Every year we have a party at home for my little sister's birthday. The usual spread is offered to the kids - sandwiches, popcorn and crisps, jelly orange boats (ridiculously popular!), sausages.... This year I also did an owl crudités plate, though I fear the design was lost on the children when they couldn't look down on it from a height!
Usually while the children are all bouncing around on the bouncy castle or playing games I'm going round serving all the parents prosecco and serving up some adult food too. Got to be something for everyone, right?!
This year for my sister's 8th birthday I spotted this incredible looking vegetable spiral tart on Pinterest put together on the Kitchen Stories website. There's a handy video guide with a how-to and I thought it was something I could rustle up.
The tart was a massive hit with the parents and everyone so curious to know how it was made. It's definitely a party show-piece - just look at it! And the joy of the recipe? It was really easy. Often you see these elaborate designs for dishes which become style over substance and aren't worth the fiddling and effort that goes into making them.
This one though was totally do-able. With the right veg peeler there is absolutely no reason you can't do this too.
This recipe is my version of the Kitchen Stories tart, but with a few healthy twists.
I've replaced the short-crust base with a quinoa and seed one which is much easier than faffing with pastry. And instead of a cheese and sour cream base for the vegetables I've gone with tofu and hummus, but still with the delicious spicy additions of chilli flakes, nutmeg and paprika.
I really hope you give this one a go. As I said it's a great party piece as the centre for a buffet spread, though warning: it is a bit tricky to slice so get your sharpest knife! It's delicious with a side salad and still great when it's cooled down for quick lunches.
SERVES: Makes 8-10 slices
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
- 200g quinoa
- 30g pumpkin seeds
- 30g sunflower seeds
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 courgettes (if you can get them go for one green and one yellow for even more contrast)
- 2 aubergines
- 3 carrots
- 375g silken tofu
- 100g hummus
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
2. Peel long thin strips from both courgettes, aubergine and carrots. I used a mixture of vegetable peeler, cheese slice (!) and mandolin to get the right thickness for each vegetable.
When slicing try to make all the veg the same width if possible, halving some lengthwise if needed. Season each slice with salt and pepper and set them aside while you do the crust. Try not to skip this resting stage because it helps draw moisture out of the veggies.
3. To make the crust, put the quinoa and seeds in a food processor (I used a Nutribullet) and blend into a fine flour. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the salt and rub in the coconut oil or butter with your hands until you get a breadcrumb consistency. It will get all over your hands... be warned!
4. Add the water a little at a time and keep working together with your hands until a dough forms. Press the dough evenly across the base and up the sides of a tart tin with a removable base. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and leave to cool while you make the filling. Keep the oven on!
5. To prepare tofu filling, add drained tofu to a food processor with hummus, paprika, chilli flakes, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Blitz together until completely combined.
6. Pour the tofu mixture into the base of the pastry case and spread right to the edges in an even layer, covering the bottom.
7. On a separate flat chopping board or tray, arrange vegetable slices in a spiral, alternating the colours. The best method is to start is by rolling up a strip of courgette into a spiral. Hold on to it, and then add a layer of aubergine, then carrot, then courgette and continuing... I promise it does hang together as the vegetables are moist and naturally curl!
Remember to watch the Kitchen Stories video for tips.
8. Carefully transfer the vegetable spiral into the pan, tucking any loose ends in. Continue until the spiral is almost as large as the tart pan. Brush top of tart with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, watching to make sure the vegetables don't catch and burn.
9. Serve warm and remember that sharp knife to slice!
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