Cheesy Heirloom Tomato Tart (Vegan)
This summer has been, for me, the summer of heirloom tomatoes. I have bought bushels of them at the farmers market for the past few months. And my local grocery store, Whole Foods, has had local heirlooms on sale for many weeks this year. I almost never buy regular tomatoes at the grocery store because, honestly, supermarket tomatoes taste like watery blobs of mush. Somehow, we Americans have managed to take a sweet, juicy fruit and grow it in such a way that it tastes virtually inedible.
Luckily, heirloom tomatoes still taste like the original sweet, juicy fruit. And when you pair them with flaky pastry and three types of cheezy goodness, you are in for a real treat. Yes, I said three types of cheeze.
So, before summer ends, you HAVE to make this cheesy heirloom tomato tart. For one, it is incredibly easy, thanks to tore-bought puff pastry. I only recently realized that most store-bought puff pastry is naturally vegan. This has excited me to no end, and I've been eagerly making tarts and pastries nearly every week.
And two, this cheesy heirloom tomato tart is one of the best tasting things to have ever graced my tastebuds, and I imagine you will feel the same way. The tomatoes get caramelized and even sweeter when roasted in the oven. And when encapsulated in the buttery, flaky dough and savory vegan cheese, they are simply irresistible. This tart should serve approximately four people, but I ate half of it in 10 minutes, so you've been fairly warned.
Now, let's talk vegan cheese. The first cheese I used was a store-bought shredded vegan cheese to layer on top of the puff pastry. I absolutely love the shredded cheese from Parmela Creamery, but it's hard to find, so use whatever you can find. The next cheese is a ricotta-style cheese for topping the tart. You can use a store-bought one (the almond-based ricotta from Kite Hill Foods is divine), but I've also included my homemade tofu ricotta recipe. The final cheese is a cashew parmesan. It's a totally optional garnish but I like the variety in texture and flavor it provides.
That's about all you need to know, so go enjoy some heirloom tomatoes and make this tart!
Cheesy Heirloom Tomato Tart (Vegan)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing the pastry and finishing
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
4-6 heirloom tomatoes, sliced but not too thinly (I used a rainbow assortment)
Salt + black pepper to taste
Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
Cashew Parmesan (recipe below)
Fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper.
Unfold the puff pastry onto the floured parchment paper and using a rolling pin (or a refrigerated bottle of wine) to roll out the dough into a 13x9 inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. To create a border, score a 1/2 inch border using a paring knife, slicing halfway through the pastry but not all the way through. Take a fork and prick the center of the pastry all over.
Brush the border with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a bit of the dried oregano on the border.
Sprinkle the 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese evenly over the pastry center. Arrange the tomato slices evenly on top. Sprinkle the tomato slices with the remaining dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake the pastry until the crust is golden brown, about 22-25 minutes.
Top the tart with chunks of the Tofu Ricotta, add some fresh basil leaves, and a dusting of the Cashew Parmesan. Drizzle on a bit of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
1 14-ounce container extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium lemon, juiced
Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes to remove the excess water. To press the tofu, place a few layers of paper towels underneath the tofu on a cutting board. Slice the tofu into flour slabs. Cover the tofu with a few layers of paper towels. Weigh the tofu down with either (a) a skillet weighed down by a few cans of beans or (b) several heavy books.
Place the pressed tofu in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork until you have medium-sized chunks.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined. Taste for seasonings.
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse repeatedly, until the mixture has a fine, crumbly texture, similar to grated parmesan.