Crustless spinach quiche is a delicious low-carb option for breakfast or brunch. Each slice has sauteed vegetables, cheese, and of course, a creamy egg custard.
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This crustless quiche features a tender egg filling but without the buttery pie crust. This recipe is low-carb and keto-friendly, with only minor modifications to my classic quiche recipe. Don’t worry. This version still has loads of flavor!
To pack each slice with healthy nutrients, I add a variety of colorful vegetables. To enhance the neutral spinach base’s taste, I use bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and caramelized onions for a tasty combination. Simply saute, pour, and bake for an irresistible meal to start the day.
For quick and easy preparation, use frozen chopped spinach. It’s great to have on hand whenever you’re craving spinach dip. The leaves can be placed in a colander at room temperature or defrosted with cool water until no longer icy.
Make sure to squeeze out as much water as possible. You don’t want excess moisture; otherwise, the quiche will get soggy. If using fresh spinach, roughly chop 6 cups (8 ounces) to replace 10 ounces of frozen. Saute the spinach until wilted. There should be about 1 cup.
Saute the vegetables
Vegetables are high in moisture, and if added raw to the quiche, they will make the texture runny. Sauteing evaporates the water in the cell walls, and adds new, complex flavors. To bring out the naturally sweet notes of chopped onions, saute them first in the hot olive oil. The moisture and natural sugars will get drawn to the surface and caramelize over time. Briefly cook the red bell peppers so that they still have a slightly crisp texture.
Mushrooms contain about 85% moisture, so cooking them down reduces the volume and water content. Minced garlic adds earthly elements and only needs to briefly cook to tame the spicy taste. The spinach warms in the pan to remove any excess surface moisture. Chopped sun-dried tomatoes add a lovely concentrated sweetness that’s mixed in at the very end.
Use two types of Italian cheese for melt-ability and a punch of flavor. A shredded low moisture mozzarella (about 45%) has good stretchiness, which binds the ingredients. The taste is very salty but mild. Therefore, I add some drier, nutty aged parmesan cheese.
How to make the custard filling
Equal amounts of heavy cream and whole milk provide the extra milkfat needed for a smooth custard. I reduced the amounts from traditional quiche recipes to prevent it from being too soft or watery.
You can substitute half-and-half but has slightly less fat. Whole eggs provide extra protein for coagulation and a slightly firmer texture. A simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and nutmeg prevents a bland taste.
Layer the ingredients
Use a 9-inch pie plate, and make sure it’s greased for easier release of the slices. For an even distribution of the ingredients, I like to add half of the mozzarella cheese, followed by the spinach mixture, the remaining shredded cheese and parmesan.
Let the whisked egg mixture settle into the spaces in between the ingredients. I use a fork to help move the liquid around and bring some of the colorful pieces to the surface for a prettier visual appeal.
Use a moderate oven temperature of 350-degrees to set the custard filling. Too high of heat will cook the edges too quickly and dry it out before the center is done. Whole eggs start to coagulate and become firm around 144ºF (62ºC). For scrambled eggs this happens in minutes.
However, the fat globules in the dairy products prevent the egg proteins from packing so tightly together so that the texture is more tender. Target around 190 to 200-degrees for the right set-up temperature. This process takes about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the quiche cool on a rack for about 5 to 10 minutes to complete carryover cooking.
Serve this with
Making a sturdy but tender crustless quiche
Traditional baked quiches take advantage of the sturdy pie crust to help hold the shape. The shell enables a rich, soft, and creamy custard. But with no exterior shell, I had to rebalance the recipe so that the egg mixture holds together when cut but was still tender and not dry and rubbery. I use a ratio of 2 ½ eggs for every ½ cup of dairy for firmer egg protein coagulation.
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Crustless Spinach Quiche
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
- 4 ounces brown mushrooms, ⅛-thick slices, 1 ½ cups sliced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, packed
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 5 large eggs
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat to 350°F (177°C).
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil. Add the onions, saute until translucent and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper, saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute until most of the moisture releases, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the drained, chopped spinach and saute to remove excess moisture, about 1 minute. Season mixture with ½ teaspoon salt. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes, stir to combine, 30 seconds.
- Grease a 9-inch pie dish with baking spray or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the bottom of the dish. Transfer the spinach mixture to the pie dish, spreading evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese on top.
- 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. Use a fork to gently move some of the ingredients to help the custard settle. You may not use all of the custard mixture, depending on the depth of the dish. 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. You want the center just set and 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 in 15 to 30 seconds intervals on high power until warmed through.
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