At last, the asparagus season is upon us and I am super excited to bring you this absolutely scrummy gluten-free and vegan asparagus tart recipe. I think it might be one of my best creations yet – it’s quite different to egg-based tarts but it works so well! With a rich and crumbly tahini pastry, the garlicky macadamia and pesto filling pares perfectly with the griddled asparagus and then a flavoursome burnt caper and pine nut topping with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and lemon zest finish it off superbly. It is truly divine!
Vegan Quiche Alternative
My family are big quiche fans so I wanted to create something that does the job of a quiche but without the eggs, meat or dairy… quite the task given that their favourite, Quiche Lorraine, is basically all about the eggs, meat and dairy! Happily, this tart hit the spot. Even my children, previously fervent anti-asparagus protestors, all loved it (well, all except the 5 year old who moaned a lot about the asparagus on her plate…I might put broccoli or carrot sticks on her portion next time).
There are a few ingredients in this tart that have special nutritional qualities in them.
- Tahini - made from ground sesame seeds which are full of important antioxidants and good healthy fats. Did you know that tahini actually has more protein and more calcium than milk? Read this webpage for more information about amazing Tahini!
- Macadamias - as with most nuts, macadamias are full of nutrients and are also rich in healthy fats. Read this webpage for more information on the health benefits of macadamias.
- Asparagus - this green vegetable is a great source of fibre and other vitamins and minerals. Read more here for information about asparagus's many health benefits.
Easy Summer Entertaining
This vegan asparagus tart may well become your weekend lunch standby over the summer months and you can certainly feel very confident serving this to non-vegan guests as a delicious plant-based alternative to the traditional tart. In fact, I think it is the perfect plant-based lunch party option (especially if you’re entertaining guests who might be sceptical about gluten free and/or plant-based food!). It’s full of flavour, rich and filling but deceptively light at the same time, and really pretty to bring to the table – a knock-out centrepiece for entertaining. The other advantage is that all the different parts can be made in advance and assembled easily on the day. Perfect for stress-free entertaining!
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients and method. It’s actually incredibly simple to put together. It's essentially broken down into pastry, filling and toppings. The first two are ludicrously simple, the third is just a little bit of griddling.
- The gluten-free vegan pastry is made in the food processor and spooned straight into the tart case and pressed into position.
- The filling is made in the blender (or food processor).
- It’s only the asparagus and the topping that needs a tiny bit of actual cooking but it is as simple as can be!
So if you want to add a sensational plant-based, allergen-friendly centrepiece to your repertoire, I urge you to give this vegan asparagus tart a try. It won’t disappoint, I promise! 🙂
This recipe is really adaptable so you can easily make it your own.
- As an alternative, you could use cashews instead of the macadamias.
- You could steam the asparagus instead to make a healthier vibrant green version. (see photo underneath)
- The flours for the pastry can be changed as well. One day I didn't have any chestnut flour and substituted quite happily for GF Oat Flour which worked just as well. Likewise, the arrowroot can be substituted with tapioca starch or potato starch.
If you have a high speed blender, you hardly need to soak the macadamias but soak for longer if you have a less powerful blender. (Less soaking needed if you're substituting for cashews)
To make this in advance, you can make the different constituent parts and keep them covered in the fridge separately. They will happily sit for a day or two in the fridge.
Well the obvious accompaniment to this vegan asparagus tart would be a simple fresh green salad with a little french dressing. You might also want to serve some garlic bread or some new potatoes with it too. If you're serving as part of a lunch spread and want something a bit exciting to go with it, my Mediterranean Roasted Red Peppers would go really well and you could add my Middle Eastern Rocket Salad to go with them too!
Recipe Card 📖
Asparagus and Pesto Macadamia Tart
- 100 g macadamias (soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes or in cold water overnight)
- 100 g water
- 30 g baby spinach leaves
- 1 garlic clove (roughly chopped)
- 2 tbsp vegan pesto
- ¼ tsp salt
- 230 g asparagus spears
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped chives (or any other fresh herbs you like)
- zest from 1 lemon
- Set the oven to 200°C.
- Mix the pastry ingredients together by pulsing in a food processor a few times until it is well combined. (Thermomix users: 20 secs / sp. 4, scraping down half way through). Pour the mixture into a 24cm tart case (or 8 small ones) and press down and up the sides to form the tart case. Cover and put in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
- Once the pastry has chilled to harden up a bit, stab the base a few times all over with a fork, then line with a crumpled up piece of baking paper (crumpling it softens it for lining the pastry) and fill with baking beans (or dried rice/beans).
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 200°C until the pastry is browned and there is no grey colour on the base. Check it after 10 minutes – if it is browned on the sides but not quite ready on the bottom, take the paper and baking beans out and turn the temperature down to 180°C to cook the base for a few more minutes. Once cooked through, take it out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the filling by whizzing all the filling ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth. (You may need the tamper to push down the spinach while blending).
- Put the griddle pan onto a high heat. Cut the woody ends of the asparagus stems then mix them with 1 tbsp oil and some salt and pepper. Once the griddle pan is very hot, add the asparagus spears and cook for a few minutes, turning frequently. Remove to a chopping board.
- Put the asparagus onto a board, lined up so that the pointy end of the stems are all in line. Use one stem to measure half way across the pastry case, then cut the rest of the asparagus stems to the same size. (Store the discarded bits in a sealed container in the fridge for use in other recipes, e.g. stir-fry’s, risottos, etc.).
- In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and, when hot, quickly fry the garlic, capers and pine nuts in the oil for a minute until browned (stirring continuously). Remove from the pan as soon as they have browned as they will burn quickly.
Assemble the tart
- When the pastry case has cooled, spoon the filling into it and spread it to the edges.
- Then place the asparagus spears in a pretty pattern on top of the filling.
- Sprinkle the fried caper mixture over the asparagus tart so that the mixture is evenly distributed on top. Then sprinkle the grated lemon zest and chopped chives (or other herbs) over the tart.
- Serve with a fresh green salad lightly dressed with a simple French dressing.
- If you have a high speed blender, you hardly need to soak the macadamias but soak for longer if you have a less powerful blender.
- As an alternative, you could use cashews instead of the macadamias.
- You could steam the asparagus instead to make a healthier vibrant green version
- To make this in advance, you can make the different constituent parts and keep them covered in the fridge separately. They will happily sit for a day or two in the fridge.
If you like this recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free lunch recipes too:
I’d love to know how you get on with this vegan asparagus tart recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and please give it a star rating too! Thank you!