This spring vegetable tart looks like a work of art, but it's so easy to accomplish. Puff pastry isn’t the healthiest item in the world, but for special occasions, it transforms simple ingredients into something fun and festive. Use a name brand (these are most often vegan, though it doesn’t hurt to check the ingredients), and make sure to give it a good 45 minutes to an hour to thaw out—not less, and ideally, not much more. This makes two rectangular tarts that are easy on the cook and gorgeous to behold. Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Photos by Susan Voisin.
Spring Vegetable Tart
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
- 2 tablespoons olive or other healthy vegetable oil
- 1 medium-large red onion quartered and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper cut into thin strips
- 16 slender asparagus spears bottoms trimmed, cut into 2-inch sections
- 4 ounces baby bella or cremini mushrooms cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
- 4 to 5 ounces baby spinach
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes oil-cured or not, as preferred
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend or to taste (or a combination of dried oregano, thyme, and basil)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 ounces nondairy mozzarella-style cheese
- Thaw the puff pastry sheets for 45 minutes to an hour before using. Carefully unfold and arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat. until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the bell pepper, asparagus, and mushrooms to the skillet. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, lifting the lid to stir occasionally, just until the asparagus turns tender-crisp.
- Add the spinach and dried tomatoes. Cover and cook just until the spinach wilts down, 1 minute or less. Remove from the heat and season to taste with the seasoning blend, salt, and pepper.
- Grate the cheese and sprinkle evenly over the surface of the puff pastry. Distribute the vegetable mixture evenly over the surface of the pastry, then create a little lip by folding all four edges over just about a half inch.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Cut each into 6 sections, then serve.
Variation: This recipes is eminently flexible in terms of produce. Try broccolini, or broccoli rabe in place of the asparagus. Substitute baby arugula for the baby spinach, or use half of each. Or, use kale, and give it a bit more time to wilt down. Or go really wild and use ramps, fiddleheads, dandelion greens, radishes and their greens—the possibilities are endless.