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Vegan Summer Tart - Pitta and Vata Balancing

I have been experimenting over the last few weeks with creating new, sattvic (non aggravating) recipes that are more appropriate for the summer months with ingredients we can find at this time of year. This has been one of my favourites so far because it's very indulgent but light at the same time. For me it fulfils a desire for french style pastries whilst avoiding the heaviness and intense kapha and ama producing quality of dairy products and white flour. I have made a suggestion here for the filling but you can use anything you like; roast some squash or red pepper or steam some spinach (but make sure to drain off any water), whatever you have in the fridge, then cover with this lovely creamy sauce which will set nicely in the oven.

This recipe is particularly pitta and vata balancing due to its earth and water characteristic and cooling and moistening qualities. However, it's also great for kapha dosha looking for that indulgent, creamy meal whilst trying to avoid aggravation. The wholemeal flour helps to balance the effects of the fat and having this tart with lots of green veg will up the astringent flavour profile, necessary for kapha balance. The mustard in the creamy sauce and the nutmeg and cumin in the mix also helps to balance the kapha elements while making this dish easier to digest.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

200g wholemeal flour or wholemeal spelt flour

100g coconut oil (room temp or chilled, not liquid)

Salt and pepper

A splash of water

For the filling:

1-2 shallots

3 garlic cloves

1 courgette, chopped finely

Around 10-12 mushrooms, chopped finely

1 tsp of dried tarragon

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg

A splash of white wine vinegar

A splash of tamari (or 1/4 tsp of himalayan salt)

Black pepper to taste

A sprig of fresh fennel leaves, chopped finely (or 1 tsp of fennel seeds)

A 300g packet of silken tofu (I used clear spring)

A 200g packet of creamed coconut (soften this by placing the plastic packet in warm water for 10 mins before opening)

1 tsp mustard

About 1/4 cup of soya milk

Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Grease a medium tart dish with coconut oil and dust with flour. Turn the oven to 200C.

2. For the pastry: In a food processor, blend together everything but the soya milk until well combined, add some soya milk little by little until a nice dough is formed (you may not need much at all, you don't want the dough to be sticky). Place the dough in the fridge for 10 mins (any more than this it will become too stiff).

3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to make a round about 1/2cm thick. Place this in to the tart dish and press in to the sides to form an even layer. Pierce with a fork and blind bake for about 12 mins or until slightly firm.

4. For the filling heat up 1/2 tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 mins then add the garlic and cook until soft. If anything starts to burn or stick to the pan add the vinegar at this point -otherwise leave it till after the spices have been added.

5. Add the spices and herbs (aside from the fresh fennel), courgette and mushrooms and stir on a medium heat.

6. Add the vinegar and tamari, stir until all veg are soft then add the fennel leaves for the last minute of cooking.

7. In a food processor blend together the silken tofu, creamed coconut, soya milk, mustard and pepper.

8. Place the courgette mix in the pastry case then pour over the creamy mix and spread until even. You can grate over some vegan cheese for a nice finish if you like (I use violife cheddar).

9. Cook in the oven until set (around 35-40 mins).

10. Serve with boiled new potatoes and mangetout/runner beans or peas to make a balanced meal.

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