This Spinach & Tofu Ricotta Tart is such an easy peasy and delicious way to knock up dinner for guests or for your family. It was one of my offerings to take to the latest Manchester Vegan Potluck that I went to last weekend. The potluck has become one of my favourite monthly events, and why wouldn't it be? There is a table laden with sensational and inventive vegan food, rustled up by the many talented cooks that attend, and you get to try it all, for free! And usually, there is so much food that I sadly don't get to try everything.
This month's event was a Mediterranean theme. Because of the Easter weekend, there weren't as many of us as usual. BUT it was still wonderful - with many dishes to try and I managed to get a bit of everything this time, with seconds on a few. Anyhow, as I say, this tart was one of my contributions.
The tofu ricotta itself is staggeringly simple to make, and once you know how, you can use it for all sorts of dishes such as lasagne, stuffed pasta shapes, stuffed peppers, quiches, pierogi, and so on. Taste it as you go along and see if you prefer to adjust the ingredients (more garlicky, herby, lemony etc). Do wait until you've combined the other ingredients well before adding the oil though, as the oil sort of makes it a little stiffer to work with with.
And of course, for the tart, you can experiment with different combinations of veggies and herbs, on a puff pastry base like this. You could even cut it into squares before cooking, and make little individual tarts if you want to posh-up a bit.
So, what are you waiting for?
Spinach & Tofu Ricotta Tart
1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
100g / 3.5oz baby spinach leaves, washed and drained
3-4 tablespoons tomato purée
2 tablespoons ground almonds (optional)
310g / 11oz pack firm tofu
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil (or use fresh if preferred)
½ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 395 F. On a baking tray which is lined with greaseproof paper, lay the ready rolled pastry flat onto it (some ready-rolled pastry comes provided with the paper). Onto the pastry, use the back of a spoon to spread the tomato purée out. Then layer the spinach leaves, as shown in the picture above, evenly over the tomato-covered base.
2. Prepare the tofu ricotta by draining the firm tofu, patting dry with kitchen towel, then using your hands to mush it up as much as you can into a mixing bowl. Then with a fork, mash in the garlic, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast flakes and dried basil. Mash and mix well with the fork for a few minutes, then add the extra virgin olive oil and mash some more.
3. Evenly spread the tofu ricotta over the spinach layer by blobbing it all over the tart, then smoothing it out with the back of a spoon. When you are happy the tofu is covering the spinach, finally sprinkle with the ground almonds. The almond flour helps to brown the tart, but can be omitted for people with nut allergy as it is not so essential to flavour.
4. Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for about 5 minutes then serve hot with a large green salad, plum tomatoes and olives.