I am here to give thanks with this elegant and soy-free Spinach Chickpea Quiche, baked inside a delicious whole-wheat crust.
Thanksgiving brings with it each year an opportunity for contemplation and revisiting the things, good and not so good, that have made up our lives over the past year. It has been a mixed bag for us. Earlier this year, we lost my darling Opie to a heart ailment. Every dog lover will tell you of that one special dog that changed their lives, the one they loved above every other beloved pet. For me, that dog was Opie. My heart aches each time I think of him, and I still find it hard to believe he’s gone. I am thankful Opie came into our lives, bringing with himself a lot of unpredictability, charm, sweetness, love and joy. I might never get over him, but I will never stop being grateful I had a chance to cuddle him and share my home with him for 13 years.
This year, we added two new family members: Lily, a dog rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico, and Billy, a cat rescued from the streets of Norfolk, Virginia. Lily is a special needs dog who possibly faced horrible abuse on the streets in her early life (the left side of her sweet face shows signs of trauma, like a severe blow to the head), and we continue to work with her on issues that range from an extreme fear of strangers to refusing to allow even Desi and I to pick her up. It makes for some interesting times when we have to make a visit to the vet, but Lily’s slowly coming around. I am thankful she is now with us and will never again have to face a difficult life on the streets.
I am thankful for Billy who is the feline version of Opie: cool as a cucumber, curious as anything, handsome, dapper and incredibly lovable. When he’s not trying to run out the front door or hunting mice in the basement, he is curled up somewhere on a blanket, fast asleep or grooming himself. There’s nothing in our home that Billy has not knocked off and tried to play with — including my computer CPU that he once managed to crash off the table and to the floor. He can be a royal pain at times, but I can’t imagine life without his purring, elegant presence around.
I am thankful for Jay, our human son, who has been with us for two years now. Jay made our family complete. Our time together has not been without its struggles and difficulties, but it has also been a time of growing together and learning to love. When we brought him home from India, just days before Thanksgiving 2014, Jay was a six-year-old who could only speak Marathi, the language spoken by natives of Bombay, where the orphanage was. Now, at eight-and-a-half, he is a third grader who speaks fluent English and reads voraciously, especially non-fiction books about trains, planes and whales. He no longer talks constantly about life at the orphanage like he once did; his friends at school now occupy his mind and dominate his conversations. He even has a little crush on a girl named Maeve and will report to me each time she says hello. 🙂
For Desi, the love of my life, I am thankful every day. And I am thankful to all of you, the readers, cooks and animal lovers, who have been such an invaluable part of my life for the last nine years that I’ve been writing this blog. I am thankful for the love of cooking and eating compassionately and healthfully that we all share. And I am thankful for all those messages of love and encouragement I have received from you over the years. It is what keeps me cooking and writing late into the nights, even when I’d rather just watch TV. 🙂
What are you thankful for this year? I’d love to hear.
A happy Thanksgiving to all!
And now for that Spinach Chickpea Quiche.
More recipes to try:
- For the crust: 2 medium potatoes boiled, peeled, and finely mashed, use any kind
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour can use regular whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Cold water
- For the filling: 1 cup besan chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup cashews soaked 30 minutes in 1 cup of water
- 5 oz of frozen spinach thawed in the microwave for two minutes (If using fresh, use a small bunch)
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- Make the crust: Mix the flour, potatoes and salt in a bowl and drizzle in the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together.
- Wrap tightly in cling wrap, pressing with your palms as you to to shape the dough into a disc. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
- Make the filling: Place the cashews in the blender along with the soaking water and blitz to get a smooth paste.
- Add the chickpea flour to the blender along with salt and rosemary and 1/2 cup of water.
- Blend into a smooth cream and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet and add the cumin and garlic. Saute for a few seconds until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
- Add the red pepper flakes and turmeric. Stir well to coat with the oil.
- Add the frozen, thawed spinach, stir, cover with a lid, and cook over medium-low heat about 5-7 minutes or until the spinach is cooked.
- Stir in the carrots and heat through for another two minutes.
- Add salt to taste. Stir in the parsley and turn off the heat.
- Let the mixture cool a little, then stir into the cashew cream-chickpea mixture.
- Assemble the quiche:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the crust, roll out the disc of dough on a clean, floured surface into a round large enough to cover the bottom and inside of an 8-inch tart pan or plate.
- Fold the dough in half and transfer to the tart pan, then unfold and press into the corners with your fingers to fit it evenly into the tart pan. Cut out any overhanging dough with a knife or by rolling over the top of the pan with a rolling pin and then pulling out the extra dough with your fingers.
- Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the crust.
- Place the baking sheet with the tart pan into the oven and bake 45 minutes or until the center is set and firm to the touch.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a rack 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.