Friday, 18 September 2009

Crustless Spinach & Tofu Quiche (Low-Carb and Gluten-Free)

This fitness challenge that my partner Arivind and I are on has really opened up my cooking repertoire, leading me to discover just how many uber healthy dishes there are out there which actually taste fantastic. I am thrilled to have found flavour-packed foods such as this which I would eat even on a normal unrestricted diet! :)

Believe it or not, crumbled tofu is a surprisingly effective and tasty cheese replacement in this high-protein, low-carb version of quiche. Feel free to use mushrooms, peppers or broccoli for alternative vegetarian flavours, or bacon and ham bits for meat eaters.

Crustless Spinach and Tofu Quiche
*makes one 8" round quiche, serves 4-6*

Dice 1 medium onion and saute in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and translucent.

Add 250g spinach (I used fresh leaves but frozen works too). Season well with salt and cook for about 10 mins or until dry, stirring occassionally. Drain off any excess liquid and spread into the base of an 8" deep round pie dish/casserole.

Beat together in a separate bowl to make custard:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% fat)
150g firm tofu, crumbled
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of white pepper
Salt to taste
Optional: Dash of cayenne/paprika

Pour custard over spinach and bake for 40 minutes at 190 C (180 C fan assisted) until set. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes at room temperature before loosening sides with a thin spatula and cutting into slices.

Low-Carb Almond Pancakes (Gluten-Free)

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OMG, what an amazing, delicious discovery. These are so incredibly simple to make, easily adapted to be sweet or savoury and so tasty I actually prefer them to regular carb-laden pancakes!

Ground almonds, thou art my new best friend.

Low-Carb Almond Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
*makes 6 small fluffy pancakes (about 4"), or 3-4 large thin ones

Combine all in a large bowl and stir briskly to form a batter:
2 cups (about 150-200g) ground almonds
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 or 2 tsp sweetener (depending on preference)
Salt to taste

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1 tsp of olive oil or just enough to swirl and lightly coat the base of the pan.

Pour in batter one small ladle at a time (if making large thin ones, spread batter out with back of ladle). Fry for about 1 minute or until bubbles start appearing on the top, then flip to cook the other side. Repeat until all batter is finished, adding more olive oil in between pancakes if necessary.

Serve immediately with whatever you want (I had it with fruit one morning and leftover curried lentils one night, both yum!)

*Other healthy low-carb ingredients you can chuck into your batter: cottage cheese, vanilla extract or other essences, lemon or orange juice/ zest, cinnamon/other spices of choice, unsweetened cocoa powder, chopped chives/other herbs of choice, chopped nuts, poppy seeds... or even crushed bacon bits if you're not concerned with fat :)