Vegan Savory Spring Tart with Grilled Asparagus, Kale and Strawberries (yep, strawberries in a savory quiche!)

Grilled Asparagus, Kale and Strawberry Quiche--Birdseye ViewYield: 8 servings

Beautiful plump, juicy strawberries–with their perfectly balanced sweet and tart notes–from Pungo, a local farming community and home to the Pungo Strawberry Festival–and fresh asparagus gave rise to this beautiful, simple, and simply delicious quiche.  When I removed it from the oven, even my husband said, “That’s pretty!”

Vegan Presto! Press-In Pie Crust

1 ½ cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour or half of each (I prefer all whole wheat)

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons sugar

½ cup canola oil

2 tablespoons plain or unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soymilk)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients, make a well, add wet ingredients, and stir together with a fork, just until combined.  Press the crust into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan with removable sides.  (Pressing with the bottom of a sturdy glass can be helpful in achieving a uniform thickness and neat appearance.) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set and slightly browned (or, if not making this quiche, bake according to the directions for whatever recipe you are making). Leave oven on when you remove the crust. Note: this crust, made with whole wheat flour, made beautiful, sturdy 4-inch tart crusts that held up perfectdly even when removed from the tart pans and slid off their removable bottoms.  I suspect the same would be true of mini-tarts made with my go-to choice of white whole wheat.

Grilled Asparagus, Kale and Strawberry Quiche--Slight Birdseye ViewVegan Grilled Asparagus, Kale and Strawberry Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, fairly finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

14 ounces extra firm tofu, drained

½ cup unsweetened or plain nondairy milk (I use soymilk)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons vegetable powder (or 1 vegetable bouillon cube, crumbled)

¾ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

¼ to ½ scant teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or grated vegan Parmesan cheese

2 cups lightly packed chopped kale

16 asparagus spears, trimmed to about 4 inches (the radius of the tart pan), grilled (I oil, lightly salt and grill in a grill pan over medium-high heat for about 12 minutes, turning occasionally)

8 strawberries, stemmed and halved

Optional garnish: 1 whole strawberry, white balsamic reduction (homemade or available in most grocery stores) and sunflower seeds

In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and saute, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute, stirring, for another minute.  Remove from heat.  Place all ingredients, including sauteed onion and garlic, except kale, grilled asparagus, strawberries, and optional garnishes, in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add kale, submerge it into the filling mixture with a spatula, and process again until kale is very finely chopped and well-distributed, but not pureed.  Scrape mixture into tart shell, lightly spreading to the edges of the tart and smoothing the top.  Arrange asparagus spears in evenly spaced spokes with the tips facing out.  Place strawberry halves, cut side up, between every other pair of asparugus spears, and bake tart for 35 minutes or until set.  Remove from oven, let rest 10 minutes on a wire rack, carefully remove sides, garnish with a whole berry in the center, and serve slices with a drizzle of white balsamic reduction and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.

Grilled Asparagus, Kale and Strawberry Quiche--Slice

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Vegan Savory Summer Tarts with Swiss Chard, Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes and Walnuts

Two Tarts--Bird's EyeYield: 6-5 inch tarts

A recipe in a summer issue of one of my culinary magazines for a quiche featuring zucchini, tomatoes and walnuts inspired this dish.  However, I had a bunch of local Swiss chard from our farmer’s market that needed used, so I finely chopped it and folded it into my vegan quiche batter.  This is summer satisfaction at its best and brightest!

And it has been so popular, I thought it would be nice to contribute to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck 3, an ingenious idea by An Unrefined Vegan.

6-5 inch blind-baked tart shells (recipe for Press-In Pie Crust  follows)

1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, and very finely chopped (I used a food processor for this task)

14 ounces extra-firm tofu (not Silken)

1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk or any unsweetened non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Zest of 1 small to medium lemon

1-2 tablespoons finely chopped basil or chiffonade (leaves stack, rolled, and thinly sliced)

18-1/4 inch thick zucchini slices, cooked (approximately 1 medium zucchini; I like to grill them in an indoor gill pan; but you can saute, broil or steam)

9 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

6 walnut halves and approximately 36 walnut pieces (but you don’t have to be that exacting)

Approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt divided among the 6 tarts

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Note:  if you make your own crusts, which I highly recommend–my recipe is quick and easy–just leave the oven set to 400 degrees.  Proceed with recipe while shells bake.  Place Swiss chard in a large bowl.  Rinse and dry food processor bowl and puree together until smooth tofu, soymilk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste.  Spoon mixture over Swiss chard, add lemon zest, and fold together until completely combined.  Divide filling evenly among tart shells.  On top of each, arrange 3 slices of zucchini, 3 cherry tomato halves, and 6 walnut pieces in a pinwheel design and place 1 walnut in the center.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, allow to cool just enough to remove tarts from pans, place tarts on serving plates, and drizzle each tart with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon coarse see salt.  Serve warm.

 

Press-In Pie Crust

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat, but you can also combine half all-purpose with half whole wheat)

2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (any granulated sugar is fine)

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

3/4 cup canola oil (or any neutral-tasting vegetable oil)

3 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk or anyunsweetened non-dairy milk

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place tart pans with removeable sides on a rimmed baking sheet.  Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the center, pour in wet ingredients, and stir with a fork just until a nice, moist dough forms.  Divide into sixths and pat evenly into tart pans.  Prick a few times with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Remove from oven.

 

Slight Bird's Eye

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegan Asparagus, Edamame, Yellow Bell Pepper and Sundried Tomato Quiche with Vegan Presto! Press-In Pie Crust

On Wednesday, my “Veggie Table” column in The Virginian-Pilot’s “Flavor” section featured my vegan quiche…

I’m bringing quiches back.

If you happen to be of a certain age, you probably associate quiches and spinach salads with the fern bars of the 70s. Quiches have gotten a bad rap over the years. But, provided they are made my way—with no meat or dairy products—they are really the perfect food for any time of day: a creamy and colorful protein- and vitamin-rich filling inside a tender crust. “How?” you ask. Easy.

For starters, wipe all images of flour-strewn counters and falling-apart homemade crusts–or store bought facsimiles–out of your mind. My go-to press-in pie crust is delicious, simple and highly adaptable. It can be made with all-purpose flour or, my preference, whole wheat flour, or a combination. You can even substitute a half cup or so of cornmeal for an equal amount of the flour for a fun taste and texture twist. Plus, you can jazz it up with herbs, spices, ground nuts and seeds. Literally, all you do with these dry ingredients is stir them together with a little canola oil and soymilk right in the pie pan, press the resulting dough onto the bottom and sides, and bake for 10-12 minutes.

The filling is similarly hassle-free and endlessly flexible. The secret to making a creamy non-dairy custard that holds its shape is firm tofu. And the secret to making the filling beautiful, flavorful and nutritious lies right in your imagination. For the custard itself, you can keep it straightforward or you can add an array of herbs, spices, pestos or condiments like Dijon mustard or horseradish. To this, you add approximately 4 cups of your favorite fresh or frozen vegetables, sautéing them with onion and garlic just until they are crisp-tender. The whole mixture is then transferred into the partially baked crust and returned to the oven for another half hour or so.

This recipe celebrates spring with asparagus, yellow bell pepper and edamame set off with sundried tomatoes. But I encourage you to celebrate your own creativity with whatever tickles your fancy because there are lots of ways to slice this pie.

Vegan Presto! Press-In Pie Crust
Yield: 8 servings

1 ½ cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour or half of each (I prefer all whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse kosher or sea salt)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons plain or unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in an 8 to 9 inch pie plate (I like to use the deep dish variety). In a separate container, mix the oil and milk until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry mixture and work around with a fork or fingers until completely incorporated. Press the crust into the bottom and sides of the pie plate using the bottom of a sturdy glass to achieve a uniform thickness and neat appearance. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set and slightly browned (or, if not making this quiche, bake according to the directions for whatever recipe you are making). Leave oven on when you remove the crust. Note: this crust, made with whole wheat flour, made beautiful, sturdy 4-inch tart crusts that held up beautifully even when removed from the tart pans and slid off the removable bottoms.

Vegan Quiche Filling or Frittata
Yield: 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, fairly finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
*1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces (if asparagus is thick, I like to slice it lengthwise before cutting in pieces)
*1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and slice into ¼-inch slices and then 1-inch pieces
*1 cup frozen edamame
14-16 ounces firm tofu, drained (Note: Silken tofu makes a creamier filling which is nice for desserts, but I prefer the regular tofu for this savory recipe)
½ cup soymilk
8 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon horseradish
1 generous teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 generous tablespoon fresh minced)
¾ teaspoon salt (I use coarse kosher or sea salt)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ to ½ scant teaspoon ground red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Optional: 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or grated vegan Parmesan cheese

*Note: you may substitute approximately 4 cups of your favorite fresh or frozen vegetables. If frozen, sauté with onion and garlic just until thawed. Frozen spinach should be thawed and squeezed out before adding. If vegetables are fresh, sauté with onion and garlic just until crisp-tender.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until golden. Add asparagus and bell pepper pieces and continue sautéing for a few more minutes or until vegetables are still brightly colored, but crisp-tender. When veggies are almost done, stir in edamame just to warm them through. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine tofu and remaining ingredients; process until smooth. In a large bowl combine tofu mixture with sautéed vegetables. Transfer into pie crust and lightly smooth top. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until quiche is set. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving. (To make this recipe as a frittata, simply bake filling in an oiled pan with no crust.)

Source: adapted from a recipe at www.steptalk.org

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Vegan Southwestern Ground "Beef" and Corn Quiche with Vegan Press-In Chili-Cornmeal Crust

Yield: one 8 or 9-inch quiche or four 4-inch tartlets (this recipe easy doubles and can be baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan, but adjust the baking time as the batter will be deeper and, hence, need a few extra minutes)

This rustic, but pretty, crowd-pleasing iteration of my go-to quiche is one of those “endless guises” I referred to when I posted the quiche recipe. This one is heartier because of the vegan ground beef, but it lacks greens, so be sure to serve some on the side. Expect this dish to pull a major disappearing act!

For this recipe and some 170+ more,
I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:
A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press
Spring 2011

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Vegan Frittata or Quiche with Vegan Press-In Pie Crust (A Basic Recipe with Endless Versions)

Yield: one 8 or 9-inch quiche or four 4-inch tartlets (this recipe easy doubles and can be baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan, but adjust the baking time as the batter will be deeper and, hence, need a few extra minutes)

This tasty high-protein quiche can take on endless guises. I made the one in the photo with 10 ounces of frozen chopped spinach and 1 cup of lightly sauteed mushrooms. I made another crowd-pleasing version with fresh sauteed asparagus and diced sundried tomato. Let your food fantasies be your guide. Watching your calories? Omit the crust and make a savory frittata.

1 8 or 9-inch vegan Press-In Pie Crust (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounce package frozen vegetables, thawed, or 2 cups lightly sautéed veggies of your choice (more is fine, about up to 4 cups or so)
1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu, drained (Silken tofu, whether firm or extra firm, will produce a creamier quiche, while regular firm or extra-firm tofu will produce a slightly sturdier and drier filling)
1/2 cup unsweetened or plain soy milk
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (scant)
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or grated vegan Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat oil to shimmering. Sauté onion and garlic until golden. Stir in the thawed vegetables (I used 10 ounces of chopped spinach) and heat through. Or, if using fresh vegetables, add them and sauté lightly. Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine tofu and remaining 8 ingredients; process until smooth. In a large bowl combine tofu mixture with broccoli mixture. Pour into pie crust. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until quiche is set. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Vegan Press-In Pie Crust

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons soy milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a 8 or 9-inch pie plate. Pour the oil and milk over the dry ingredient mixture and work around with a fork or fingers until all of the liquid is absorbed. Press the crust firmly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. The bottom and sides of a glass accomplish this task nicely. Bake for 10-12 minutes and remove from oven, but leave oven on. Note: this crust, made with whole wheat flour makes beautiful, sturdy 4-inch tart crusts that hold up even when removed from the tart pans and slid off the removable bottoms. Like the larger crust, I bake them 10-12 minutes before filling.

Pie Crust Source: http://www.steptalk.org/

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Vegan Press-In Pie Crust or Tartlet Crusts

Yield: one 8-9 inch crust

This is my go-to, never-fail pie or tartlet crust. Just ask Minnie…she “nose.” I like its somewhat rustic appearance, not to mention its simplicity, but if you prefer something more refined, you might want to opt for a roll-out crust, though you can make this one quite neat and precise.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat flour (or a combination)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened or plain soy milk

Place dry ingredients in an 8-9 inch pie plate. Pour the oil and milk over the dry ingredients and work around with a fork and/or fingers until all of the liquid is absorbed. Press the crust firmly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. The bottom and side of a glass work nicely for this task. Bake crust according to directions for whatever recipe you are making. Tartlet Crusts: this recipe, made with whole wheat flour, yielded beautiful, sturdy 4 inch tartlet crusts that held up even when removed from the tart pans and slid off the removable bottoms. I baked them 10-12 minutes before filling. Sweet Pie Crust: Increase sugar to 2-3 tablespoons or to taste.

Source: http://www.steptalk.org/

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