Summer is for picnics and alfresco parties; eating finger food, cool sweets and icy drinks. This post’s wee tarts are perfect finger food, made ahead of time and served cold for a picnic. They could also be served hot or cold as canapés for a party as they’re little bite-sized morsels of tasty goodness.
Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein, yet left on its own nobody likes the bland flavour. These wee tarts are flavoursome because the kalamata olive tapenade is mixed with the silken firm tofu. When combined with cherry tomatoes, that provide contrasting pops of sweetness, few will realise they’re eating tofu. It’s important to use firm silken tofu to ensure a creamy texture in the tart’s filling. I’ve chosen to use filo pastry for it’s lightness, yet if you’re looking for a gluten free alternative, you could use the vegan gluten free pastry from my asparagus and lemon labne tart in recipes>spring section. If using filo pastry, make sure you use very little olive oil brushed between each layer. Also, after pushing the filo pastry into the muffin holes, trim the excess pastry so the tart looks neat. I forgot to do this in my eagerness to try out my tart idea. It’s amusing that when I get a food idea; I quickly type the proposed recipe and begin experimenting with such focused enthusiasm I sometimes make minor mistakes, usually resulting in the need to make a second or third batch. This time, please take my word for it, as I’m not recooking the tarts in the next wee while as work has started and there’s no time for a repeat.
· The health benefits of tofu as a meat substitute are numerous. Consuming tofu regularly helps lower bad cholesterol, alleviates symptoms associated with menopause and even lowers the risk of cancer.
· Other major health benefits of tofu compared to meat include making middle-aged bones stronger and delaying the ravages of age. Tofu has been found to be a great source of calcium and vitamin E as well.
· The only difference between tofu and meat protein is that you have to eat more tofu to meet the recommended dietary protein levels. In fact, every 100 g of tofu yields approximately 17.19 g of protein. To get the protein benefit of 150 g of lean meat, you should consume 290 g of tofu.
TOMATO & TOFU TAPENADE TARTS
Makes 6 small tarts
For the tapenade:
230 grams kalamata olives, pitted and minced in blender
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon peel, minced in blender
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
black pepper (optional)
For the tarts:
8 sheets filo pastry or vegan pastry
extra olive oil
350 grams silken firm tofu
1/3 cup tapenade
300 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh basil leaves, to serve
To make the tapenade, combine the olives, garlic, capers, parsley, lemon peel and black pepper in a small bowl. Add olive oil and mix until combined. Makes about 1 cup, which is enough to make about 12 tarts.
Preheat the oven to 180’C. Place a sheet of filo on a clean workspace or a sheet of baking paper, brush a little bit of olive oil and top with another sheet. Repeat layering with the other sheets. Cut into 6 even squares. Press filo squares into 6 holes a jumbo muffin tin and trim the excess into a neat square. In a small bowl, gently mix the tofu and tapenade together. Place spoonfuls of the tapenade/tofu mixture into each filo case, and top with tomatoes, with cut side up, pushing the tomatoes gently into mixture covering the tart. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. To serve, garnish with fresh basil leaves. The tarts can be served hot or cold for a picnic or for party canapés.