How do you start your day?  Toast and coffee?  Bowl of cereal?  Smoothie? Drive-through Egg Muffin? Or, heaven forbid, nothing at all?

Some of us need no-brainer food to start the day.  A hard-boiled egg and an apple have become my “first food” of choice, because I don’t have to negotiate with my appetite, and I can quickly get on with whatever the day has to offer. It gets a little boring after a while, though.

Here is a “plan ahead” recipe that offers options for customization.  Crustless Cottage Cheese Quiche is a high protein, low(ish) carb dish that can assume a number of identities.  Prepared in an 8 or 9-inch square pan, it yields 9 to 16 portions that make an excellent company brunch, with easily packaged leftovers for future consumption (yes, it does freeze).  Prepared in a larger pan, warmed squares can be sandwiched between slices of whole-grain toast for a significant breakfast sandwich. Egg Muffin rounds can be prepared in your very own muffin pan, and you’ll save a fortune outwitting the drive-through outlets.

Kari made little quiches in muffin pans (another recipe, same idea), adding different ingredients to each one so no two were quite the same.  Brilliant.  You can customize this recipe in exactly the same way.  She called them “Breakfast Hand Pies”. I call them an excellent idea.

What are you waiting for?

Crustless Cottage Cheese Quiche


The small amount of flour in this recipe prevents liquid from weeping away from the quiche mixture as it bakes.  Don’t leave it out! Feel free to cut the recipe in half, if your freezer capacity is limited or you just don’t want that much quiche hanging around.

The Base:

  • 2 cups cottage cheese – any level of fat you want (that’s one 500g tub) (You can use ricotta cheese, if you prefer)
  • 4 large eggs  (You can use a cup of all whites if you absolutely have to, but it’s less than an egg per portion, so live a little. “Egg Beaters” type products work very well – use about a cup.)
  • ¼ cup flour (you can use gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

The Options:

½ to 1 cup flavorful cheese, less if it’s parmesan, asiago or blue, more if it’s cheddar or feta.  This is a good recipe for using up left-over cheese that’s looking for a new adventure.  and/or…

Up to 1 cup finely diced additional meat, which could be ham, crisp-cooked bacon or pancetta, cooked sausage, hot-smoked salmon, smoked turkey – use your imagination, but make it match the cheese (like corned beef and swiss, salami and provolone…) and/or…

Up to 1 cup finely diced COOKED vegetable, which could be spinach (squeezed dry), asparagus, peppers, blanched broccoli or cauliflower (did I mention it’s the new kale?), onions, mushrooms, even zucchini.  Sun-dried tomatoes are great.  Raw vegetables will give off water during baking, so cook and drain them well before adding them to the base.  This is a good place for left-over roasted vegetables of any kind.  …and…

Additional seasonings, as dictated by other ingredients.  I always put in a shot of hot sauce and about ½ tsp of my favorite no-salt herb/garlic/onion blend.  Mustard goes well with ham and cheddar.  A bit of lemon zest is great with spinach and feta, along with a hint of garlic.  Herbs!  Red Pepper Flakes!   If you’re planning to use your quiche as breakfast-sandwich-filling, keep it plain enough that it can be used with a wide variety of additional ingredients.


Put the base ingredients (cottage cheese, eggs, flour, salt and pepper) in a blender or food processor and blitz until
the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. An immersion blender will do a pretty good job if you don’t have a jar-blender.  You can whisk everything together by hand, but it’s going to be lumpy – still edible, but not quite as attractive.

Stir the additional ingredients of your choice into the base by hand.  You want a little texture to tell you what you’re eating.

Pour everything into a non-stick-foil-lined 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.  The lining helps with clean removal from the pan after cooking and cooling.

If you’re planning breakfast sandwiches, use a 9 x 13-inch pan. Keep your base mix pretty plain, so you can gussy up your sandwich as the spirit moves you.  I cut the pan into three columns of four squares (12 servings), which I wrap individually and freeze.  They heat up at half-power in the microwave pretty quickly.  Put a paper towel under your quiche, as it will inevitably give off a little water while reheating.

Why half power? If you use full power, heating will be uneven, especially if you started with frozen quiche.  Over-heated quiche resembles a cross between shoe leather and a burned sponge.  Be prepared to take the 4 minutes or so (check after 2) at half power for a better result.  It will take you that long to assemble the rest of the ingredients anyway.

In this case, I added extra cheese, a nice layer of guacamole, and tomatoes.  This one is on brown toast, but I could have put the elements together, buttered or mayonnaise-ed the outside and grilled it.  Infinite possibilities.

You can use Texas (or extra-large) muffin pans, lining the bottom of each with parchment, with good results.  The cute round pucks fit into toasted English Muffins very nicely.  If your appetite is smaller, use a regular muffin pan.  If you’re planning to eat them as hand pies, make them thicker.

Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven until set.  The time will vary depending on how many options you chose to add in, and how big the pan is.  My loaded 8-inch dish (lots of spinach) took almost 45 minutes.  My more plain-jane mix in a 9 x 13 inch pan took just over 30 minutes.  The Texas Muffins took just under 30 minutes.  “Puffed and firm” is a good sign of done-ness, but you can check the set by inserting a knife in the centre – it should come out clean.  If you have an instant-read thermometer, and your layer of quiche is quite thick, you can be sure it’s done if it registers between 165° and 185°F in the middle of the middle (probe in on an angle to get to the middle of the mix).

If you’re making this for family brunch, you can eat your quiche once it has cooled for about 15 minutes.  It comes out of the oven all puffy, but settles as it cools.  If you cut it immediately,  it will fall apart.

Add some fruit, and it’s brunch. Add a green salad instead of the fruit, and suddenly it’s dinner.

It’s nice to have planned-overs in your freezer for those times when putting together something nutritious seems like a big chore. Single servings make great take-to-work lunches too, if you have a microwave available — make sure to put a folded paper towel in the bottom of your container to minimize “quiche sweat”.  Half-power rules still apply.

You’re welcome!