Thursday, January 27, 2022

Butternut Squash in a Quiche

I'm a firm believer that you can put almost anything savory in a quiche. If you look at the index of recipes, you'll see that I've made quite a few variations. The first quiche I ever made was quiche lorraine, a classic for a reason. Now that I only have one kind of cheese that I cook or bake with (almond milk ricotta), the frequency of making quiche has gone down. Still, every once in a while I feel the need, and this time it was joined by the need to use up some recently roasted butternut squash.

In case you don't have any roasted butternut squash in your fridge, let me remind you how easy it is to make. You take a butternut squash, any size really, and carefully cut it in half from stem to blossom end. You scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in the seed cavity, line a baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray, then put both squash halves on the foil, cut side down. Roast at 450 degrees F until the squash is tender. I check by poking a sharp knife into the should slide in easily. Let the squash cool, peel it, and you are ready to use it. 

This quiche is a nice combination of slices of the butternut squash, slices of cooked Italian sausage, some lightly steamed miners lettuce (or spinach), chopped, and a custard flavored with Italian seasoning and thyme, salt and pepper. You layer the ingredients into a blind-baked pie crust, then pour in the custard and bake. Pretty easy and quite good. You could even use a frozen pie crust. I actually use the pre-made pie dough circles found in the market (Pillsbury ReadyCrusts in my case). Using pre-made pie dough makes this go together very quickly and this kind of quiche is always a hit.

So this is the first time that I've picked and used miners lettuce. It grows wild on our property and this is the perfect time of year to use it, before it flowers. I have a planter that's high enough so the lettuce is pristine and it's also easier to pick being a little higher. My knees have been bothering me lately, so kneeling down to pick greens isn't happening! Still, it's nice to be able to use farm fresh greens in the quiche. Miner's lettuce is pretty mild in flavor, but you can tell it's there. I mixed it into the custard, so a lot of it floated to the top. As you can see from the bottom photo, it cooks down quite a bit...I may have less than 1/2 cup here, but close to that amount.

Tip: If you use a pound of dried beans as pie weights as I do, save them once they have cooled off and you can use them again and again as pie weights...just don't plan on cooking them to eat. At about a dollar and a half for a bag of dried beans, it sure beats the almost $9 you would pay for Pie Weights from King Arthur or a similar amount at Sur la Table.

Quiche with Miner's Lettuce, Butternut Squash and Bacon

1 9inch pie shell, blind baked at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes (recipe follows)

½ cup cooked, chopped and drained miner's lettuce or baby spinach, leaves only
½ cup ricotta cheese, crumbled
½ small butternut squash, roasted, skinned, and sliced thinly
1 cooked Italian sausage, sliced
3 eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)
1 ½ cups evaporated milk, or light cream, or soy creamer
¼ teaspoon salt
dash pepper
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pie shell with the ricotta cheese, distributing evenly. Place the butternut quash slices evenly over the other ingredients. Distribute the sliced sausage evenly over the ingredients in the pie shell.  Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the milk and beat with a fork to combine, add the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, thyme, and steamed and chopped miner's lettuce, and beat with a fork to combine.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the ingredients in the pie shell. Place in the preheated oven and bake 30-45 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting to serve.
Serves 6-8

Pastry Pie Shell

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until particles the size of dried peas are formed.

In a small bowl mix together the egg, ice water and lemon juice (if using). Sprinkle over the flour mixture and toss with a fork lightly. Do not over mix. Gather the particles together in a ball. Wrap airtight and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface until large enough to fill a 9 inch pie pan with some overlap.

Fit into a 9 inch pie pan, smooth to fit, trip excess , tuck edges under and crimp as for any pie crust. Prick lightly all over the surface with a fork. Freeze 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover with a circle of parchment paper. Fill the paper with beans or pie weights (blind baking the crust).

Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove and save the beans or pie weights. Fill with filling as called for in recipes needing a pie shell.


  1. WOW, I've never eaten miner's lettuce in anything but salad, so this is intriguing! I'm beginning to be limited in the greens I can eat due to oxalic acid content, and I read that miiner's lettuce has it in pretty toxic levels for my system - much like my beloved sorrel - so many of the foraged foods I can't eat anymore, boo - but I'm glad you're doing it!

  2. Tanita, I'm not supposed to eat much oxalic containing foods either, but this had a tiny amount per serving so I went with it. My cooked amount was probably less than the recipe called for, but that spring like acidity was what I wanted, particularly to offset the relatively bland butternut squash. It would still be tasty without it.