These tarts are a fabulous winter treat. They can even be served as part of Christmas dinner if you’re looking for something a bit different. And if you add a bit of vegan ‘bacon’, you get a smoky savoury treat too.
I love these easy to make tarts as you don’t need to be too precise – always a bonus! The rustic look is a winner 😉
If you don’t follow a whole-food plant-based diet and are just looking for tasty vegan recipe ideas, you can use shop-bought ready to roll pastry. For those of us following a low saturated fat diet, this is not an option even though you can find plant-based pastry. It contains highly refined oils and often palm oil. Definitely not suitable for a programme like Overcoming MS.
So what’s the alternative? I have a great recipe that makes good pastry without any block fats or highly refined oils. It’s not quite as light and delicate as standard pastry. But it’s still tasty and forms a great structure for holding yummy fillings.
I love the combination of flavours in this savoury tart. Roasted Brussel sprouts caramelise beautifully and work well with chestnuts and slightly sharp red onion. This is enhanced even more with a little ‘facon’.
Brussel sprouts and bacon have long been a popular taste combination. However, as a class one carcinogen, and of course coming from such beautifully intelligent animals that pigs are, it’s not a good option. I’m not a big fan of fake meats but find that on occasion they’re a useful addition.
There’s a wide variety of brands available in the supermarkets now. Some come from purely plant-based brands. Others come from established meat companies trying to get a share of the vegan market. Ethically, I would prefer to buy the plant-based only brands. I don’t want to support the meat industry even if it’s a plant-based product. However, sometimes they taste better, so it can be a bit of a dilemma. I’ve wasted a lot of time debating with myself in the plant-based fridge section of our local Tescos!
If you don’t want to buy meat replacements but still fancy that enticing smoky flavour in your tarts, carrot ‘bacon’ is another option. If you have my book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie, you’ll find the recipe in there (it’s not on the blog just yet). Essentially it’s strips of carrot marinated in a tamari, smoked paprika and maple syrup sauce then grilled. It tastes fab. But is a bit of faff.
This recipe is great for batch cooking. The tarts keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. They also freeze well, so great to keep some for a quick meal or unexpected visitor.
If you’re not a Brussel sprout fan, use broccoli or even kale strips instead. Essentially choose something green from the cruciferous family and you’ll get all the sulphury flavour as well as beneficial nutrients.
Chestnuts are readily available in late autumn and winter. You could choose to roast and peel your own. However, I choose to go for the cheats option and buy ready cooked packs as its so much easier!
I love my red onion gravy with these tarts – it finishes the flavours off perfectly. Served with roast or mash potatoes and some rainbow veg, it’s a super tasty and health feast.
I hope you enjoy making these tasty chestnut, Brussel sprout and red onion tarts. Do let me know how you get on.
Chestnut, Brussel sprout and red onion tarts
- 1 portion shop bought or low saturated fat pastry see link to recipe below
- 200 grams Brussel sprouts trimmed
- 1 medium red onion sliced
- 1 thick stem from a head of broccoli trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 4 slices meat-free 'bacon' chopped
- 180 grams cooked and peeled chestnuts finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried thyme or mixed herbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the pastry as per recipe and leave to rest.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Cut the Brussel sprouts in half (or quarters if really big). Rinse under a running tap and tip onto a baking tray. Spray with a little olive oil if desired. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until the sprouts are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of water in the base of a medium pan. Add the sliced onions, chopped broccoli stem and a pinch of salt. Sauté on a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft. Add more water to the pan if needed to prevent sticking.
- Add the grated garlic to the pan and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
- If you are using meat free 'bacon' add this to the pan now and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Whilst the pan is sizzling, roughly chop the roasted Brussel sprouts into small pieces.
- Add the sprouts, chopped chestnuts, dried herbs to the pan and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper then turn off the heat.
- Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Cut into 6 equally amounts and roll each one into a ball.
- Roll out one portion of pastry into a rough round until the pastry is approx 2cm thick. Place on the prepared baking tray. Spoon 1/6th of the savoury mix into the middle leaving a 2.5cm gap to the edge. Carefully fold the edges up over the side of the mix, pinching the pastry together to hold it in place.
- Repeat the stage above until all the pastry and mix is used up and you have six yummy looking tarts on the tray.
- Place the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is firm and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and serve straight away or leave to cool and reheat in the oven for 5 minutes or so when you're ready to eat.