Asparagus, potato and filo pastry are three of my favorite ingredients, and together they sounded beyond perfect. Since I had all three ingredients at home, I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen, roll up my sleeves, and start cooking.
Of course, I had one challenge: veganizing Jamie’s recipe which had in it tons of cream, butter and eggs. But I was confident I could do it, and make the recipe much healthier in the process.
The tart was as delicious as I had hoped it would be, and the contrasting textures of the crisp pastry, the creamy potato filling and the nutty, al dente asparagus were divine. This tart is also versatile, and can be perfect for a light dinner or lunch or even brunch. Or just serve it as a healthy, hearty side-dish. Any way, it’s a winner.
6 sheets of filo pastry
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing the filo
5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled, then cubed and boiled until tender
1 package vacuum-packed silken soft tofu
1/2 cup soy milk, warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds
1/4 cup of vegan cream cheese like Tofutti (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh-ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 pound asparagus spears, hard ends removed. Just bend the asparagus stalk at the bottom and break off where it naturally bends, about 1/4th of the way up. Then put the asparagus stalks in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes, drain immediately and set aside
Brush the bottom of a rectangular baking dish with olive oil.
Now place a sheet of filo pastry in the dish and brush with the olive oil all over.
Layer another sheet of filo pastry over the first sheet and also coat with oil. Repeat until you’ve used up all sheets. Work quickly because the filo dries fast. You can keep the sheets covered with a damp towel.
In a large bowl, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes.
Blend together the silken tofu, soy milk and vegan cream cheese, then add to the mashed potatoes and continue mashing.
Add the salt and pepper and nutmeg. Mix together well.
Pour the mashed potato mixture into the filo pastry dish. Smooth the top.
Now lay the asparagus spears side by side along the length of the baking dish, on top of the mashed potatoes.
Brush the top with any remaining olive oil, fold under any filo pastry that’s hanging over the edge of the baking dish, and then bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or until the filo pastry is golden brown.
Remove and set aside for 10 minutes before cutting in.
My filling was still creamy which is how I liked it, but if you’d like it to be more set, as with eggs, you can add 2 tbsp of cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp of warm soy milk to the mashed potato mixture.
If you’re a fan of filo pastry, you might also want to check out my recipe for vegan bakhlava, which was one of the first I ever posted on Holy Cow!