Oh Yum: Hearty Vegan Spiral Tart
Ok ok ok… I know, this is definitely a fussy recipe, but the holidays are fussy times! These are times when we want to pull out all the stops and show our friends and family how much we love them. One way to do that is through thoughtful, and fussy cooking. While everyone else will be brining, seasoning, stuffing, roasting, basting, resting, and carving their turkeys, you could be making this wonder of a dish. It’s hearty, delicious, and should wow even the pickiest of meat lovers (even if only as a side dish). OR maybe make this as a treat for yourself.
What I learned in making this is that it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. Yes, there are multiple steps (crust, cheesy filling, and all those ribbons of veggies), but there’s a certain meditative element to crossing all those bridges and having a lovely lovely beauty like this to enjoy at the end of your culinary journey.
So, take a moment this holiday season, enjoy the quiet away from the internet, away from the tv, turn on some good music and spend some time enjoying the simple pleasure of cooking.
I’m gluten-free so I’m providing the exact recipe I used (sub egg for a flax egg, and butter for vegan butter) from King Arthur Flour here. You don’t have to go gluten free though, here’s an easy vegan pie crust recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken for those of you who can consume wheat. :)
Place the crust into a greased tart or pie pan… then move onto the yummy cheese sauce (refrigerate the crust covered while you prepare the rest).
The Cheesy Sauce
So, I cheated, I’ve been using the same sauce we made for our creamy gluten-free pasta a while back. In fact I use it on EVERYTHING. I often have a jar of it in my fridge for slathering onto sandwiches, dobbing over veggies, and dipping into. It’s lovely and really ticks a lot of creamy boxes for me. Here’s a link to that post. And while you’re there, don’t forget to make THAT dish… because it will satisfy all your needs for creamy pasta. I promise.
The Veggie Goodness
So here’s where the fun really starts. So you’ve made your crust, you’ve prepared your cheese sauce, and you’re ready to get serious about this tart. You got this! You can definitely make it to the finish line. I hit up our local Lucky’s Market for some beautiful rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, zucchini, and summer squash, but feel free to get creative and make swaps.
1 bunch of rainbow carrots (.75” - 1” thick if possible)
1 large zucchini
1 medium summer squash
1 long sweet potato
6-8 kale leaves, washed, ribs removed
1 bunch of basil
avocado or olive oil spray (I like spray because you can use less and get better coverage than drizzling)
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Here’s where the fun begins. Wash and trim all your produce. Leave the skins on everything, just give the carrots and potato a good scrub (the skins give this dish all its color). Trim your potato, squash, and zucchini to the same thickness (give or take, this isn’t an exercise in perfection a little wonk makes it extra pretty) as the carrots. Now, grab your peeler and start peeling all those veggies into ribbons.
Lay the zucchini and summer squash onto paper towels to help remove excess moisture and pat with another towel to help squeeze out the water.
Preheat your oven to 375°.
Grab your basil, tear the leaves off, roll them up into the shape of a cigar and slice them into ribbons. Reserve a handful of bigger leaf bits or small individual leaves to add directly.
Add about a half inch of cheese sauce to the base of your pie crust and sprinkle on a good hefty pinch of your basil ribbons. This gooey, creamy goodness will be the foundation to your tart. YAY!
Now, channel your inner artist and grab a little of this, and a little of that… perhaps a ribbon of carrot, a ribbon of summer squash and one of zucchini. Make the inner spiral and place it at the center of your pie crust. Don’t worry, it will try to unravel a bit, but as you add more layers working your way to the outside, it’ll be easier to tighten it up. As you go along, keep adding ribbons varying the colors and pulling them to adjust their placement. Tuck in your kale leaves to give that frilly pretty green element, and don’t forget to tuck in a few basil leaves along the way.
Once you’ve got your tart shell filled with what looks a bit like a hurricane of color give it a spritz of oil, then a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You can choose to brush the crust with a mixture of agave and turmeric as an egg wash replacement, just don’t add too much as the agave is sweet.
Place the tart into your preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes. Then get to cleaning up your kitchen! Grab all those veggie nubs and toss them into a ziplock and then into the freezer to make your vegetable stock.
Once the pastry is lovely and golden and your veggies are tender your amazing tart is done. Let it cool before slicing and enjoy!