The Ploughman’s ‘Pie’
So I got the idea to turn a baked frittata into a pie from someone on Instagram.
Wish I could remember who it was so I could give credit where it is due!
Anyway I love how the almond crust transforms this baked eggs and cheese into something more decadent and pie-like. Although since it doesn’t have a lid I guess technically it’s a tart!
If you’re not familiar, a ploughman’s lunch is normally a plate of cheese, ham, mustard and pickles served with crusty bread.
Love using these hearty flavours in a more low carb-friendly way.
If you don’t mind an extra ingredient, mixing wholegrain mustard with an equal part of mayonnaise makes a killer sauce.
enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes
net carbs: 10g per serve
100g (3.5oz) almond meal or almond flour
100g (3.5oz) cheddar or other cheese, grated
100g (3.5oz) ham
1 bag salad, to serve
mustard, to serve
1. Turn your oven to 200C (400F). Line the base and sides of a 24cm (9in) spring form pan with baking paper. If you can’t be bothered you can just grease but the eggs do like to stick!
2. Spread almond meal over the base of your prepared pan. Mix eggs, cheese and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Pour egg mixture over the almond meal.
3. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the eggs are set and the pie is puffing up and slightly golden.
4. Serve wedges with ham, mustard and salad leaves.
WINE MATCH: A big gutsy red like Shiraz or Cabernet.
Variations & Substitutions
nut-free – use ground sunflower seeds or a mix of ground sunflower and flax seeds (linseeds). Or if you don’t mind the carbs soft bread crumbs will be OK. Or you can skip the base and turn it into a frittata instead.
no almond meal / flour – you can make your own using whole almonds in the food processor or use finely chopped walnuts or flaked (thinly sliced) almonds. Or see the nut-free options.
dressed salad – toss your leaves in a quick dressing of 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of your fave vinegar.
keto / ultra low carb – for a lower carb option reduce the almond meal and replace cheddar with Parmesan. And use mayo instead of mustard.
vegetarian – skip the ham or replace with pickles, sun dried tomatoes or roast / grilled veg. Mushrooms are especially good!
dairy-free – replace cheese with extra ham or roast or grilled veg or halved cherry tomatoes and serve with dairy-free pesto.
more substantial (carb lovers) – it’s pretty substantial as is. Serve with Ultimate Roast Spuds, boiled potatoes, hot buttered toast or crusty bread + butter. Or use the pie as a sandwich filling.
more substantial (low carb) – larger slices, make a mustard mayo (equal parts wholegrain mustard and mayonnaise). Add more ham, cheese or some walnutes. Or serve with pickles or sauerkraut.
low FODMAP – skip the almond meal and turn it into a frittata.
more vegetables – add in any cooked veg you have. Or halved cherry tomatoes. Especially delicious with grilled pappers or cooked artichokes. Or serve with pickles, sauerkraut or other fermented veg.
different protein – you really need the eggs here but the cheese can be changed as per the variations above. Smoked salmon, salami, cooked bacon, cooked chorizo, prosciutto or hot smoked trout make a lovely alternative to the ham.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
almond meal or almond flour / mustard – keep them in the pantry.
eggs – will keep in the fridge for weeks or use for another meal.
cheese – most hard and melting cheeses will keep for weeks wrapped in waxed paper or baking paper and stored in an airtight container (or sealed ziplock bag) in the fridge. If you need to store for longer cheese can be frozen.
ham – freeze it.
salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt. And mustard!
too dry – you’ve overcooked it. It’s OK. For now just mix the mustard with some mayo or drizzle over some peppery extra virgin olive oil. Next time check earlier.
no oven – skip the almond meal and cook the cheese and egg mixture in a non stick frying pan (20cm / 8in). Warm the pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and the egg mixture. Cook gently until the egg is just set. If the top is taking too long you can finish it under a grill if you have one or carefully slide the frittata onto a plate and flip it over and slide back into the pan to finish cooking the top. Or make cheesy scrambled eggs by stirring the mixture until it sets.
no 24cm (9in) springform pan – an oven proof frying pan will work – line with baking paper to make it easy to serve. If you only have a smaller pan reduce the amount of almond meal so it isn’t too thick on the bottom of the pan (use your judgement)
base not crispy – the almond meal crust isn’t supposed to be crisp, more of a soft bready contrast to the cheesey eggy filling.
base dry and crumbly – did you use the correct size pan? If it’s too small the almond meal will be too thick and will end up dry and crumbly – it’s all about the amount of surface area. For now, either discard the excess almond meal or sprinkle it over the salad leaves for extra flavour.
salad bland / dry – toss leaves in a quick dressing (1 tablespoon vinegar + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil) and a little salt.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the ham, mustard and salad separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. Don’t freeze. Serve chilled or at room temp. I like to dice up leftovers and pan fry them in a little butter to use in salads or on soups.