inside tentative buds much slower. Is this slow pace of nature waking up a subliminal message that serves to relax me here? Maybe, but I can also tell you spring is noisy here. Woodpeckers wake us every morning, and the melt is in full force, with the sound of water pouring down drains, spilling off roofs, and rushing over rock-filled streambeds everywhere into the Lake.
And then it happens. Suddenly, out of nowhere, daffodils bravely rise up through last week’s flurry of snow to remind us that even when everything seems dead, there is the promise of regeneration and beauty.
However you’re spending your Easter Sunday, I hope it’s full of these things for you too. One of my annual traditions from childhood is Easter brunch. I love to throw them and go to them. If you’re planning on a brunch this year, here are some last-minute, make-ahead dishes to serve. They’re guaranteed to allow you to relax today, no matter how many people are coming over.
Tips for Success
Arrange all the layers individually for a nice layered quiche, and an even distribution of cheese and veggies.
Allow the quiche to cool for at least 10 minutes to allow the eggs to set up, although serving quiche at room temperature is best.
Gruyere Swiss cheese is my favorite in this dish, but Fontina works very well too.
As noted in the recipe, if you want to make this ahead, you can either serve it at room temperature the day of your brunch, or reheat it in 325˚F oven for 15 minutes.
The cooking times are for an 8″ quiche. If you use a 10″ pan, add 10 minutes onto your baking time.
Light Asparagus-Gruyere Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 1/2 cups shredded frozen hash brown potatoes I use Ore-Ida
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced asparagus
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
- 4 large eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 cup Swiss cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss to coat with the oil, and lightly press down flat with your fingers. Continue cooking without moving the potatoes until the edges along the sides begin to brown. Flip the potatoes over, piece them back together again into a solid potato layer, lightly press down, and continue to cook until lightly browned on the edges. The length of time for this is determined by the type of skillet you use and the power of the burner. It takes me around 10 minutes for the first side, and 5-7 minutes for the second.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and asparagus and sauté until just tender, about 10 minutes; set aside.
- Whisk eggs, egg whites, half-and-half, low-fat milk, mustard powder, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in another large bowl.
- Press the hash-browns on the bottom of an 8" baking pan, and press down to flatten. Spread the asparagus and leeks evenly on top. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the vegetables. Pour the egg mixture over it all. Grate fresh nutmeg across the top just before sliding into the oven.
- Bake until quiche is set and crust is well browned. At high altitude (6500 ft) it took me 30-35 minutes. At sea level, I recommend checking it at 25 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature before cutting into wedges and serving from the pan.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #WIMPYVEGETARIAN on Instagram. I’d love to see what you cook!
Make Ahead Brunch Recipes
- Apple and Bacon Cornmeal Scones by Caroline’s Cooking
- Lemon Crumb Cake by Life Tastes Good
- Nana’s New York Crumb Cake by The Crumby Cupcake
- Overnight Nutty Coffee Cake by Family Around The Table
- Asparagus Quiche in Hash Brown Crust by Wimpy Vegetarian
- Baked Deviled Eggs with Toast Points by Turnips 2 Tangerines
- Ham and Cheese Empanadas by Asian In America
- Make Ahead Baked Monte Cristo Cassarole by Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Overnight Breakfast Casserole by Soulfully Made
- Sorrel, Chive & Duck Egg Frittata by Wholistic Woman
- Sous Vide Egg Bites by Cricket’s Confections
Sides and Veggies
- Asparagus Tart with Goat Cheese and Spring Greens by Monica’s Table
- Baked Chili Maple Bacon by Food Lust People Love
- Blackberry Orange Oatmeal Bowls by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette by Helpful Homemade
- Vegetable Lasagna by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Carrot Cake Pancakes by Brunch-n-Bites
- Citrus Crepes with White Chocolate Drizzle by Gourmet Everyday
- Flourless Chocolate Torte by Pies and Plots
- No Bake Peanut Butter Pie by The Freshman Cook
- Raspberry Mascarpone French Toast Casserole by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Strawberry Almond Crumble by Sunday Supper Movement
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