I love making savory tarts and pies, but unfortunately I don’t love the carbs and calories that come along with them. It’s also Summertime, and I’m trying to cook and eat lighter than usual…and the Fall season will come soon enough with all that yummy comfort food!
I’ve been experimenting lately with alternatives to pasta and dough – things like zucchini, cauliflower, almond flour, and quinoa. Not only are they lighter, but also , gluten-free and less carbs than traditional flours and equally as satisfying and tasty!
I found a recipe on Cooking Light for a savory Fall tart made in a toasted quinoa crust and decided to experiment a little with the crust, fillings and flavors. MISSION ON.
I love the flavor of the nutty toasted quinoa, which is done in the oven and gives a nice depth of flavor and crunch to the tart crust.
I mixed in some Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, corn starch, Parmesan cheese and an egg for binding the quinoa, then added a little garlic salt and olive oil to bring it all together for the crust. Then I pressed the quinoa mixture into four small tart pans and baked for about 10 minutes before filling them and baking again.
While the tart crusts were baking, I made a savory filling with mascarpone and cheddar cheese and spooned in this delightful cheesy goodness on to the par-baked crusts.
I also cooked up some crispy gorgeous bacon in the oven while the tarts were baking..(for about 20 minutes or so)..
then chopped it to pieces and layered it on top of the cheeses. HELLO PRETTIES. Come to me.
Next I started filling the tarts with my blanched cauliflower and baby peas,
more Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil,
popped them back in the oven..
and baked these cuties for another 5-10 minutes and let them cool on a wire rack for a few…
the anticipation of these delicious things in my mouth is MOUNTING.
Once the tarts were cooled a bit, I garnished them with some fresh chopped basil, chives and freshly cracked black pepper and a few red pepper flakes. Mini Green Goddesses!
And Oh Holy Delicious.
This is a great base recipe for any savory tart really – feel free to substitute different fillings for the tarts depending on the season..butternut squash and spinach in the Fall… corn, tomatoes and zucchini in the Summer… roasted carrots, potatoes and Gruyere in the Winter..asparagus and leeks in the Spring…oh, the ideas are endless!
Veggie, Bacon & Cheese Tarts in a Toasted Quinoa Crust
This is a gluten-free tart recipe made with a toasted quinoa crust, filled with a savory filling of mascarpone and cheddar cheese, bacon, cauliflower, peas topped with Parmesan, and fresh basil and chives.
- Toasted Quinoa Tart Crust:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup almond meal flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Cooking spray
- Tart Filling:
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup baby green peas, frozen
- 4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Jack, or Gouda)
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely minced chives, for garnish
- Make the Toasted Quinoa Tart Crusts:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown; cool.
- Place half of quinoa in a food processor; pulse 30 seconds.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining toasted quinoa, almond meal, cornstarch, and salt to bowl; stir to combine.
- Add oil and egg; stir until mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed.
- Press into bottom and up sides of four 4 5/7-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pans coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden, but not completely cooked (you will put them back in the oven later after you fill them with the veggies, bacon and cheese.)
- Prep the Tart fillings:
- While the tart crusts are baking, chop the cauliflower into small florets and measure out the baby peas.
- Blanch the veggies in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and rinse them in very cold water or shock them in an ice bath, set aside.
- Cook the bacon and drain, chop into small chunks, set aside.
- Measure out the mascarpone, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, and chop basil and chives, set aside.
- Fill the Tart Crusts:
- Spread the mascarpone cheese evenly in bottom of each tart crust.
- Top each tart with shredded cheese, then crumbled bacon.
- Arrange cauliflower and peas evenly over cheese and bacon mixture on the tarts and drizzle with some olive oil, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
- Bake tarts for another 5-7 minutes in the oven.
- Remove tarts from the pans; cool completely on a wire rack.
- Garnish with fresh chopped basil and chives, serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Nov 2014.
Other Tart Recipes you might enjoy:
Savory Harvest Fall Tart
Quinoa Tart with Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Dressing
Gluten-Free Tomato Tart
Gluten-Free Spinach and Onion Tart