One of my favorites dishes to make is spinach quiche. This recipe that I like calls for a refrigerated ready crust and frozen spinach. Several years ago, as I continued on my journey to use less plastic, I stopped buying frozen spinach as it came packaged in not one but two plastic bags. I must have made this decision when there was fresh spinach available at the local green grocers. Buying fresh greens instead is the easiest and most obvious way to cut down the amount of plastic, as long as we REFUSE the plastic bags provided and remember to bring our own. But at that point, we had that habit down. So it was an easy step to replace the frozen spinach with fresh plastic-free spinach.
But then I had a craving for this quiche and there was no fresh spinach in town. With my husband’s reassurance (he’s usually the one doing the cooking in our kitchen), I made the quiche, replacing the spinach with fresh mulukheiyah (a mallow). I was hesitant about this replacement at first because the Egyptian dish that is made with this green often has a slimy texture that puts me off a bit. The quiche, however, was delicious!
With that success, it became easier to substitute different fresh greens in various recipes, depending on what was available at the green grocers. Whenever my husband buys beets with their greens still in good shape, I make this Pasta with Beet Greens and Blue Cheese. But those greens are not always available, so I have made this pasta with both fresh mulukheiyah and spinach. These aren’t as flavorful as the beet greens in this recipe but it still makes a quick, tasty meal.
In the intense summertime heat of Dahab, though, it’s rare to find nice fresh greens on the market. Not a leaf of spinach or mallow to be seen anywhere! Lucky for us, several weeks ago Habiba Organic Farm returned to our weekly Community Market at Sheikh Salem. And on their table were baskets full of beautiful fresh greens – leaves of the Moringa tree! A new green to try in my quiche! I didn’t even need a bag, I just walked away with the green bouquet in my hands.
Getting the leaves off the stems took a bit time, but I am not that picky and did not mind if a few of the small stems fell off with the leaves. Otherwise, I followed my usual recipe and the resulting quiche was another delicious success! Actually, I found the moringa quiche tastier than the mulukheiyah so I plan to experiment more with these moringa greens, especially since they are local, organic, super-nutritious, and available PLASTIC-FREE! 🙂
I encourage you to do the same. If you are using frozen vegetables in your meals, search the shelves and see what fresh greens or vegetables are available that might make a tasty replacement. Have fun and get creative! And remember to bring your own reusable bag so you can REFUSE the plastic ones.
As for the crust, I’ve always made my own (I don’t even know if frozen ones are available here in Dahab.) and I particularly like this Olive Oil Tart Crust. Making this recipe with less plastic is easy if you purchase flour in bulk using your own reusable bag or container and buy olive oil in glass bottles or metal jerkins. I have yet to find a solution for salt though. I’ve only ever seen it in plastic bags so if you know a plastic-free alternative available here in Dahab, please share it with us in the comments.
Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle