Kale, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Quiche {Sponsored Contest}

My trick for creating a creamy quiche without using cream? Create a quick bechamel-style sauce. Try it in this whole grain quiche filled with kale, mushrooms and Point Reyes blue cheese. 

“I received a gift card to offset the expense of my ingredients. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

If I could trade my everyday life with one other person (other than whoever Joseph Gordon-Levitt is currently dating), it would be my sister-in-law, Caroline. Living in Sonoma, she has the most beautiful wine country for her backyard. If she doesn't feel like cooking, she can pick from dozens of the best farm-to-table restaurants. Her weekends are spent surfing, hiking and sampling incredible wines from the hundreds of nearby vineyards. If that's not enough to make you jealous, her town is also the mecca of artisan cheese. They even have a cheese trail. A cheese trail! It's my happy place.

For this contest, we were instructed to lighten up favorite recipes using California dairy. But I'm kind of bad at following rules. Plus I generally buy whole or 2% (organic) dairy. So instead, I used California dairy to give a rich flavor and luxurious texture to an already healthy dish.

This recipe uses dairy in two different ways. First, I used my absolute favorite blue cheese, Point Reyes to add a hit of intense flavor. Point Reyes is made from grass fed cows raised on coastal pastures in California, which is said to impart a unique flavor to the cheese. It is luxuriously creamy, without the dry, crumbly texture of low quality blue cheese, and has the perfect amount of tang. Point Reyes blue cheese is aged five months, and hey, did you know aged cheese is actually good for you? Not just saying this to rationalize my love for cheese - it is actually the richest food source of vitamin K2, may have anti-inflammatory properties in the mold of blue cheese, and if it's made from grass fed dairy, it contains omega 3 fats.

I also used milk to make a quick bechamel-style sauce I mixed with the eggs. It gives the quiche a creamy, custard-like texture without using heavy cream. Really, you must try this in your next quiche!

With cheese, I always recommend buying quality, which allows you to get a lot of flavor with a small amount. The artisan cheeses produced in Sonoma are some of the best, so definitely look for them at the store.

Kale, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Quiche

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, brushed clean and quartered

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and cut into thin ribbons

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 frozen pie crust (I used Wholly Wholesome whole wheat pie crust)

  • 1/4 cup crumbled California blue cheese

  • Handful cherry tomatoes, halved

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute until mushrooms start to release their liquids, about 3 minutes. Add the kale and a couple tablespoons of water and cook until wilted, about 7 minutes. Add in a couple more tablespoons of water if it starts to get too dry.

  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small pot on medium heat. Add flour and whisk together. Cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, to take the raw edge off the flour, then whisk in milk and oregano. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, turn off heat and set aside to cool slightly.

  4. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and slowly pour in cooled sauce while whisking constantly.

  5. Spread vegetables evenly over the crust, sprinkle with blue cheese, then pour the egg mixture over the top. Scatter cherry tomatoes over the quiche, then bake for 30-35 minutes until set.