If you need to get a meal on the table, a frittata is a great solution. It has all of the appeal of a quiche, without the fuss of a crust.
A vegetable-filled frittata solves the weeknight meal. All you need is a hunk of baguette and a side salad and you're set. Leftovers can become breakfast or lunch, too, or be stuffed into a sandwich to eat on the go.
This bright green Spinach and Thyme Frittata is sure to please your family. For those who are strictly plant-based in their diet, there's an option that uses chickpea flour instead of eggs.
This recipe adds one twist to save time and labor: the blender. Instead of chopping the spinach, you'll let the appliance do the work. It's like making a green smoothie and then baking it.
Once you master the frittata, you have a template for a flexible meal. Vegetables and eggs go into a pan and then you have dinner. You can add cheese, too, if you like, or consider 2 to 3 cups of leftover cooked veggies in place of the spinach.
Eggs have always been the go-to protein for fast, meatless meals. But if you are cutting back, there is a delicious way to make frittatas and quiches without the egg. Chickpea flour and water, blended and seasoned, will bake to a sliceable texture. A touch of turmeric gives the dish the yellow tint of egg yolks. Thanks to your handy blender, the green of the spinach makes the final product nearly indistinguishable from the egg-based version. It's also gluten-free, so put this one in your recipe file for a fast solution when you are cooking for anyone who avoids wheat.
For some depth of flavor, start by sautéing an onion with some fresh thyme. In a pinch, a teaspoon of dried thyme can stand in for fresh. Either the eggs or chickpea mixture go into the blender with the spinach, where a few pulses are all you need to mince the leaves and mix it all up. Add the softened onions and pulse just to mix, and pour it all into the pie pan.
By the time you set the table and pour a glass of wine, you'll have an elegant meal.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of "Big Vegan" and "Plant-Based Meats." Find her at robinasbell.com.