zucchini

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Zucchini, basil and almond tart

Tarts –sweet or savory- are some of my favorite dishes, as long as they combine a crunchy, taste crust with a rich, creamy filling, enriched with all the seasonal produce.

When I make tarts, I often try to experiment with many different ingredients instead of using “ready-to-bake” pie crusts or the classic “butter-flour- cold water” recipe, in order to explore healthier but yet tasty variations.

As far as it concerns the filling, the adventure begins right here! Depending on the season and the ingredients available, we can create small miracles, without any animal ingredient.

Zucchini, basil and almond tart - Veganinathens.com

So today, I decided to make this zucchini tart for our lunch, with the freshest, tender zucchini I got this morning from the farmers market. In order to highlight the summer character of this dish I decided to add fresh basil leaves.

For the pie crust I mixed ground almonds, white and whole wheat flour and olive oil instead of butter. To make things easier, I added some baking powder into the dough, so as to avoid the pre-cooking of the crust and save some time.

In a recipe like this, nothing could go wrong! It is simply delicious!

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

For the crust

  • ¾ cups (115 gr) all purpose flour
  • ¾ cups (115 gr) whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup (100 gr) raw unblanched almonds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • ½ cup (100 ml) cold water
  • ¾ cup (100 gr) raw unblanched almonds blended into flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the filling

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ kg fresh courgettes sliced
  • 1 medium sized onion diced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic pureed
  • 1 tsp carry powder
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

sunflower seed cream cheese

  • ½ cup skinned sunflower seeds soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup diced and skinned boiled potatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves chopped

on top

  • 2 courgettes sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. For the crust, mix water with olive oil, salt, baking powder and add gradually almond flour, all purpose flour and whole-wheat flour while stirring spoon to make a soft, non-sticky dough. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface until smooth.
  2. Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with clear film or greaseproof paper and chill for half an hour or more.  Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens
  3. For the filling, put olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 1 minute. Add the courgette slices and the garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the wine, salt and pepper and carry powder, lower the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables soften a little bit. Turn of the heat and set aside. We will need the broth that is left in the pan later.
  4. For the sunflower seed cheese, drain the sunflower seeds and blend them with the salt, lemon juice and water in the blender for 2 minutes or until a thick paste is formed.
  5. In a bowl add the cooked potatoes with the broth that is left in the pan and with a fork puree the potatoes. Mix well with the sunflower seed cheese.
  6. Add in the mixture the chopped basil and the cooked zucchini. Mix well carefully, as we want the courgette slices to remain as intact as possible.
  7. Take the dough out of the fridge and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured greaseproof paper to a thickness of 1 cm. If you want you can roll the dough between two parchment papers, but I find it easier to use only one. It depends on everyone’s personal technique. The thing is that there is no easier way to make a pie crust since after you’ ve rolled out the dough you can use the sheet to help you turn the dough over into the tart pan. I used a tart pan of about 22 cm diameter. Fit the dough against the bottom and sides of the pan and with a knife cut the dough even with the top of the pan.
  8. Add the filling carefully –to avoid breaking the underlying pie crust- and smooth the surface with a spatula.Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens
  9. For the cover, combine the zucchini slices with the olive oil, basil leaves, salt and pepper and put on top of the pie forming concentric circles until the top of the pie has been covered.
  10. Sprinkle the pie with a little bit water and cook in pre-heated oven at 200oC for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Let it cool for 15 minutes and serve.

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

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Τhree recipes with zucchini: pancakes, avocado- tzatziki and a refreshing Greek salad΄- Τηγανίτες με κολοκυθάκια, τζατζίκι με αβοκάντο και κολοκύθι και χωριάτικη σαλάτα με κολοκυθάκια - Veganinathens.com

One dish – three recipes with zucchini: pancakes, avocado- tzatziki and a refreshing Greek salad!

During spring and summer, there are plenty of tender, fresh, green zucchini in the markets and not surprisingly they are in the list of the most popular Mediterranean summer vegetables. Particularly in Greece they are used in lots of recipes. Some of the most common are “briam” -a dish similar to ratatouille- stuffed zucchini with rice and herbs, fried or grilled zucchini slices or simply steamed zucchini drizzled with lemon and olive oil.

Last weekend I bought some fresh zucchini and I wanted to use them a little more creatively than I usually do.

Since I am a huge fun of pancakes, the first thing that came to my mind was to make pancakes with grated zucchini. As I wanted a rich and earthy, nutty  flavor I used a blend of chickpea flour and whole meal, while for extra flavor I added plenty of fresh spearmint and spices.

Τhree recipes with zucchini: pancakes, avocado- tzatziki and a refreshing Greek salad΄- Τηγανίτες με κολοκυθάκια, τζατζίκι με αβοκάντο και κολοκύθι και χωριάτικη σαλάτα με κολοκυθάκια - Veganinathens.com

Since pancakes call for a creamy accompanying, I made a refreshing avocado-based  tzatziki (avocado replaces  yoghurt) and grated zucchini instead of grated cucumber, using  a recipe I actually got from Lena -a good friend of mine.

The third part of the plate was the traditional Greek salad, in which cucumbers were also replaced by zucchini and for some extra flavor, I added a little fresh, chopped spearmint, cut directly from my pots.

To complete our lunch and let the taste lead us in the sea of memories and in the heart of the summer, we accompanied this meal with fresh fried potatoes and two glasses of cool white wine.

Τhree recipes with zucchini: pancakes, avocado- tzatziki and a refreshing Greek salad΄- Τηγανίτες με κολοκυθάκια, τζατζίκι με αβοκάντο και κολοκύθι και χωριάτικη σαλάτα με κολοκυθάκια - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

For the pancakes with zucchini

  • 400 gr zucchini coarsely grated
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 150 gr (1 ½ cups) chickpea flour
  • 100 gr (3/4 cup) semolina (I used whole-wheat)
  • 1 handful of tender, fresh spearmint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Avocado tzatziki - Τζατζίκι από αβοκάντο και κολοκύθι - Veganinathens.com

For the avocado-zucchini tzatziki

  • 200 gr zucchini (3 medium) coarsely grated (we can use cucumber instead)
  • 200 gr flesh from about 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 garlic clove crashed and minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Greek salad - Χωριάτικη σαλάτα με κολοκυθάκια - Vegan in Athens

For the Greek salad

  • 2 medium, ripe tomatoes cut into cubes
  • 2 tender zucchini cut into thin slices
  • 1 fresh spring onion or ½ onion cut into thin slices
  • 1 small green or red bell-pepper, sliced
  • small handful of tender, fresh spearmint leaves , finely chopped
  • 10 olives
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt

Τhree recipes with zucchini: pancakes, avocado- tzatziki and a refreshing Greek salad΄- Τηγανίτες με κολοκυθάκια, τζατζίκι με αβοκάντο και κολοκύθι και χωριάτικη σαλάτα με κολοκυθάκια - Veganinathens.com

Method

  1. For the pancakes: mix all the ingredients except from the spearmint with a fork in a bowl. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  2. After 3 hours, add the chopped spearmint and stir.
  3. Grease lightly a nonstick frying pan and place over medium heat.
  4. With a spoon, pour spoons of the mixture in the pan so as to form 4-5 round or oval pancakes. Once baked and get golden brown on the one side, turn them upside down with the help of a wooden spatula and let them cook on the other.
  5. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used. With this recipe you will make about 20-25 pancakes (depending on their size).
  6. Make the tzatziki: put the grated zucchini (or cucumbers) in a fine sieve, add salt and leave them for 1 hour to drain. Then press or squeeze them with your hands and transfer in a bowl.
  7. Mash the avocado or blend in a blender along with the garlic, the lemon-juice and the vinegar.
  8. Transfer the mixture into the bowl with the grated zucchini, stir with a spoon and taste, adding salt or vinegar (or even garlic if you like a stronger taste) as necessary.
  9. Put in an airtight glass container and place immediately in the fridge.
  10. Make the salad just before serving: Put all ingredients in a salad bowl, add salt, oregano, olive oil and vinegar, stir and serve.

Τhree recipes with zucchini: pancakes, avocado- tzatziki and a refreshing Greek salad΄- Τηγανίτες με κολοκυθάκια, τζατζίκι με αβοκάντο και κολοκύθι και χωριάτικη σαλάτα με κολοκυθάκια - Vegan in Athens

Note: chickpea flour is a pulse flour made ​​from ground chickpeas and is used in many Asian countries, such as India and Pakistan. Its advantage compared to common wheat flours, is that it doesn’t contain gluten and it is also higher in protein, certain vitamins, iron and trace minerals. It is easily found in organic shops or Asian stores. I buy it in bulk from an Asian store in the central market of Athens where it costs around 2 euros per kilo. It may be an “extra” material in the recipe, but it is really worthy, since not only it replaces the eggs and helps to keep our materials together, but it also gives an extra nice texture and flavor to the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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