Crustless broccoli quiche is the perfect low-carb breakfast to start your day! The recipe is easy, and sauteing the veggies adds tons of flavor that complement the creamy custard filling.
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Who says eating your veggies has to be boring? This crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche is delicious and easy to share. It also makes for effortless morning meal prep. For maximum flavor, I season and saute the vegetables before baking with the eggs.
Without the structure of a pie crust shell, I designed the recipe so that the egg mixture would be firm enough to cut into slices but tender in texture. Shreds of cheddar cheese melt and infuse its flavor into the dish for a tasty breakfast or brunch.
I use fresh broccoli and cut the florets down into small pieces, about ¾-inch in size. Bite-sized chunks cook quickly and are easier to eat. You can use frozen broccoli, however, make sure to defrost and shake off as much moisture as possible. They are typically blanched (partially cooked) before freezing, so their texture will be softer than fresh.
Crustless quiche vs. frittata
Both are similar in that they use a savory egg base to create a sliceable structure. Quiche usually contains dairy products like cream or milk for a smooth souffle-like texture, whereas frittatas may not. Quiche typically bakes in a pie dish, while the frittata ingredients cook and bake in the same skillet.
Use sharp cheddar cheese to add more depth in flavor. The additional aging yields a slightly tangier and complex taste. The shreds melt and help bind the ingredients together. Other cheeses like low moisture mozzarella, gruyere, Monterey jack, swiss, or smoked gouda are great alternatives to switch things up.
Saute the vegetables for better flavor
Sauteing diced red onions add slightly sweet caramelized flavors to the quiche. The chopped broccoli florets also briefly cook using the dry heat method to promote light browning on the surface for a better taste.
Seasoning it with salt helps to draw out the moisture so that it doesn’t dilute the egg mixture or make it watery. Sauteing the minced garlic at the end of cooking adds a burst of savory aromatics to the filling.
How to make the egg custard filling
To make a sturdy, yet tender base, use a higher ratio of eggs to cream and milk. I find that for every ½ cup of liquid, use 2 ½ large eggs. This combination is more than double the amount typically used in a traditional quiche with a pie crust. With no crust, you have to increase the amount of egg proteins for structure. For a simple seasoning, whisk in salt, black pepper, and grated nutmeg.
Layer the ingredients
Use a greased 9-inch pie plate for baking. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese, top with the warm broccoli mixture, then the remaining cheese. This procedure ensures that the ingredients distribute evenly. Pour the egg mixture over the top, then allow the liquid to seep in between components and down to the baking dish’s bottom. I like to use a fork to move the ingredients around to help the custard settle.
The importance of baking temperature
Use a moderate oven temperature of 350-degrees to bake the quiche. The egg proteins start to quickly cook once it reaches the coagulation temperature of 144ºF (62ºC). However, the milk’s fat coats the egg proteins and creates tiny buffers that prevent the curds from binding too tightly together.
You don’t want the edges to cook too fast. Otherwise, they’ll dry out before the center firms up. The gentle temperature will create a smooth custard consistency. I let the dish cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to complete carryover cooking.
Serve this with
Use two types of dairy in the custard
Equal amounts of heavy cream and whole milk add just the right amount of milkfat to keep a creamy texture in the custard without tasting too rich. Combined, there is about 20% fat to create a smooth egg mixture. You can substitute half-and-half, but it has a slightly lower amount of fat, about 18%.
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Crustless Broccoli Quiche
- Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat to 350°F (177°C).
- Grease a 9-inch pie dish with baking spray or brush with olive oil.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, saute until lightly browned and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Turn the heat off.
- Evenly sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese into the greased pie dish. Top with the sauteed broccoli mixture, followed by the remaining cheese.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie dish, allowing it to settle around the ingredients and to the bottom. Use a fork to move the ingredients to help the custard settle. Sprinkle the surface with some black pepper.
- Bake the quiche on top of a sheet pan in the middle of the oven until the surface is lightly golden brown, the center is just set, and the edges slightly puffy, about 30 to 35 minutes. The temperature should be about 190 to 195ºF (88 to 91ºC) in the center and about 195 to 200ºF (91 to 93ºC) on the edges.
- Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Slice or cool completely, cover, and refrigerate to serve the next day.
- Storing: Store pieces in an airtight container for up to 7 days. To freeze, Individually wrap the slices, then store them in a resealable bag for up to 30 days.
- Reheating: Reheat individual slices in the microwave at 15 to 30 seconds intervals on high power until warmed through.
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