Riddle me this:
You’re cooking or baking for an event. You have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to make. Your fridge is stocked with the necessary ingredients. At the last second, you spend 45 minutes frantically scrolling through Pinterest in search of a more perfect cookie recipe than the one you already have, then end up making the one you originally planned on AND are late to the party. Why?
No really—WHY? This happens to me, almost without fail, every time. This past weekend found me once again a hot, sweaty mess cooking up a delicious mess of gnocchi and trays on trays of cookies because I couldn’t decide on just one. Contributing to my sweat was the fact that I had already been running around all day without a chance to work out, so I decided to take a break in the middle of cooking to run out my angst in the fastest two miles I’ve run in ages, leaving my roommate to uncertainly pan-toast the gnocchi. In the end, even though I second-guessed my choices too many times, I made exactly what I knew I was going to make (deep, DEEP down) in the first place. And guess what? We were late. We ate food. The food disappeared. It was good. People complimented the cookies.
Note to self: stop second-guessing self. Unless you want to be unnecessarily CRAZY.
In other news, I woke up with a random craving for spanakopita the other day. This tart was actually something I made the night before a dinner party so I didn’t even have the opportunity to second-guess myself the day of (thank God). (And good thing I didn’t because it was a hit.)
Spanakopita craving + an unquittable hankering to try vegan cheese + this tart crust + bags on bags of chickpea flour = spanakopita tart.
It was just a happy coincidence that the night after I made this, I got to go to a Greek restaurant where I ate some “real deal” spanakopita. But after eating this version, I found the authentic stuff overly creamy, salty, and obnoxiously messy (hello greasy phyllo flakes ALL OVER MY LAP). Amazingly, I so prefer this cheese-less version.
I let my cousin–who doesn’t eat cheese, animal products, refined sugar, flour or processed food–inspect the ingredient list before she sampled this (she approved the sampling, which is big).
“But it’s so quiche-y…” said she.
“Yup. Almond cheese.” said I.
“…are you SURE there are no eggs in this? I don’t understand this!”
To be honest, I don’t really either. I tasted the “almond feta” once it was all blended up and wasn’t too impressed. But somehow, along with a big mess of spinach and aromatics, it all turns into a heavenly, slightly tangy, cheesy-tasting, vegetable-packed tart of epically delicious proportions.
The “feta” in this recipe requires soaking almonds for an hour before skinning them, so it requires a bit of prep time. You can do this ahead of time, or you could try substituting a cup of almond meal and skip the whole soaking + skinning process.
Before making the crust, I tested six permutations of quinoa, chickpea flour, oat flour, and almond meal. In the end, I happily ate all of my test rounds so the moral is you can’t really go wrong. The proportions lend themselves to be played with depending on what you have. I left the oat flour out because it tended to create a slightly less crisp and tasteful crust (I like the nuttiness chickpea flour adds). A decent amount of almond meal is a must to give the crust some fat and a nice crispy texture, but you don’t need to go overboard.
This amount of crust just baaaarely covered my 10-inch tart pan (I had to press it out quite thin) but I think it might be a more comfortable fit for a 8 or 9-inch tart. Mini tarts would also be quite cute–just make sure to reduce the baking time and keep an eye on the browning.
PS! The winner of the San Francisco Chef’s Table giveaway is Margot C! Congratulations Margot–I will be emailing you shortly 🙂 Thank you to everyone who entered! Giving things away is so fun–I wish I could have given every single one of you this amazing book!
- For the tart crust:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa I used red quinoa
- ¾ cup chickpea flour
- 6 tablespoons almond meal or flour
- 3 tablespoons water
- generous pinch of salt and pepper
- For the filling:
- 1 cup almonds
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves sliced
- 4 green onions
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- For the tart crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 or 10-inch tart pan. Combine all crust ingredients and mix with your hands until you form a sticky dough. With wet hands, press the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is firm and dry to the touch and is just starting to brown.
- For the filling:
- Soak the almonds in very hot water for about an hour. Once the skins are wrinkly and loose, remove the skins by pinching one end and popping the almond loose. Blend the skinned almonds with the water, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt until smooth (leave mixture in blender).
- Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until they start to take on a bit of color. Add the garlic, green onions and parsley and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until the entire mixture is warmed through.
- Add the spinach mixture to your blender and pulse until you reach desired consistency of the greens (I pulsed until the greens were just little ribbons, but you can completely incorporate the greens or leave them pretty chunky).
- Pour the filling into the crust, smooth the top, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is set and browned slightly.
Mmmmmm…..yum. This looks totally amazing. I’m just starring at the screen looking at how delicious they look. My mouth is watering.
Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen
MMM your tart looks gorgeous!
Hahaha… yep, I get the second-guessing thing. I do it ALL THE TIME. Why do we do it to ourselves?! Anyway, back to this gorgeous tart! I’m actually having a couple of vegan friends over for dinner soon and this looks like it’d be a lovely addition to the feast (added bonus is that it looks like it could be prepared ahead, woop!). Love your food photography as always xxx
I know it’s the WORST!!! Oh man, you and your dinner parties. Someday I want to throw one with you!! I bet you’d throw the loveliest vegan feast in all the land 🙂 You’re right–I do love that this can be made ahead of time–it totally helps cut down on the amount of freaking out pre-dinner party! 🙂 Thanks so much lady <3
Nora (A Clean Bake)
I literally cannot believe that this is vegan. I know that I am beating a dead horse with this, as your friends have already covered the whole “are you sure this doesn’t have eggs” level of disbelief, but seriously. It looks SO good, so rich, and SO. FREAKIN. DELICIOUS. It gives me hope that it is possible to cook without eggs, because as much as I love eggs, sometimes you just want a good vegan dinner. Or, you know, dessert. Whatever. Anyway, hella pinning this!
Nora, as long as you’re complimenting me, you can beat that dead horse all day long!!!!
…what an odd phrase. Anyway, thank you SO MUCH! I agree. I love love love eating eggs but 1) organic free-range eggs are not the cheapest and 2) I feel bad for the chickies when I buy non-organic eggs. Who knows where these eggs are really coming from!! I don’t want to eat eggs from sad, cooped-up chickens 🙁
This sounds and looks amazing! I have got to try this!
Thanks Rosie! 🙂
susan @ the wimpy vegetarian
I’m really interested in your crust recipe. I love using my chickpea flour, and I always have quinoa around, but never ever thought about combining them into a crust. Genius. And this post was so fun to read. Yes, after all these years, I do EXACTLY what you described when cooking something to bring to a party. ALWAYS. Just crazy.
Nancy @ gottagetbaked
Why you calling me out, girl? “Unnecessarily crazy” is my middle name! Sigh. I go through that exact same process every time I plan on making something for an event. What is our problem?! I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I have such insanely high expectations for myself that nowadays, I never feel that anything I make is very good. I’ve got to get my head out of my ass. Anyways, let’s talk about this gaaaaaawgeous vegan, GF tart. You’re amazing! I can’t believe this was made with vegan, GF ingredients. I would’ve been just as shocked as your friend to hear that there were no eggs or animal byproducts used here. This is fabulous, as are your beautiful photos.
Laicie / A Thousand Threads
OMG yes — totally me this weekend too. And always!! More likely I end up making something totally new, screwing it up or wishing I could tweak it before it makes its debut, but it’s too late and I have to take it anyway ha. Such a mess. 🙂
But this recipe looks — and sounds — delicious!! I’m so intrigued by the idea of vegan quiche, I’ll have to try it!
Laicie. That is me, EXACTLY. I can’t help myself from trying new recipes and I sometimes end up REALLY regretting it…but I just can’t help the lure of a bright and shiny new recipe 🙂 If you like spinach quiches, I think you’ll like this! 🙂
Love this! I totally feel you, that “Pinterest-scramble” happened to me this past weekend while I was making Easter brunch… I ended up with a boatload of cinnamon sugar fritters in addition to french toast, fritatta, and salmon bites! Not complaining though…
Ahhh I love “Pinterest scramble!” That’s definitely going to be a hashtag in the future 😉 And oh my gosh, your Easter brunch sounds AMAZING!!!
I love cheese and everything fatty, BUT (a huge BUT) yours looks so yummy and healthy that I am sure will give it a try. I love your photos as always. 🙂
Hahaha glad to hear it! Thanks so much Pang 🙂
Lan | morestomach
i played with chickpea flour recently and i really it, it’s much easier to use than expected. but i’m most interested in the almond feta cheese… organic raw cashews is so expensive and almonds are bit more approachable, what a great vegan cheese option.
Oh tell me about it! Every time I buy organic nuts I cringe…so expensive! But yes, I definitely prefer buying almonds over cashews, which are so common in vegan cheese! I suspect you could probably use whatever nut you have on hand for this “feta,” but almonds definitely work! Thanks Lan 🙂
Natasha @ The Cake Merchant
Oh my goodness, we are indecisive twins. I’ve changed my mind about 20 times already about what I’m baking for Easter. It drives Aaron nuts. Anyway, this tart does looks heavenly, and not greasy at all like regular spanakopita. By the way, I’ve made your baked eggs for dinner now 3 times. So good an so easy! Can’t wait to try this one.
Haha YES!! I think Erik has just rolls his eyes (inwardly, he’s such a nice guy) at this point when I do it…watching me think out loud in circles is like a necessary requirement of dating me, pretty much. And I’m so glad you liked the baked eggs! Funny story–I tried making them again, but my 9×13 dish was taken so I used my 7×12 dish (for like 12-16 eggs) and it was NOT good. The egg layer was so deep that it was not even close to being cooked through after 15 minutes, so I cranked the heat and in the end they were a tad rubbery. Ugh. I can’t even follow my own instructions! Hahaha.
Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
Yeah-stop second guessing yourself! You’re so smart! Like…this spanakopita tart: SO SMART!
Aww you so sweet Kayle 🙂
Hah! I have been going through the same crazy dilemma–just last week I arrived late (bad form!) to my photography class because a) I wanted to make something to share, and b) I couldn’t decide on something yummy enough AND pretty enough (so that I could photograph it, too!) AND healthy. I ended up with a great compromise that I’m posting tomorrow…I think you’ll appreciate it 😉 still, I’m glad this tart worked out because it looks delish. I have some cashew cheese in my fridge, maybe I’ll gather my ingredients tonight…
Ahhh I love hearing about everyone’s stories about being indecisive–it makes me feel so much better 🙂 I am so excited to see what this compromise turned out to be! Hopping over to check it out now and um you should DEFINITELY be gathering those ingredients!! 😉
The vegan 8
OMG Erika you KNOW this is right up my alley girl!! So gorgeous! And I make of course nut “cheese” and desserts all the time. In fact, I have a basil “ricotta” recipe coming soon on my blog and I made it from pine nuts. I LOVE this tart….everything about it and all the ingredients! I need to eat this healthy dinner after downing too many almond joy milkshakes lately, lol!! 🙂
Haha yes! I feel like you’d love it. Basil ricotta sounds amazing!!! Omg your shakes looked AMAZING. I’ll swap you some tart for a milkshake any day 😉
Karen @ The Food Charlatan
I relate most to the “hot sweaty mess” part. When I am frantically trying to put something together that I don’t have the ingredients for (while the stuff I bought sits in the fridge) the impending hour of departure/guests arriving makes me sweat like a horse. A HORSE I SAY. Then people are like geez Karen it’s just dinner and then I punch them in the neck.
LOL your sense of humor reminds me a lot of my friend. Which is to say I love it. And also sweating like a horse? I am intimately acquainted with that feeling so glad to hear I’m not the only one 😉
janet @ the taste space
Haha, your story is too funny. I remember being the same way: tracking down the “perfect” recipe for each dish I wanted to make… I can tell you are an ever-optimizer! For cooking especially, it probably doesn’t matter so much, so I try to keep things more stress-free… we still try to optimize as much as possible elsewhere (ie planning for vacations, cheaper flights, etc). Anyways, when were we to meet up again? This looks so delicious. 🙂
Haha Janet, ever-optimizer is the PERFECT phrase. I think I get it from my mom–she is great at making the best decision for everything, but it sometimes takes awhile to get there! I should take a leaf out of your book when it comes to food 🙂 Arg I think we missed the date when we were going to brunch! I’ve changed my mind–instead of Radical Eats brunch, do you want to do a cooking date? A reader named Gaby commented and said she knew you–shall we all get together and make vegan food someday before you leave?!
Linda | Brunch with Joy
Whoaaa – that looks super gorgeous and I’m really curious to try this now. Speaking of pinterest, that app is dangerous. I can sit for hours browsing and drooling over yummy pictures…which sometimes don’t come with recipes. Boo!
Thanks Linda! It is a fun and delicious tart to make! And the dangers of Pinterest…oh man, don’t even get me started! :p
Choc Chip Uru
Your photos make this spanakopita tart look utterly delicious, I love the addition of almonds 😀
Choc Chip Uru
Jo from yummyvege
That looks soooooo good!
Thanks so much, Jo! 🙂
I could devour this right now! Great pic’s too!
Thanks Tahny! It’s been far too long since I’ve visited your blog…I just clicked over and the new layout looks great! About to dive into your new content right now 🙂
This looks amazing. I have actually become a bit obsessed recently with vegan tarts. I have a nice book, ‘Bake and Destroy’ its called (if we are allowed to say that here!), but the almond ‘feta’ is new to me. It seems now like one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ things actually. In the vegan world one must learn to think in terms of textures I find.
And I won the ‘San Francisco Chef’s Table’ book! Thank you so much I am so thrilled!
OH MY GOSH MARGOT!!! Thank you so much for introducing me to Bake and Destroy–a book written by a pro-wrestler who’s been called “Martha Stewart meets Iron Maiden”?! I cannot WAIT to read the entire thing!! (Have you tried any of Isa Chandra’s recipes? She’s another brilliant vegan recipe writer/developer that I love.) I totally agree with the texture thing–nuts are a saving grace when it comes to creating texture in vegan recipes. So versatile!
And I am so happy you won 🙂
Isa Chandra, oh yes. I subscribe to her blog part of her site. I should buy her book too. I’ve been meaning to make her Black Eyed Pea Curry With Collards & Potatoes.
Truth be told; I’m not the vegan around here. My step-son is, but I adore the challenge and love most of the results so I make vegan food almost every single day. The baking is where the hard part comes I think, though Natalie Slater sure makes you feel like it shouldn’t be. I found her when I found this ‘Suck an Egg’ Handout: Vegan Baking Tips: http://bakeanddestroy.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/BakeandDestroy_POSTCARD.pdf with the instructions for making vegan buttermilk. Now that is one useful and yummy ingredient.
My other texture star is mushrooms of course! I have come to think of them as a ‘meat’ ingredient and am particularly partial to using ‘ground’ mushrooms for all kinds of things.
What!! It’s not often that you hear “my stepson is the vegan”! That is so interesting!
That black eyed pea curry sounds amazing! I’ve made Isa’s pancakes and vanilla cupcakes more times than I can count…highly recommend 🙂
And funny thing–I used to hate mushrooms but now I totally embrace their inimitable flavor! Speaking of ground things, have you ever made vegan taco meat? I have a recipe on my site for raw/vegan tacos that use walnuts for the “meat.” They are surprisingly AMAZING (if I do say so myself haha)!
Michelle @ Hummingbird High
OMG this looks amazing! Your pictures are fantastic. And I laughed when I read your story about stressing out while cooking and baking for an event. That same stress happens to me EVERY TIME, no matter how much I try and plan.
Haha thanks Michelle! Your creations are always so perfect that I’d think you would never have to worry about bringing anything less than stunning! But from one psuedo-perfectionist to another…I totally feel you. Every. Time.
OH my gosh! This is fantastic! Your photos and descriptions are always so well done.
Can’t wait to share this one! Since you did so many test rounds, what would your theory be on deleting the chickpea flour (allergic) and adding more almond flour, or perhaps sweet sorghum flour?
Aww thank you so much!! <3 I'm sure this would be great with more almond flour--I tend to use only little bits at a time if possible since it's more expensive and quite calorie-dense, but the original recipe that I used as inspiration only had almond meal, quinoa and salt! So I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Fitchen's recipe (linked in the notes).
I've actually never tried sweet sorghum flour so unfortunately can't take any guesses there...but I imagine it would be fine 🙂
Great vegan recipe!