Food is one of life’s great pleasures, but so is feeling well and full of energy. At Key Health Partnership, we love to find new ways to keep our meals delicious and healthy – preferably without spending too much time on it.
Our latest “does it work in real life?” recipe test is Meera Sodha’s recipe for vegan tomato, pistachio & saffron tart. It would infringe Meera’s copyright to duplicate the whole recipe on our blog, but you can read it for free here on the Guardian website.
Meera’s blurb claims that the tart can be “thrown together in minutes”. We reckon it could be done in about 15, if you use (as the recipe instructs) a pre-rolled sheet of puff-pastry, but we used gluten free puff-pastry, which had to be rolled out, so it took us a bit longer.
The speed and convenience of this recipe is also, in true Guardian style, entirely dependent on owning a food processor*. This is used for mixing up the pistachio paste, and although most of the paste ingredients would mix easily enough by hand, you do need to pulverise the pistachios. A sturdy blender might do the trick, but to do this manually would involve sealing the nuts in a food bag and bashing them with a rolling pin until they resemble fine crumbs – not impossible, but time-consuming, not to mention noisy.
We also found ourselves wondering whether some people might look at the ingredients and ask who has saffron and tamarind paste just kicking about in the kitchen. Slightly shamefaced answer: us! But it hasn’t always been this way. Since joining Key Health Partnership and learning about the financial (and emotional) cost of fixing health problems after they develop, instead of taking care of yourself in the first place, we’ve been developing healthier lifestyles. A big part of this has involved learning to cook in order to avoid convenience food, so we’ve built up our stock of ingredients. A few years ago, we’d’ve looked at that ingredient list and opted for an off-the-shelf curry instead! The spices do make this into a really flavourful meal, and we can’t imagine the recipe working well without using all of them. So pick up the ones you don’t already have, before you give it a try.
~ tastes delicious
~ but next time we’d use less salt
~ genuinely quick and easy to make, providing you have the right tool
~ great for party food
~ quite drying, mouthwise. Meera says to serve it with a green salad, but we recommend adding something like a nice juicy coleslaw or cold roasted veg (roast peppers and courgettes while you’re cooking the tart, let them cool, chop em up & mix with olive oil & vinegar). Or have a big cup of tea ready!
Gluten free option
We made the tart gluten-free by using Fria gluten-free puff pastry. This stuff is delicious, and WOOHOO READY-MADE GF PASTRY but… it didn’t puff. At least, this particular packet hasn’t puffed on the two occasions we’ve cooked with it, at least not the way the gluten-containing equivalent does. Perhaps we were expecting too much. We’d buy it again regardless – it tastes great and is extremely convenient compared to all other gluten-free pastry methods we’ve tried. Pro tip: if you’re working in a warm kitchen, roll it between two sheets of baking parchment to avoid getting a sticky rolling pin.
UPDATE: since we wrote this, we’ve noticed Jus-Rol gluten free puff, which seems to be easier to source than the Fria stuff.
* If you don’t have a food processor, we really recommending saving up and getting hold of one, because they make healthy cookery much quicker and a great deal more achievable. It doesn’t have to be the newest model – just something sturdy enough to withstand a lot of use, because you will almost certainly fall in love with it and use it constantly.
We love the colours in these pistachios:
Pistachio paste ready to spread:
Red pepper ready for roasting (no oil required – just pop it in!):
Prep roasted red peppers with a bowl of clean water nearby, for rinsing seeds off your fingers:
Salad dressing of olive oil, white vinegar and garlic from Jane Grigson’s amazing Vegetable Book:
Lettuce contains high levels of vitamin K:
Barely containing our hunger while taking this photo:
Our summer supper: