Grain-free Heirloom Tomato & Eggplant Tart with Plant-Based Ricotta

Yield: One 9'' Tart
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Vegan Optional
A slice of grain-free tomato and egg plant tart made with nut cheese on a wooden plate next to the full tart and a silver fork.

It’s that time of year when my friends at the farmers’ market call me the Tomato Hoarder. Each weekend I buy as many bushels of heirloom tomatoes as I can fit into my canvas market tote, knowing that these beauties’ days are numbered. And I never worry about how I’ll get through them. Although — mark my words — this newly developed recipe, which came together by incredible accident, will make an appearance in my kitchen weekly. It’s made with a rich and buttery crust, zesty pesto, creamy ricotta, and delicious seasonal eggplant and tomatoes. Your house will smell like gourmet pizza and your taste buds will thank you.

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 ½ cups (150g) fine almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil or melted ghee*)
  • approximately 2 tablespoons water, as needed

For the Ricotta

  • ⅔ cup (90g) nuts, any one or combination of blanched almonds, cashews and macadamias
  • 1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
  • 1 large egg**

For the Filling

  • 3 tablespoons pesto (homemade or your favourite store bought)
  • 1 small eggplant (such as Fairy Tale or Italian) or about ½ of a medium eggplant, peeled and sliced ½” thick
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or ghee*
  • small pinch fine sea salt

For Assembly

  • ¾ pound heirloom tomatoes (any size, including cherry), sliced ¼” thick
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
  • Optional: basil leaves, for garnish

*While the lactose and casein content in ghee is nil to minimal, use other oil options to keep the recipe 100% dairy-free

**To make this recipe vegan, omit the egg and optionally substitute with 3 tbsp of aquafaba

Instructions

Make the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a medium bowl, stir all crust ingredients together, adding water ½ tablespoon at a time as needed until dough is still a little crumbly but holds together when squeezed.
  2. Press dough into a 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Prick all over with a fork and bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Make the ricotta:

  1. In the meantime, boil a kettle of water. Add nuts to a medium bowl and top with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Rinse and drain nuts several times. Transfer to a food processor or upright blender, add remaining ricotta ingredients (except for egg) and blend until smooth and creamy. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until smooth and creamy but still thick and spreadable (not runny). 
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, add ricotta and stir to combine. Set aside.

Prepare the eggplant:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggplant slices to the skillet and sprinkle with salt. Cook until golden brown on one side, flip and continue to cook until the second side is golden. Transfer eggplant to a plate.

Assemble tart:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, spread the pesto on the baked tart shell. Top with the eggplant slices in one layer. Spread the ricotta mixture over the eggplant, being careful not to move the eggplant around. Arrange tomato slices on top of ricotta (it’s ok if they overlap), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper and flaked sea salt.
  2. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake until ricotta is set and tomatoes are wilted, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Garnish, slice and serve warm.