A Vegan Savoury Tart for The Last Days of Summer… sigh.

by L Matthews on September 10, 2012

vegan savoury tart recipe

Tart up your vegan lunch.

Sometimes you just feel the need for a tart. A vegan caramelised onion, tomato, tofu ricotta and pesto-topped type tart that is. Sometimes, you can look at picture after picture of other people’s tarts and just find them unsatisfying; this is when you need to get creative and turn the world of tart tatin upside down. The following recipe can make one larger nine inch diameter tart to share or a trio of smaller tarts to serve individually, which can give your tart a more professional appearance; tarting up your tart you might say (if you were me).

Semi-Sweet Vegan Cheese and Onion Tart

To make the light, and slightly sweet, tasty vegan tart crust you will need:


  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp (vegan) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp earth balance spread or other vegan hard margarine
  • 2 tbsp ice water

For the vegan tart filling you will need the following:

  • 1 large red onion, or two smaller red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar, for caramelising
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 cup tofu ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

For the tofu ricotta:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nooch (nutritional yeast)

The Method to the Badness

Start with your onions. These beauties take time to melt down into delicious caramelised goodness… if you rush then you’ll likely burn them and that’s rarely a good thing, especially if your smoke alarm is as sensitive as the one in my kitchen. Sorry neighbours.

  1. Add your sliced onions to a saucepan with a little water and then sprinkle the sugar over the top of them, trying to get a fairly even distribution.
  2. Turn the heat on low and leave to warm, until the sugar has melted. Stir a little to mix up the sugar and keep on a low heat for another twenty minutes or so, making sure to check the onions aren’t burning. They will cook in their own juice and become a delicious sweet wriggly mess of oniony worms. Leave them cooking on a low heat while you make your pastry.

To make the tart crust:

  1. Mix your dry ingredients and then chop in the margarine until all the fat is coated.
  2. Then plunge your hands in and breadcrumbify it, remembering to lift your hands out of the bowl as you rub the flour into the fat – this keeps air in the pastry dough and helps make it lighter. Also, if you have hot hands (lucky you), it can help to run your hands under a cold tap and quickly dry them before making pastry. Cold hands make for a lighter pastry folks. My poor circulation has to have some benefits I suppose.
  3. Once you have what looks like a fine meal consistency start adding in the ice water and stir with a knife until the dough starts to form into clumps. You may need to get your hands in there again to make a ball of dough.
  4. Wrap your ball of dough in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then get to work on your ricotta and check on your caramelised onions, if they look good and goopy then turn off the heat and let them cool.



I recommend making buckets of vegan tofu ricotta as it’s not only great in this tart but is a wonderful sandwich filler, great as a soft cheese on crackers, and a delicious mix with baked potatoes or even incorporated into vegan lasagne. Having some in your fridge constantly makes life that little bit lovelier. To make the tofu ricotta, which was inspired by the Veganomicon:

  1. Add the cashews, lemon juice, salt, garlic and half the olive oil to a decent sized food processor and blitz until creamy and smooth.
  2. Crumble in the tofu, a little at a time to make it easier to incorporate. Blitz away until it’s all mixed up.
  3. Add in the basil and nutritional yeast and, if the mix is a little too dry, add the rest of the olive oil until it resembles a slightly harder cream cheese than, say, Tofutti.

Tart Time!

As this dough is pretty light and sticky it really helps to roll it out between two layers of clingfilm. This also helps when transfering it to your pan. Flour your pan first, don’t grease it as the pastry is already a little wet and will stick. The flour helps you just tip out that tart when done. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To construct your delicious vegan caramelised onion ricotta tomato tart:

  1. Roll out the dough to around a 1/4 inch thick to cover your chosen tart pan(s). Press it up the sides to give yourself at least an inch of tart depth to fill.
  2. Stab the bottom of the pastry with a fork a few times so the air can be released as it bakes.
  3. Bake the tart blind for fifteen minutes then set aside to cool for a minute or two while you retrieve your fillings from the fridge and chop those tomatoes.
  4. Spread a 1/4 inch layer of caramelised onions across the base of the tart, then spoon chunks of tofu ricotta on top until most of the onion is covered – don’t try to spread it as the layers will just mush together.
  5. Lightly press the tomato halves, cut side up, into the ricotta until most of the tart is covered, then sprinkle on the basil leaves and drizzle a dash of olive oil across the whole tart.
  6. Bake the tart again for fifteen minutes, then take it out of the oven and, if desired, add the pesto in tiny blobs to the top of the tart and return to the oven for another ten minutes (this way the pesto won’t burn but will be a little crispy).



vegan recipe ideas late summer lunch

Serve individual tarts with roast potatoes and steamed veg for a late summer lunch.

After your pastry is nice and firm, but not burnt (!), and the tomatoes are a little gooey but still intact, set the tart aside to cool for a few minutes while you serve up a delicious salad or steamed vegetables, and some crispy roast potatoes or boiled new potatoes. This vegan tart offers a decent amount of calcium and magnesium, some lovely lycopene from those tomatoes, and a nice dose of quercetin from the onions to help you deal with summer allergies. Make the tart gluten-free by subbing the wheat flour for a mix of rice flour, soy flour, quinoa flour and a dash of xantham gum. Or, turn this into a sweet fall tart by adding pumpkin pie mix or stewed and sweetened apples. Get creative with your tart, you know they like it.

This tart is a little easier to cut once slightly cooled or just serve up your individual vegan caramelised onion cheesy tarts for a lovely summery lunch. Pimm’s O’Clock!

Browse more tasty vegan recipes…


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