Monday, November 7, 2011

Gluten-free lentil and spinach mini tarts with quinoa crust

Breakfast: Spicy beans and rice...little addicted to this.

Lunch: Avocado and cous cous salad with bruschetta

Dinner: Gluten-free lentil and spinach mini tarts with quinoa crust

The older I get, the more I want to have larger groups of people over to eat food and chat and generally have a nice time. When I do this, though, I sometimes find myself stuff in the kitchen, sweating, as I try to cook Thai curry for 8 while making about 4 side dishes, and this is a bit crap.

My newest quest has been to find inclusive dishes - so vegan and gluten-free ones - that can either be made in advance and cooked at the last minute or that I can throw together in a flash. These will definitely be added to that list; served with a cous cous salad, some oregano-roasted vegetables and some dips, they'd be perfect for a night in with some friends.

You'll need:
(Makes 10 mini tarts)
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water + enough to cover quinoa
2 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp chickpea flour
1 tbsp oregano
black pepper
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup red lentils
1 3/4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp paprika

If using dried lentils, soak for at least an hour previous to preparing the meal, and drain
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celcius
Place the quinoa in a pan with just enough water to cover it and set aside for 5 minutes
Drain in a sieve, then place the quinoa back in the pan with 1 1/2 cups water and bring to the boil
Bring down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed
Drain, cool, then stir in the ground flax, chickpea flour and oregano
Grease a cupcake / muffin tin with oil
Distribute the quinoa mix in 10 of the cupcake holders
Press the quinoa mix down with force; allow some of the mixture to go up the sides of the holders and press it firmly to create the crust
The quinoa mix should come up to the top of the cupcake holder
Place in the oven for 10 minutes, by which time the crusts should have started to brown
Set aside and reduce the oven heat to 180 degrees Celcius
In a pan, cook the lentils with the vegetable stock on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the stock has mostly been absorbed, then drain
Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until translucent
Add in the drained lentils, tomato puree and paprika, and heat on low, stirring often
In a separate pan, boil the spinach in water for 5 minutes
Drain the spinach then blend into a paste
Stir this paste into the lentil mix, then remove from the heat
Spoon the lentil and spinach mixture between the quinoa crusts; each should just reach the top of the crust
Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the top of the tarts is beginning to firm
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing gently from the cupcake tin
Serve with a salad or roasted vegetables

The consistency of these mini tarts is not crusty or solid on top, like a quiche. Instead they are more like
the kinds of things that would be taken around a gallery opening by miserable serving staff. They are delightfully creamy, and the quinoa crust is lovely and crispy.

I judge my recipes by the praise they receive when I'm not needling people to tell me their opinions, and when I left these out I came home to a note that simply said "AWESOME SPINACH TART!!", so I'm going to say that these are pretty good and leave it at that.

1 comment:

  1. I love this recipe especially the pie crust!