Show of hands…who’s having Tofurkey this Thanksgiving?
Ya…me neither! This vegetarian has never even tasted Tofurkey, probably never will taste a Tofurkey! Google a picture of Tofurkey, I dare ya…it will send shivers up your spine!
Now Lentil & Mushroom Tart is a whole notha story, I can eat this over and over again! In fact I did; I knew that this was going to be really, really good, so I doubled the recipe and made two tarts. One I served to my ladies bible study group, (basically they were my guinea pigs) and I’ve been getting requests for the recipe ever since. And the other I kept for home, and when I gave it to Billy to eat for lunch, he eyed it suspiciously at first, cuz a tart for lunch is kind of a girl thing, and then after that initial hesitant bite he dove in and devoured the rest!
This savory tart has layer upon layer of flavor; with peppery lentils, earthy mushrooms, sweet caramelized onions, walnuts for texture and creamy goat’s cheese. I like the crispness of the fillo dough crust in contrast to the soft filling. To keep Mushroom & Lentil Tart healthier I used heart healthy extra virgin olive oil in place of butter in the pastry layer, and there is only 4 ounces of goat cheese in the entire tart. Aside from every bite being packed with flavor, it’s also packed with protein.
Mushroom & Lentil Tart is fancy enough to serve as an appetizer and it’s hearty enough to serve as an entrée, the flavors will compliment pretty much every dish that you might make for a holiday meal, which is why I think that is a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. Vegetarian or not, everyone will ooh and aah over this dish!
LENTIL & MUSHROOM TART
Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée, 8 as a side or appetizer
FOR THE TART
½ lb. Fillo pastry sheets, thawed (my package comes with two ½ lb. portions)
1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 ¼ cups Cooked and drained Lentils
1 recipe Caramelized onions (recipe follows)
1 recipe Browned mushrooms (recipe follows)
1/3 cup Chopped walnuts, which have been toasted in a skillet
1 recipe Egg base, (recipe follows)
4 oz. Goat cheese
1. Place one of the oven racks into the lowest slots in the oven and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a coat of olive oil on to a 10 inch tart pan, which has been placed on a sheet pan.
2. Brush a generous amount of olive oil onto one side of the first sheet of fillo dough, place that on to the bottom of the tart pan allowing about 3 inch over hang, repeat with 5 more sheets of pastry, lining the bottom of the tart pan to create the bottom layer. For the remaining sheets of fillo dough you can use a lighter hand in brushing the oil on to each sheet of pastry, or use an oil mister to make for quick work, lay the sheets one by one covering the entire bottom of the pan, and coming up the sides, to create an even crust. Fold and roll the excess pastry over to make an attractive edge, brush that with oil.
3. Spread the lentils in an even layer in the bottom of the tart. Spread the walnuts, caramelized onions, and browned mushrooms also evenly over the lentils. Gently pour the egg base into the tart. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, on the lowest rack in the oven, until the center has set and the crust is deep golden brown. Allow the tart to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the tart pan, and then cutting into slices using a serrated knife. Serve the tart hot, or at room temperature.
*Note: This tart may be prepared in advance by partially cooking the tart, and then cooking in the rest of the way through when you’re ready to serve, making this a great dish for entertaining! To do this: bake the tart for only 30 minutes, and allow it to cool slightly, before covering and refrigerating, do not remove the tart from the pan. And then when you’re ready to reheat, remove the tart from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and then finish cooking in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tart is heated all the way through. By the time it’s heated through, it will be completely cooked.
FOR THE LENTILS
½ cup Lentils, green or Puy
1 ½ cups Water
1 Bay leaf
10 stems Fresh thyme, or 2 sprigs of rosemary
¼ tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1. Add all of the ingredients except for the olive oil to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
2. Drain the lentils and toss them to coat with the olive oil, remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme or rosemary stems; set to the side.
Note* If you’ve got leftover lentils you can use those and skip this step, you will need 1 ¼ cups of cooked, drained lentils.
FOR THE CARAMELIZED ONIONS
1 Medium onions, sliced
10 stems Fresh thyme, or a couple of sprigs of rosemary (there’s no need to pull the leave off)
½ Tbsp. Butter
½ Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. Sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1. Add all of the ingredients except for the balsamic vinegar to a large skillet, start the skillet on medium-high heat and stir frequently, just until the onions begin to get soft, and then turn the heat down to medium and cook stirring occasionally until the onions have caramelized and are an almost jam like consistency, about 20 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook just until the vinegar has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions to cool. Remove and discards the stems from the thyme or rosemary.
FOR THE MUSHROOMS
12 oz. Mushrooms, button or cremini, sliced
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 tsp. Fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. fresh rosemary which has been finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, in a large heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms, leave them for a couple of minutes to brown on the bottom side, and then turn them and season with fresh thyme (or rosemary), and a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper; cook for a couple of more minutes stirring occasionally, when the mushroom are completely browned remove them from the heat and allow to cool.
**Notes: I have been advised of, though I've not tried it myself as of yet, a method for caramelizing onions in the oven, which I learned after making this recipe. If you want to give it a shot it may make life easier. You may also brown the mushrooms in the oven at the same time, but on separate pans. To do this, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. For the Caramelized onions, toss all of the ingredients together on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. For the mushrooms, toss all of the ingredients together on a sheet pan, roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once.
FOR THE EGG BASE
½ cup Milk
1/3 cup Heavy cream
2 Tbsp. Plain Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp. Freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.