This veggie quiche with swiss chard is one of the most classical variations of a Ligurian torta salata, a savory pie extremely popular in my home region. It’s a very traditional dish that can easily be found in every deli and every inland restaurant, and sometimes even in bakeries. In fact, here in Liguria we have a long tradition for savory pies, so much that the oldest record dates back to the Middle Ages.
Italian Torte salate are quite similar to French quiches (like this one by Mary Devinat), but are generally lighter and more filled with veggies. They are usually prepared as a party dish or a starter and are one of the most common items served along with an aperitivo. This said, they can also be eaten as a main dish, and are really popular as a take-away lunch for work.
As I was saying, this veggie quiche is probably the most common torta salata we have here in Liguria, a great classic that every home cook knows how to make. However, there are actually endless variations on the theme, so many in fact, that according to my lovely grandmother, you can make a savory pie with basically anything you have in your fridge: the only limit is your imagination! Just to give you an example, you could simply take this recipe and replace the swiss chard with any other greens you have on hand, like spinach, leeks, artichokes or zucchini. It will taste amazing nonetheless!
Finally, a big plus of this pie is that you can easily prepare it in advance, store it into the cold oven and eat it whenever you are ready. In fact, this is one of those great dishes that tastes even better the day after. Even more, you don’t have to reheat it, as it’s usually served cold.
Italian Veggie Quiche with Swiss Chard (Torta Salata)
- 1 big bunch swiss chard, around 2 pounds
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 large eggs
- 1 package store-bought puff pastry (approx 14 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Bring a medium pot of unsalted water to a boil.
- Cut swiss chard stems into 1/4-inch pieces and leaves into bigger chunks. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, thinly slice the onion.
- Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and fry onion slices until soft and translucent.
- Once swiss chard is ready, drain in a colander and squeeze out any extra liquid with a spoon. Transfer it into the pan together with the onion, toss for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.
- Add Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, a dash of salt and pepper, and 3 of the eggs. Mix everything together.
- Place puff pastry into a 10-inch baking pan or pie plate.
- Pour in the vegetable and cheese mixture into the baking pan, and even the surface with the help of a wooden spoon.
- Finally, beat the remaining egg and brush it on top of the quiche.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.
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