I got the idea from a friend’s Cooking Light post on Facebook. I was immediately intrigued since I love both spinach and sweet potatoes, and they are powerhouses of nutrition. However, the original recipe used some ingredients that made it somewhat more expensive than I recommend spending, so I made some adjustments to bring it more in line with my budget guidelines, and also to make it more family friendly.
That means in my family of hungry males that the entree has to be suitably filling. So, while the sweet potato is a delicious quiche ingredient, I am not convinced that it is a proper substitute for the crust. I just do not consider it to be in the same category as a regular wheat-based crust in terms of food groups.
I thought of just using a store-bought crust, which is definitely an easy option, and it would still have fallen within my budget parameters. But I decided to try something different, and chose instead to experiment with a potato layer as the crust. That’s a very affordable way to add a starch crust, and potatoes are also a great food source, all negative media to the contrary. Using them also keeps the recipe gluten free for anyone who has issues with that protein in their diet.
Even though it added a bit of extra prep time to slice the potato on the grater, I have to say I was quite pleased with the results. The quiche is delicious and a big hit with my family. So, by all means, if you are looking to save time, stick with a ready-made, store-bought crust, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, give the potato one a try.
This recipe calls for crumbled feta cheese. As any frugal person knows, that is by no means a budget item. But it’s possible to get feta on sale and in brick form to save money and keep the recipe in line with family budgets.
It’s a simple matter to crumble it yourself, and you can easily save half the per pound price of the crumbled variety by buying it whole. I was able to get a one-pound block of the cheese on sale for about $4. I then cut off a piece, diced it, and broke it up with my fingers to make about half a cup per quiche, as called for in the recipe.
Of course, since I now have this expensive ingredient on hand, I also plan to use it in other recipes within a short time so that it will not go to waste. I recommend that approach to most ingredients, and to the weekly meal plan. Always try to get more than one meal out of ingredients. It's both a time and cost savings. One recipe I use that calls for feta is my Pasta with Tomato, Spinach and Feta.
Another way I cut costs was to use frozen, chopped spinach, rather than the fresh spinach that the original recipe calls for. When I have my garden up and running, I can harvest fresh, baby spinach myself, but that's not an option for many people. In my neck of the woods, fresh spinach at the grocery store runs about $4-$9 per pound, whereas I can often find the frozen variety on sale for 99¢ a pound. It’s a no-brainer to use the less expensive option, particularly for recipes like this, where it makes no noticeable difference in the finished product.
This recipe makes two quiches, which is probably enough for 2 meals and some lunches in most households. Cooking in quantity is one way I get the most out of my time spent in the kitchen. You can easily halve it to make just one if you are a smaller household.
All in, this recipe costs about $10 and makes 8 generous servings, or $1.25 per serving. If you use store-bought crusts instead of the potatoes, the cost goes up to about $13, or about $1.65 per serving. With a nice tossed salad, the per-person cost is $1.75-$2.00.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 2 quiches for 8 generous servings (easily halved)
Prep Time - Approximately 20 minutes
Start to Finish Time - Approximately 70-90 minutes
Total Recipe Cost - Approximately $10
Total per person meal cost with tossed salad - Approximately $1.75
2 cups milk
2 large sweet potatoes
4-5 medium potatoes
2 ready-made pie crusts
1 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach
2/3 of a bag of frozen, chopped spinach
½ pound feta cheese or brick cheese of your choice
2 large onions
6 large cloves of garlic
3-4 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
Recipe continues after photos.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Grease the bottom and sides of two pie baking dishes using a paper towel or napkin dipped in oil.
- Wash and peel or scrub the 4-5 medium potatoes. Slice them quite thin, using a grater. Toss them in a bit of oil**. Layer and overlap them along the bottom and sides of the pie pans, trying to cover as much of the pan surface as possible. **Alternatively, you can use a brush and spread oil over them after you layer them. OR, if you are using pie crusts, roll the crusts out into the pans and press them carefully into the bottom and sides.
- Wash and peel the 2 large sweet potatoes and slice them thin. Toss them in a bit of oil or use a brush to spread oil over them after you layer them. Spread them on top of the potato or crust layer, overlapping them as much as possible.
- Continue by cutting the ends off the 2 large onions and peeling them. Cut them in half crosswise between the stems. Place the flat side of the onion face down on the cutting board and slice them thinly crosswise. Repeat with each onion half.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cut up onions. Stir them occasionally as you cook them for 6-10 minutes, until tender and translucent.
- Meanwhile, cut the tips off the 6 garlic cloves and peel them. Coarsely chop them. Add them to the onions for the last 2-3 minutes of cook time, stirring them often.
- While the onions and garlic are cooking, thaw the 10 ounces of frozen, chopped spinach in a microwavable dish or packaging for about 3 minutes on low power in the microwave. Drain the spinach in a colander or by squeezing it with your hand to remove excess water.
- Add the spinach to the onion and garlic mixture and stir to blend well. Allow to heat through for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the burner and set the mixture aside, away from direct heat.
- Mix the 2 cups of milk, the 12 eggs and the spices (2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt) in a large bowl and whisk or beat well together.
- Use your hands to crumble the a ½ pound of feta, or dice the ½ pound of other brick cheese (½-inch pieces)to make about 1 cup.
- Split the spinach and onion mixture between the two pies and spread it over the sweet potato layer.
- Carefully and gently pour half the egg-milk mixture into each pie pan over the spinach-onion mixture.
- Distribute the diced or crumbled cheese evenly over the top of the egg mixture.
- Place the quiche pans in the pre-heated oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes and check them then. The quiche is done when a knife can easily pierce all the layers through to the bottom without resistance and comes out clean. Add cooking time in 10 minute increments, if needed. Be sure to set the timer to remind yourself.
- Serve the quiche with a tossed salad for a colorful and delicious meal.