What do fresh off the vine, ripe seasonal tomatoes remind you of? For me, it’s sitting in the sun eating whole bowls of them – popping one after the other into my mouth when I was a little girl; I still do this now. It brings back memories of the warming sun, the sweet taste of those plump little morsels and endless summer days.
So, as it’s the first of June today and the sun is shining through my window creating nothing but smiles across my day, I decided to recreate that memory in a gorgeous tart based dish and I’m so happy with the result.
It encapsulates the heirloom tomatoes in all their scented and multi-coloured glory surrounded by the creamiest, cheesiest filling and held together by a nutty walnut base which has been baked with a good drizzle or two of a high quality olive oil, lots of fresh basil and oregano and cooked to perfection – creating summer in every mouthful and a dish that will make you want to pick up every last crumb.
Heirloom tomatoes are the closely related and underdog cousin of the traditional tom but in my honest opinion completely trump the hybrid variety in taste, texture and style.
Ranging from blush pink, to green zebra striped and even white and black variants heirloom tomatoes bring a whole host of flavour profiles to a dish from adding saltiness, sweetness, smokiness and more. Completely different from your average red you find in the supermarket, heirloom offspring are best found at local farmers markets and small artisan shops and their fragrant and complex compounds may just be your best find all summer.
It’s best to grab a bunch of different shapes and sizes and savour them raw to understand what they bring to a dish. Let each one burst in your mouth allowing your palate to understand their individual narrative and combine gems for a flavour explosion like no other.
These tomatoes are super versatile from topping on toast, turning into gazpacho or layering with other seasonal finds – they are happy to take a backseat and help others shine, or take centre stage themselves. When paired with the right ingredients, they are truly magical. And, for me, nothing works better than pairing their ultimate sunshine sweetness with a creamy sauce and nutty base. The walnut crust adds flavour and texture to the soft filling and the sauce envelopes the main ingredients adding another depth to the dish which works perfectly on its own or served with a fresh light salad or roasted vegetables – with lots of dips on the side.
Can’t get your hands on cashews, or not a fan? You can make a macadamia sauce that is just as creamy and delicious as the original – just swap the nut out and follow the recipe exactly. And don’t worry if you think the chickpeas are going to make the sauce heavy and gloopy, they actually bring a lightness to the sauce that you’re unable to achieve with just the nuts alone. And while we are talking nuts – hazelnuts also work very well for the base of the tart if walnuts aren’t your jam.
It just adds a sweeter note to the final base. Or even buy a ready-made crust if you aren’t feeling confident. Although this is one of the simplest bases to make, so is a great starting point in your baking journey. I use a combination of Gluten Free flours to make this base suitable for those with a gluten intolerance, but feel free to use your normal flour favourite instead.
If you are looking to take this tart to work, to an external event or just want to enjoy on a long summer walk, avoid packing it in containers that can cause the tart to sweat. Try wrapping in string/twine and newspaper or transfer in their tins or dishes with a tea-towel wrapped lightly around them. You can find out some more quick and helpful hacks in keeping your vegan dishes in tip-top shape when dining outside in this blog post here.
If you like this recipe, why not give one of my other Summer Picnic Recipes a go?
My zero-waste, ‘throw-everything-in’ roasted vegetable and bean salsais the perfect salad for long summer days made complete with cauliflower and fennel. Why not level up the classic potato salad by swapping the traditional condiment for a zingy homemade tzatziki.
And for dessert nothing screams Summer than these deliciously zesty Elderflower Cupcakes with a tangy Lemon Frosting– I’ll take 3 please!
I really hope you love this delicious dish as much as I do; make sure to post and tag with @rebelrecipes #rebelrecipes if you make this dish so I can see and repost your gorgeous creations!
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