Quiche is the perfect brunch or breakfast for dinner dish, and Quiche Lorraine is one of my favorites. But the traditional version from the mountainous Lorraine region in north-eastern France includes bacon. And, although I love a good Asparagus Quiche, today I wanted a vegetarian Quiche Lorraine.
The Traditional Quiche Lorraine
A quiche was originally a simple peasant meal of an egg and cream custard, with bread dough as the crust. Although we associate this dish with France, at the time Quiche Lorraine was first created in someone's kitchen, that kitchen was in medieval Germany.
But fluid borders being what they were at the time, this region went through numerous name changes as the land shifted dominance between various ruling countries. And the last country was France, and the last name was Lorraine.
If you're interested in the etymology of words like I am, the word quiche comes from the German word for cake: kuchen.
The earliest Quiche Lorraine included smoked bacon. The cheese came along later. And at some point onions were added. Many people started calling that version Quiche Alsacienne – from the neighboring region, Alsace. And a short pastry and puff pastry replaced the bread dough, eventually making it the familiar Quiche Lorraine we see today.
Vegetarian Quiche Lorraine
Since bacon is a key ingredient to this dish, I had to find a substitute that would work. Sure, I could have ignored it, and just put in mushrooms, sometimes a good substitute for meat. But then it's really not a Quiche Lorraine.
I found the perfect substitute in Morningstar Farm's Chorizo Crumbles. These crumbles add a touch of umami saltiness that bacon is famous for, and packs a little punch of heat, and big punch of flavor. A perfect foil for the eggs, milk and cheese. I just cooked them up super fast in a few minutes in a little olive oil with some onion.
Instead, I highlight this fact because these crumbles are a great product to have in your back pocket for tacos, chili, pasta sauce, and casseroles. Seriously, I always have a couple packages tucked away in the freezer.
And no, this isn't a sponsored post. I'm just a fan. A big one.
The Hash Brown Crust
If you prefer a pastry crust, go for it. No pressure. Nothing about the recipe changes by switching the crust. Just use a single crust pastry shell, or frozen pastry you thaw, or make your own. This quiche is for a 9-inch pie dish, so just keep that in mind when you make it.
You can make your own hash browns by shredding potatoes, but I took the super-easy route and bought frozen. If you take this route too, you must thaw them before pressing them into the pie dish.
Another tip about frozen hash browns. You'll find thawed hash browns is less than frozen when measured in a measuring cup. For example to get 3 cups of thawed hash browns, I started with almost 4 cups frozen. This is the best amount for a 9-inch pie dish. If you use an 8-inch dish, 3 cups frozen is fine.
How to Assemble This Vegetarian Quiche Lorraine
It looks more difficult than it is. Let's take a look at some of the steps.
Toss the thawed hash browns with a little melted butter or olive oil, and press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Try to make the thickness on the sides as even as possible with the bottom. Brush the crust with a little melted butter or olive oil, and slide the dish into a preheated oven.
While the crust bakes, start the filling. Sauté chopped onion with vegan Chorizo Crumbles for a few minutes. Set aside to cool.
Bake the crust until the top edges are lightly crisped, and the bottom is lightly brown. It will feel dry to the touch. Let it cool a bit, while you whip up the eggs.
Whip up the eggs and cheese. Layer the filling into the shell with the onion-chorizo layer first.
Quick Prep Tips
The quickest way to chop up an onion, with the bonus of no tearing eyes, is to use a vegetable chopper. The one I use is part of the Mealthy Handblend set that includes a professional-grade immersion blender with a whisk. It's super-cool. The immersion blender base fits into the top of the chopper, and chops anything in a flash.
For this recipe, I used the chopper for the onions, and used the whisk attachment to whisk the eggs up into a nice froth in seconds.
Note: If you want to purchase the Handblend, use my affiliate code for $10 off. As a note, though, your complete purchase must total to $59.95 to qualify for the discount. Just type THEWIMPYVEGETARIAN into the coupon code box in checkout, and you'll receive a $10 credit.
Using frozen hash browns, and this little appliance from Mealthy, my prep time was 12 minutes. All the rest of the time was stove and oven time.
Vegetarian Quiche Lorraine with Hash Brown Crust
Hash Brown Crust
- 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or olive oil), divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces Morningstar Farms Chorizo Crumbles
- 3/4 cup chopped onion, about 1/2 large onion
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup half & half
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Hash Brown Crust
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F / 220˚C, and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Baste the inside of a 9-inch / 23cm pie dish with butter.
- Toss together the thawed hash browns with 1 tablespoon butter and the salt in a medium bowl. Press into the pie dish. Baste with the remaining melted butter (or olive oil).
- Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly crisped on the top edges. The hash browns on the bottom of the pie dish should be very lightly browned and dry to the touch. Set aside to cool. IF BAKING AT SEA LEVEL, CHECK THE CRUST AT 25 MINUTES.
Filling + Egg Mixture
- Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onion and chorizo crumbles until the onion softens, about 8 - 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. You should have 3/4 cup - 1 cup of filling.
- Whisk together the eggs, milks and salt. Stir in the cheeses.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the onion-chorizo mixture, and spread the remaining sauté on the bottom of the hash brown crust. Pour in the eggs and cheeses. Top with the reserved onion-chorizo sauté.
- Reduce the oven heat to 350˚F / 180˚C. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the quiche comes out clean. The sides should be clearly set, and should be firm to the touch in the middle, and spring back when lightly pressed. IF BAKING AT SEA LEVEL, CHECK IT AT 45 MINUTES.
- Place on a cooling rack to cool for 15 - 20 minutes.