The Vegan MoFo gods have prompted: “OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?”
Well, he is the president, after all. So I figured I should try to make something somewhat fancy. I didn’t think my usual bowls of random grains and beans would do. I wanted something composed. But also seasonal, and preferably local, because hello, Michelle’s totally coming, too. Enter: tart.
In my opinion, tarts are elegant, but not too elaborate. Something you could easily prepare for dinner, but still requires a bit of know how.
I started out preparing the tart shell, which is a mixture of whole-grain spelt flour, oat flour, vegan butter and olive oil. The mixture is meticulously pressed into a tart pan (this is where a bit of skill comes in), and then parbaked.
I then got to work on the filling. I originally wanted to use brown lentils as the base, as they lend a meatiness and earthiness. However, I was out. That’s when moong dal swooped in and saved the day. Moong (mung) dal is split moong beans, which you can find with husk or without (I used husked, as it has a smoother consistency). I love moong dal as it has quite an earthy taste, yet milder than lentils. You can find it at any Indian store, along with a host of other wondrous legumes.
After cooking with some herbs, it turns into a puree! Which is exciting, at least to me. No blender required *gasp*. The less dishes the better.
I layered in the moong dal, and topped it off with sauteed summer squash, onions, and cherry peppers. This is where the local comes in. I harvested these beauties from a local farm. (Editor’s note: In my dreams I would have harvested it all from a local farm. But it reality the summer squash came from BJ’s. You win some, you lose some.)
Here it is, prior to the final bake.
Et voila. The final tart. I’d say it’s ready for its Obama debut. Maybe with a nice side salad of baby lettuces in a spiky vinaigrette?
Also, this is great fuel for your training (as my theme is Half-Marathon Training Fuel). It is full of complex carbs, from the oats, spelt, and moong dal. Complex carbs are great for sustained energy throughout the day, and into the next day, too. Your muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen, to be broken down when doing strenuous exercise, such as running. Just imagine all of those little moongs sitting there in your muscles, ready to power you through that next mile 😉
Savory Summer Squash Tart with Thyme and Rosemary
Tart shell adapted from Amy Chaplin
Tart Shell Ingredients
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 cup oat flour (from 1 cup oats)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp melted vegan butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp water
Moong Dal Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup moong dal, sorted and rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 3/4 tsp salt
Summer Squash Topping Ingredients
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, cut in half-moons
- 2 summer squash, cut in thin rounds
- 3 cherry peppers, or 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 mild red chile pepper (I used cayenne, I think)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp herbes de provence
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Make tart shell: Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine the first four ingredients. Add melted vegan butter, olive oil, and water. Add 1 tbsp more water if the crust is too dry. You want it fairly crumbly, but the dough should stay together if you press it into a ball. Take a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press the crust into pan. Do the edges first and work your way into the middle. Place crust in oven and bake for 20 mins. Set aside.
- Make dal filling: While the crust is baking, combine all dal ingredients except salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook for 20 mins or until dal has turned into a fragrant puree. Mix in salt.
- Make summer squash topping: Heat olive oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and cook for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes more, or until squash is cooked through.
- Raise oven heat to 375 F. Spread dal filling evenly around the shell. Then spread the sauteed veggies over top. Bake for 25 minutes. Wait 10 minutes for it to cool a bit. Cut into 8 slices. Note that if you eat it the same day as you make it, the dal filling likely won’t hold shape well. However, a chill in the fridge overnight allows pieces to maintain sharp edges when cut. Enjoy!