Vegan Zucchini and Yellow Squash Torta (with simple Tomato-Cucumber Salad)

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Torta 2Yield: 4 main dish servings (2 slices each, as they are so light) or 8 side dish servings

Last Tuesday, realizing that I was leaving town in a couple of days (for my annual summer day hiking trip with my cousin Earl) and that I had a big beautiful zucchini and yellow squash from the farmer’s market in the fridge, I realized I needed to create something that would showcase them for lunch for the next couple of days.

Whatever it was, I wanted it to be light with a chilled component.  With just about a cup of tofu in the fridge, the idea of a salad-topped torta struck and I set about seeing what I could come up with.

The result was a well-behaved  one-dish meal that is as addicting as it is nutritious and low calorie.  In fact, this dish is so light, who cares if you wipe out the whole torta in one setting?  Okay, well maybe half.  I confess to devouring three slices for lunch both days.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-8 inch zucchini (about 2″ in diameter at widest section), very thinly sliced

1-8 inch yellow squash (about 2″ in diameter at widest section), very thinly sliced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 large cloves garlic, minced

7 to 8 ounces extra firm regular tofu (half of a 14 to 16 ounce box, however your favorite brand is sold)

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Liquid Aminos or soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (nothing beats freshly ground!)

8 to 12 fresh basil leaves

Tomato Cucumber Salad (recipe follows)

Garnish: sprigs of fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add zucchini and yellow squash slices and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.  Saute, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until squash begins to soften.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic and saute, stirring frequently, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until squash is perfectly tender and most of moisture is absorbed/evaporated.  Remove from heat and lightly smooth the top to create a flat surface.  In a food processor, blend all remaining ingredients, except basil, including remaining clove of garlic, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Add basil leaves and pulse just to chop and distribute.  Pour mixture over cooked squashes, sealing to edges.  Bake in center of oven for about 35 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.  Cool about 15 minutes or until just warm for best flavor, texture, and easy removal from the pan.  Serve topped with Tomato Cucumber Salad and garnished with fresh basil sprigs.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 cup diced cucumber

1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes

2 teaspoons mild vinegar like cider or malt

Pinch Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, gently combine all ingredients.  Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Savory Spring Tart with Cherry Tomatoes, Kiwi and Kale (yep, kiwi!)

Savory Spring Tart with Cherry Tomatoes, Kiwi and Kale--WholeYield: 8 servings

I am on a savory spring tart kick.  First asparagus, kale, and strawberries; now cherry tomatoes, kiwi, and kale.  In art teacher lingo, the colors are still that appetizing “complementary” combination of red and green, but I was craving tomatoes–and it’s not yet tomato season, so I went with the cherry variety–and needed a contrast in color.

Kiwi in a savory tart may sound somewhat odd, but it is similar to incorporating fruit into, say, a spinch salad or, perhaps more to the point, a salsa.  In a word: addicting.

In this tart, the tomatoes become lightly charred for an even more delectable and complex flavor.  I love a slice served with a drizzle of white balsamic reduction, available at our local Kroger.  You can make the reduction, if you prefer, by slowly simmering the vinegar, but I get in a hurry and create shellac, so I purchase it.  I also tuck on a garnish of fresh basil.  Yes, I know that one is “supposed” to only use herbs as a garnish if they are included in the dish, but it just looks so pretty and I am happy to enjoy that burst of freshness from the basil because it complements the tart even though it is not baked into it.

Rules, scmules.

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.

Savory Spring Tart with Cherry Tomatoes, Kiwi and Kale--SliceVegan Cherry Tomato, Kiwi, and Kale 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 tablespoon Dijon mustard

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

¾ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg  (there’s something about fresh!)

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

Approximately 12 cherry tomatoes (amount will vary depending on size, as they need to fit end to en from center of tart to edge to create a radius, if you will)

8-1/2 inch slices kiwi (purchase 2, as you’ll need more than  1 and can enjoy the leftovers)

Optional garnish: white balsamic reduction (homemade or available in most grocery stores) and fresh basil sprigs

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, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, 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 unless that is your preference.  Scrape mixture into tart shell, lightly spreading to the edges of the tart and smoothing the top.  Arrange cherry tomato halves, end to end, in evenly spaced spokes.  Place kiwi slices between each spoke, spritz or brush tomatoes and kiwi with olive oil, and bake tart for 35 minutes or until set.  Remove from oven, let rest 10 minutes on a wire rack, carefully remove sides and serve slices with a drizzle of white balsamic reduction and a sprig of fresh basil.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Layered Vegan Eggplant Tart with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Tarts--3Yield: 6-4.5 inch tarts

Our farmer’s market still has local eggplant, and I hope yours does, because you will not want to wait until next summer to savor these simply beautiful and delicious tarts.  They were another of my contributions to our annual  Julia Child Birthday Bash in August.  Everyone loved them and I’m sure Julia herself would have approved!

The recipe is one I adapted from  It calls for either spreading the cooked shells with mustard or pesto.  I didn’t read it carefully and used both and LOVED it: Different, but subtle, and not weird at all.  The mustard provides a nice little unexpected zing.  I hope you agree!


1 recipe Press-In Tart crust (recipe follows)

1 recipe Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (recipe Follows)

1 approximately 12-inch long Japanese eggplant, cut into 24 1/4-inch slices, oiled and baked on an oiled baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until softened

2 tablespoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard

2 generous  tablespoons vegan pesto (homemade, preferred)

Pinch sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: 6 sprigs fresh basil

To assemble, spread each cooked tart crust with 1 teaspoon mustard followed by 1 teaspoon pesto and 1/12 of the sauce.  Arrange about 4 slices of baked eggplant on top of the sauce, add a pinch sea salt, and then top with another 1/12 of sauce, allowing eggplant to show around the edges.  Sprinkle with just a hint of salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool enough to remove sides of tart pans without burning yourself and serve warm.  Or, allow the tarts to cool completely, remove sides, and serve room temperature.  Garnish with fresh basil sprigs.


Press-In Tart Crust:

Ever since I found this recipe at, it has been my go-to crust for everything!  It is so easy, never-fail, requires no rolling, and is quite flavorful.

2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, white whole wheat, or whole wheat)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cup canola oil

3  tablespoons unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and pour in oil and soymilk.  Whisk together just until combined.  Divide dough evenly among six 5-inch tart shells with removable bottoms, and press evenly onto bottom and around edges.  I like to break the dough into pieces and distribute it around the bottom of the tart pan so that maintaining an even crust is much easier.   Use a drinking glass to assest with the pressing if desired.  Bake 10-12 minutes and remove to a wire rack.  While tart shells bake, make sauce.


Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed, seeded, broiled until charred, and skin removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

Sea salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.  Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute.  Place peppers, onion mixture, and balsamic mixture in the bowl of a food process, and process until fairly smooth.  Check for salt and adjust if necessary.


Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Tart


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan White Bean, Caramelized Onion, Fresh Fig, and Red Pepper Relish Tart

White Bean, Caramelized Sagey Onions, Fresh Fig and Pepper Relish TartYield: 8 servings

I am so ashamed that my last post was on August 26–good grief!  But, alas, as you may know,  I am a high school art teacher, and the beginning of school is almost all-consuming (pun intended!).

The first day of our pre-service week was Monday, August 25, so I’m actually surprised I was even able to make one post that week.  Last week was the first week of school with the kids back, so it was very packed.

The pre-service week is never my favorite–and this year’s was particularly stressful with a lot of major policy changes and a lot of resulting contention–but I love it when the students return.

Today’s recipe is a delicious and beautiful one I made for  one of my contributions to this year’s iteration of our annual Julia Child Birthday Bash on August 15.  It was a big hit.  I noticed figs still available at the Farmer’s Market this morning, so I hope you can still get them where you live and create your own hit!


1 press-in tart crust (recipe follows)

1-15.5 ounce can cannelini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/4 cup water + 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, slivered

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons fresh whole sage leaves (if leaves are large, slice into 1/4-inch slivers)

Fresh figs, halved (the number depends on the size; mine were tiny and I used about 13 small figs about the size of large grapes)

1/4 cup prepared red pepper relish (I used Braswell’s brand)

Optional garnish: sprig of fresh sage leaves


While crust bakes, puree in a food processor beans, optional nutritional yeast, and water.  Set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, add onion, sea salt and pepper to taste, garlic, and sugar, and saute, stirring frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes or until caramelized.  Saute a few minutes longer if a deeper color and flavor is desired.   Stir in sage leaves during the last minute or two.   Spread bean puree evenly on bottom of crust, evenly distribute caramelized onion over the top, arrange figs in a pleasing design, nestling them into the onions, and then dot teaspoons of the relish between the figs.  Return to oven and bake about 15 minutes to heat through.  Remove from oven to a wire rack.  Cool just enough to remove sides of pan without burning yourself if serving warm.  Or cool completely, remove sides, and serve at room temperature.  Garnish with fresh sage leaves if desired.


Press-In Tart Crust:

Ever since I found this recipe at, it has been my go-to crust for everything!  It is so easy, never-fail, requires no rolling, and is quite flavorful.

1 1/2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, white whole wheat, or whole wheat)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2  tablespoons unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and pour in oil and soymilk.  Whisk together just until combined.  Transfer dough to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and press evenly onto bottom and around edges.  I like to break the dough into pieces and distribute it around the bottom of the tart pan so that maintaining an even crust is much easier.   Use a drinking glass to assest with the pressing if desired.  Bake 10-12 minutes and remove to a wire rack.

White Bean, Caramelized Sagey Onions, Fresh Fig and Pepper Relish Tart--detail


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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






Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Savory Southern Tarts with Butter Bean Puree, Fresh Figs and Sweet Tea Drizzle Published on One Green Planet

These beautiful tarts are so easy to make from summer’s bounty of butter beans, figs and fresh herbs.

The availability of these ingredients along with my Southern-steeped heritage were the inspiration for this unusual but really mouth-watering combination.

The butter beans cook while you make and bake the crust and then just get processed with the other ingredients.  And the drizzle is short on cooking time.  So, the tart goes together much more quickly than you would think, especially for something so darn pretty.

Find my recipe at One Green Planet.  Thanks OGP!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

White Bean and Pesto Tart from The Blooming Platter Cookbook is Featured on the Happy Cow

On February 20, my White Bean and Pesto Tart from The Blooming Platter Cookbook was a “Meatless Monday” feature on The Happy Cow, but I somehow neglected to share it with you.  My apologies! 

This lovely and healthy tart is super-simple, yet special enough for company.  It’s perfect for a spring brunch or luncheon.  But you won’t want to wait for company to come! 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Brie, Homemade Chutney, and Fresh Fig Tart

Yield: 1 8-inch savory tart

In my opinion, having a friend with a fig tree is almost better than having your own because the birds make such a mess of them.

So, when one of the barristas at my local Starbucks recently invited me over to pick figs from her abundant tree, I jumped at the chance.  I had never seen anything like it!  The tree–which had been split by lighting to or three decades ago and had formed two enormous trees–dwarfed her suburban back yard.  So, I battled all manner of flying thing for my fair share.

Though I wasn’t greedy, I nevertheless bagged more than I could eat, so when I needed to stop over at a friend’s last Sunday afternoon to consult with him about a fun project (that you will be reading about here in a few weeks; I don’t want to do anything to jinx the outcome!), I decided to make a little fig treat for him and his fiance.  And I wanted to make something sweetly savory.  Remembering that I had some leftover chutney-topped vegan brie in the fridge (the brie is from a recipe on p. 30 of my new Blooming Platter cookbook), and that one of my favorite all-time appetizers is fresh figs stuffed with vegan brie and a smoked almond, I decided to make a tart that combined all those flavors.

I started with my never-fail press-in crust as the base.  Then I gently swirled the brie and chutney together before smoothing it evenly over the crust.  Next came concentric circles of gorgeous red figs halves with whole smoked almonds nestled upright between them and a very light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I think you’ll agree that the result is quite stunning.  Apparently it was also a taste sensation because I received an email message with the subject header “Holy Tart!” and a text message saying, “D***!  It’s good!”  See what you think before the last of this summer’s figs disappear from market shelves…or your friends’ trees.

1 1/4 cups vegan brie (recipe follows–make the day before or very early in the day you plan to serve it)

1 baked Press-in Pie Crust, cooled to room temperature

3/4 cup homemade or purchased chutney (if you’d like to make a fresh one–the best!–just search “chutney” on my blog and you will find several outstanding ones to choose from; in fact, for this recipe, I used a combination of two in contrasting colors)

Approximately 20 fresh figs, stemmed and sliced in half vertically

Approximately 20 whole smoked almonds

Optional: a drizzle of about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction

In a medium bowl, swirl together brie and chutney, stopping before they are completely combined.  Spread evenly over the bottom of the cooled tart crust.  Arrange the figs, flesh side up, in an attractive pattern over the surface of the cheese and chutney mixture, and then tuck whole almonds, standing upright, between the figs.  Serve immediately with a very light drizzle of balsamic/balsamic reduction.  Or store, covered, in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes before serving time, waiting until you serve the tart to drizzle it with the balsamic.


Vegan Brie (you will need about half of this recipe, but you’ll enjoy having the leftovers around)

14 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed, drained and blotted dry

3/4 cup roasted cashews

6 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon miso

3 tablespoons beer or non-alcoholic beer

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

Combine the tofu, cashews, nutritional yeast, miso, beer, lemon juice, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and coriander in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary. Line two soup bowls, approximately 5 inches in diameter, with plastic wrap and scrape half of the mixture into each one. Smooth the tops, fold the edges of the plastic wrap down to cover the surface. Top with a smaller bowl or plate and place a heavy can on top to weight it down. Refrigerate for 4 or more hours.

Press-In Pie Crust

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

Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl. 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 an 8 to 9-inch tart pan. The bottom and side of a glass work nicely for this task. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes or until firm and slightly golden.   Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Golden Grape Tomato Tart with Spinach Pesto and Spicy Romesco Sauce

Yield: 4 4-inch tarts (you will have enough pesto to make 8 and lots of Romesco sauce for drizzling over any number of dishes that would benefit from a creamy kick)

A lunch that ended up in the woods beside our house is the inauspicious beginning of this recipe that may just be an all-time favorite.

After a nice long hike at First Landing State Park (previously and more picturesquely named Seashore State Park) with my close friend Mary Beth Nixon, I stopped for an Indian buffet to-go from a fairly new restaurant near her house.  Neither the restaurant, nor the styro-box, emitted that intoxicating aroma characteristic of Indian restaurants.  Turns out, there was a good reason.  It was the blandest Indian food I have ever eaten.  Correction, it was the only bland Indian food I have ever eaten.  So I nibbled a little at it on the way home, but on the way up our long driveway, I stopped and tossed all but the container and spoon into my unofficial compost pile in the woods.

Pretty hungry after no breakfast, dog walks, and our hour-long park hike, I wracked my brain for what I could make from the ingredients I had on hand.  Yesterday, I had picked up golden grape tomatoes and bell peppers, among other produce, at a local farmer’s market.  Noting that I had half of a red pepper leftover from a dish I’d made for lunch yesterday, I remembered the outstanding Romesco sauce that had been served over chickpeas at the 1 Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant, Ubuntu, where we had celebrated my birthday (for the final time this year!) last Saturday night in Napa.   I didn’t have almonds, but I had walnuts and they would have to do.

We had also been served the fruitiest, “meatiest” olives in a captivating fennel pesto.  So, while I didn’t have fennel, I did have some fresh baby spinach that I knew would make a lovely pesto.  With my go-to press-in dough baked to make the crust, I could then nestle the grape tomatoes onto a creamy layer of spinach pesto and drizzle the Romesco over the top for beautiful color contrasts and bursts of exciting flavors.

Voila!  Golden Grape Tomato Tarts were born.

Spicy Romesco Sauce:

1/2 of a large red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded

1 extra-large tomato, cored and quartered

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup walnuts (or the nut of your choice; almonds are traditional, but use what you have and feel free to mix and match)

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

2-3 large cloves garlic, fairly thickly sliced

2-4 small red dried chilies, ends removed, split, seeds removed, and torn into about 3 pieces

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or 1 tablespoon red wine + 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place oven rack in top position and preheat oven to broil.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat or foil and place bell pepper and tomatoes, cut side down, in center of sheet.  Broil for 5  minutes or until the pepper’s skin is charred.  Remove the pepper and broil the tomatoes 5 minutes longer or until their skin is charred.  When cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin.  Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high in a large cast iron skillet.  Add nuts, bread crumbs, and garlic, and saute, stirring almost constantly, until ingredients begin to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes.  Then add chilies and cook 1-2 minutes more until the color of the chilies brighten and the nuts, bread crumbs and garlic are golden.  Watch carefully to prevent scorching.  Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, including the bell pepper, tomato, all of the contents of the skillet, including the oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Process until almost smooth.  Scrape into an airtight container and set aside.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.


1 1/2 whole wheat flour (I love spelt, but any kind will do, even white whole wheat or a combination)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons natural sugar (may omit, but I like the slight sweetness with the sweet tomatoes and spiciness of the Romesco sauce)

2 tablespoons soy milk

1/2 cup canola oil (sounds like a lot, but it is needed; just eat low- or no-fat meals for the rest of the day)

Preheat oven to 400.  Place 4 4-inch tart shells with removable bottoms on a baking sheet (I line my sheet with Silpat).  Then place dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in wet ingredients.  Stir together with a fork just until completely combined and mixture holds together.  Divide into fourths and press each evenly into the bottom and sides of each tart pan.  The bottom of a drinking glass can help with this task.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crusts are barely starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes.  Leave oven on.  While crusts bake, make Spinach Pesto.

Spinach Pesto:

4 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup shelled pistachios (or the nut of your choice)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place spinach, nuts, and nutritional yeast in the bowl of a food processor and process until a paste begins to form, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, and a pinch of both salt and pepper.  Continue processing until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Scrape into an airtight container and set aside until needed.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

72 golden grape tomatoes or about 1 pint (red would be fine, but not as nice of a color contrast with the Romesco sauce)

Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

After crusts have baked and cooled for about 3 minutes, spread each with 1 generous tablespoon of Pesto Sauce.  Arrange 18 tomatoes–or whatever will fit nicely in one layer–on top of the pesto.  Drizzle each with 1 generous tablespoon of the Romesco Sauce.  Return the tarts to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the crusts are nicely browned and the Romesco Sauce looks slightly set.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the tart pans to a wire rack until cool enough to handle.  Remove the tart bottoms from the side rings, leaving the tarts sitting on their removable bottoms.   Serve warm garnished with sprigs of basil.  You may heat and pass additional Romesco Sauce if desired.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly, PDF & Email