This vegan quiche is somewhat crustless in that there is no pastry involved, with thick sturdy slices of eggplant arranged to encase the filling in lieu of a crust. It’s lighter than a traditional quiche, eggless and dairy-free with no compromise on the texture, yet very filling and satisfying. A little kala namak or Indian black salt does the magic of adding some ‘eggy’ aroma to the tofu-based cream resulting in a deliciously convincing quiche.
The recipe is a low-carb take from my previous vegan quiche recipe with a potato crust, with a few tweaks. If you prefer, you could use thinly sliced potatoes for the crust instead of eggplant or substitute with a regular crust, like our oil-based shortcrust pastry which makes the perfect crust for this.
This quiche is lovely for weekend brunches or late lunches and ideal for packed lunches too.
Thick slices of roasted eggplant make an interesting crust to hold and wrap the creamy centre while garnishing this crustless quiche into a pretty presentation.
How to make Vegan Crustless Quiche with Smoky Tempeh and Eggplant ‘Crust’
Although, all this might look rather elaborate, the process is actually simple with little prep work. The aubergine or eggplant is sliced along the length, then brushed with oil and roasted for about 20 minutes until half cooked.
Once half-baked, arrange the eggplant in a 20-cm / 8-inch baking pan. One eggplant of about 450 grams [about 1 pound, 16 oz] is enough to line the pan in a single layer. If you want a thicker sturdier crust, use two eggplants and arrange into double layers.
While the eggplant is baking, you can prepare and pan-fry the tempeh. I love making my own tempeh at home as it’s a rather easy process and very rewarding. You may use any store-bought tempeh though or substitute with tofu.
For the creamy sauce, make sure to use a firm silken tofu like Morinu extra firm. I always have a few packs of these long-life shelf-stable tofu in the pantry. They come in really handy sometimes as they don’t need any refrigeration. But because of their soft delicate texture, silken tofu does not lend itself to all kinds of preparation. In this quiche however, silken tofu delivers the perfect texture and yields a superior creamier mouthfeel. You may use regular tofu if you can’t get hold of silken tofu. The texture might turn out slightly grainier but still delicious.
If you don’t have a blender, you can just mash the tofu to a puree consistency with a fork then mix in the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast and kala namak (Indian black salt).
Once the creamy sauce base is ready, add in the fried tempeh, mushrooms, greens and herbs.
If you wish to saute the mushrooms and dry out some of their moisture before adding them to the sauce, you may do so. This will help reduce the overall baking time once the quiche is assembled. Otherwise, for an easier version, I have incorporated the mushrooms uncooked and subsequently increased the baking time to dry up the liquid.
I’ve used arugula or roquette leaves but you can leave this out or use spinach instead.
Mix everything together, then pour the creamy filling onto the eggplant and spread out evenly. You may top with some melty vegan cheese, I have left this out. Sprinkle with some dried thyme and tuck in some basil leaves if you wish.
Then bake for 30 minutes covered with some foil, then another 30 – 35 minutes uncovered or until the quiche is firm. The creamy centre should not be runny. If it is, leave the quiche to bake for some more time. Once out of the oven, let the quiche cool before slicing. You will get a much cleaner cut once it is cooled.
This quiche is crispy around the edges and creamy in the centre. Delicious!
Leftovers reheat well and make nice packed lunches as it can be eaten cold with a side salad.
Smoky Tempeh Quiche with Eggplant Crust
- 450 g eggplant, (aubergine)1 medium, see notes
- Oil for brushing
- 1 – 2 tablespoons oil
- 100 g tempeh [about ½ block], see notes for how to make homemade tempeh
- 1 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Few drops liquid smoke
- Salt to taste
- 100 g fresh white mushrooms [about 5 – 6]
- 25 g arugula / roquette [1 cup]
- 350 g silken tofu, extra firm
- 120 ml non-dairy milk, I used soy milk [½ cup]
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour, or besan, substitute with other gluten-free flour mix or regular all-purpose wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon kala namak, Indian black salt or substitute with regular salt, adjust to taste. See notes.
- 5 – 6 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or few sprigs fresh thyme
- Pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven at 180 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit.
- Slice the eggplant along the length, about 75-mm [1/3 inch] thickness.
- Brush with a little oil on both sides, then place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes or until half cooked.
- Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.
Prepare the tempeh
- Slice the tempeh into slices of less than 1 cm [2/5 inch]. Heat 1 – 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Place tempeh in the skillet and fry until crispy on one side, then flip and fry until crispy. Flip again, then add the liquid smoke, soy sauce and salt to taste (if needed). Let the tempeh absorb the liquid. Flip and continue cooking until the tempeh is crispy again. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Make the creamy sauce
- Blend the tofu, non-dairy milk, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast and kala namak (or salt).
- Add in the fried tempeh, sliced mushrooms, arugula (roquette leaves) and herbs (thyme and basil). Stir and mix well.
Assemble the quiche
- Remove the eggplant from the oven and line a 20-cm / 8-inch baking tray. Arrange the bottom rounded part of the eggplant around the top to make a pretty edge.
- Pour the sauce-vegetable mix into the pan and spread out evenly.
- Cover the pan with some foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until the quiche is firm. The creamy centre should not be runny. If it is, leave the quiche to bake for some more time.
- Once out of the oven, let the quick cool before slicing. You will get a much cleaner cut once it is cooled.
- Use sliced potatoes instead of eggplant for the crust.
- For a traditional pastry crust – check out this oil-based shortcrust pastry recipe – (https://veganlovlie.com/oil-based-vegan-shortcrust-pastry/).
- Use spinach instead of arugula.
- To reduce the baking time: Saute the mushrooms and dry out some of their moisture before adding them to the cream.