Vegetable Tarts are a colourful combination of in-season vegetables scattered over puff pastry sheets, and baked until golden and crisp. Use my recipe or adapt it with your favourite veggies or herbs. Just make sure you follow my tips so you don’t end up with soggy pastry.
Who said tarts are only for dessert? Fill a sheet of pastry with vegetables, cheese and herbs, and you have the makings of a sensational meal. The possibilities for savoury tarts are endless. I will however, give you some tips that will help you to both cook the veggies perfectly and to achieve a nice, crisp pastry.
Veggie sizes: I have given you exact sizes to cut your veggies, based on how long they take to cook. The pumpkin is cut into smaller cubes than the zucchini or the eggplant because it’s a firmer veggie. The other option is to cut everything the same size, and add them to the frypan, starting with the veggie that takes longer to cook first. Lastly, make sure your veggies have cooled after cooking before you add them to the pastry.
Sauteeing Versus Roasting: To save time, l prefer to sautee my veggies as sauteing takes between 8-10 minutes compared to 25-30 minutes in the oven. To oven roast, coat the veggies with oil and place on baking/parchment paper in a preheated oven at 180 C for 25-30 minutes or until veggies have softened.
Keep the pan fairly dry: This is a balance between adding enough oil for the veggies to cook, but not so much that your pastry will become soggy when they are added. The amounts l have given you work well to avoid this problem.
Trim the edges: A blunt, rounded edge cements the layers together, preventing them from rising. I suggest that you trim the sides of pastry by 1/2 cm/1/4 ” with a very sharp knife. Do not drag the knife across the pastry as this will stick the layers of the pastry together. Lift and lower knife from one edge to the other.
The feta cheese: Use a paper towel to pat dry your feta before you crumble it. Place the veggies on top of the feta rather than directly on the pastry to keep the pastry as dry as possible.
Bake at 190 C/375 F: You need a high temperature for the pastry to rise and become crisp.
What to Serve with Vegetable Tarts
Served with a side, my Vegetable Tart recipe can easily serve four people.
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Servings: 2 – 4
- 5 tbsp olive oil (separate into 2 tbsp and 3 tbsp quantities)
- 1 leek or 1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced (note 1)
- 350 g/12 oz pumpkin diced into 1.5 cm /1/2″ cubes
- 2 medium zucchinis sliced in half lengthways and cut into 1 .5 cm/1/2 ” half circles
- 1 medium eggplant cut into 2.5 cm/1 ” cubes (note 2)
- 1 tsp mixed herbs (note 3)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 chargrilled red capsicums/red peppers cut into strips (store bought) (note 4)
- 2 sheets puff pastry (store bought) (note 5)
- 150 g/5 oz feta cheese
- sprigs of fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large fry-pan over moderate heat. Add the sliced leek. Saute until it just begins to wilt.
- Place pumpkin, zucchini and eggplant in a large bowl. Add 3 tbsp oil and toss until well coated.
- Add the pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant, mixed herbs, salt and pepper to the frypan. Stir to combine. Saute until almost cooked through and still a little firm. If necessary, add a little more oil. Filling should not be too wet or your pastry will become soggy.
- Stir through capsicum strips. Set aside to cool (note 6).
- Trim the sides of pastry by 1/2 cm/1/4 ” with a very sharp knife. Do not drag knife across pastry. Lift and lower knife from one edge to the other. Cut the pastry sheets in half. Line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment paper. Place pastry sheets on trays.
- Crumble about 3/4’s of the feta over your pastry. Divide veggies into 4 portions. Scatter veggies in ONE LAYER over the pastry leaving a 2 cm/1 ” border.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden (note 7).
- Remove from oven. Garnish with fresh thyme and remaining feta cheese.
- Suggested sides: Grilled haloumi, roast potatoes, fries, garlic bread, Greek Salad, Greek Meatballs (Keftedes), Spinach Rice, Lentils and Rice or Spicy Steak.
- Discard dark leaves, wash and thinly slice white and light green leaves.
- Eggplants can be rather chunky. A more slender eggplant works better in this recipe. Slice the cheeks off the eggplant and cut into cubes. The cubes hold together better if one side has skin on. Lebanese eggplants which are long and slender would be ideal.
- A packet of mixed herbs is a convenient way of adding herbs such as thyme, sage and marjoram without having to buy separate packets.
- You will need 1 cup of capsicum strips. Depending on the size of your store bought red peppers, you may need to use fewer than 4. I used four as the red peppers in my jar were quite small.
- The puff pastry sheets l buy measure 25 cm x 25 cm (10″ x 10″) per sheet.
- Make sure your veggies have cooled down before placing them on the pastry sheets. Hot veggies contribute to soggy pastry.
- If you use 2 trays on separate oven racks, remove the tray from the lower and place on the higher rack for a few minutes extra to allow the pastry to colour.