Spring has Sprung with this Asparagus and Leek Tart

by Pamela


Asparagus and Leek Tart

You can definitely tell it’s Spring here in California.  The weather has finally turned the corner (I think) and the days are getting longer.  I love it when it’s still light out past 7 o’clock.  I just feel like I get so much more accomplished.

I’ve got my garden in and, as far as I’m concerned, the tomatoes and cucumbers can’t come in soon enough.  Of course wait until July when I’m freaking out that I’ve got 20 pounds of tomatoes and don’t know what to do with them anymore.

The other way I know the seasons are changing…I was at the Farmer’s Market and noticed that I was completely overdressed.  Khaki cropped pants and a long sleeve T is now the equivalent of a nun’s habit (apparently).  I’m not sure when the market turned the corner (as in street corner) but it must have happened while I was on one of my recent trips out of town because it wasn’t always like this.  The new dress code is high heel wedges, short skirt or shorts, tight t or tank top and completely done hair and makeup.  And this is the current dress code for those over 30.

When did the Farmer’s Market turn into the local ‘meet’ market?  While there aren’t many single men that frequent the market, the one’s who do are usually pretty fit looking specimens.  My guess is that they are either personal trainers or guys who work out a lot.  So I suppose that’s part of the draw for the preening post prom queen set.  But have they ever heard the saying “stop trying so hard?”  Plus, the fact that they are 10-15 years older than most of these guys does nothing to convince us that they’re not desperate for attention.

That being said, the other sign of Spring is lots of asparagus and leeks at the market.  So I couldn’t resist putting the two together and making this gluten free vegan tart.  Stop freaking out about the gluten free and vegan labels.  This tastes so good no one will know it’s actually good for them, or you.

Relationship Advice

Ladies, stop trying so damn hard!  I’m not saying to go out of the house looking like a slob, but when you primp and pimp yourself out to look like you’re trying to pick someone up it just looks bad…really bad.  Relax and enjoy yourself in your surroundings.  The more comfortable you appear to be the more approachable you are to others.

Serves 4


Buckwheat Crust Recipe

  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Solid Vegetable Shortening (Non-Hydrogenated)
  • 2 1/4 Tablespoons Water

Vegan Sauce Recipe

  • 2 Cups Chopped Cauliflower (1 medium head)
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil + more for drizzling
  • 1/2 Lemon Juiced
  • Kosher/Sea Salt
  • Pepper

Asparagus and Leek Filling

  • 2 Cups Asparagus (cut to 1″ pieces)
  • 2 Cups Leek (white and light green parts only cut to 1/4″ pieces)
  • 5 Thyme Sprigs (leaves stripped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher/Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hazelnut Oil (for drizzling)*


For Buckwheat Crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.  Stir flour and salt together.  Cut in shortening until dough forms crumbs (should look like wet sand).  Add water and mix until dough forms.  Depending on the humidity, you may need to add additional water.  If so, add 1/2 tablespoon at a time until dough forms.  Be careful not to over mix.  (This dough will have the consistency of wet sand, it won’t come together and be stretchy like a regular pie dough.)

Spoon the buckwheat dough into a 9″ tart pan and press to cover bottom of pan.  Then add dough to the sides, pressing it together like you did on the bottom.  Gently prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork.

Line the dough with parchment paper and fill the bottom with dried beans or rice.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  (The crust may slightly pull away from the sides of the pan.  Let cool for 20 minutes, then remove parchment paper and beans or rice.  Let crust thoroughly cool before adding filling.

For Vegan Sauce: Keep the oven at 425 degrees Farenheit.

Spread chopped cauliflower and garlic on baking sheet.

Drizzle olive oil onto the vegetables and mix well to thoroughly coat.  Sprinkle with kosher/sea salt.

Roast in oven for 40-45 minutes.  Vegetables should be brown on edges and slightly softened.

Pour roasted cauliflower and garlic into a blender and add lemon juice.  While blender is running, drizzle olive oil into the mixture.  Sauce should have a thick, but still pourable consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that there is also some salt in the crust as well as additional salt and pepper in the filling)

For the Asparagus and Leek Filling: Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Once oil is hot, add asparagus and leeks to the pan.  Add a pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper.  Stir the vegetables as they cook.  Keep stirring while they cook so that they don’t burn.  Cook until they begin to soften (approximately 5-7 minutes).  Remove from heat.

Assembling the Tart: Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Once the crust has cooled, pour enough of the roasted cauliflower sauce to cover the bottom of the crust. (there will be some sauce left over)  Do not completely fill the crust to the top.

Spread the asparagus and leek filling over the top of the sauce.  Make sure that vegetables are spread evenly.

Lightly drizzle with hazelnut oil.

Bake for 15 minutes.


almostveg April 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

I love the vegan sauce – shall have to try this one.

wendi April 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm

You had a star for hazelnut oil. Alternative??
Thanks! This looks great!

Pamela April 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hi Wendy, You can use olive oil if you aren’t able to find hazelnut oil.

Amy April 21, 2010 at 6:18 am

Is non-hydrogenated shortening something I can find at Whole Foods? I made the crust yesterday with coconut oil, but I don’t think the rest of the family will like the coconut-y flavor. I’m heading to WF today, so I’ll take a look. Thanks for your answer!

Pamela April 21, 2010 at 7:53 am

Hi Amy,

Yes, you can get the non-hydrogenated shortening at WF. I have found it elsewhere (sometimes), but for sure it’s at WF.

Amy April 19, 2010 at 6:56 am

Oops — I mentioned changing the flour, but buckwheat flour is OK. You have such great recipes!!

Amy April 19, 2010 at 5:43 am

This looks so delicious! One question — I am starting Dr. Junger’s “Clean” regimen again this week, and was wondering if you thought this could possibly be made clean. I know that I can change the type of flour, but is there anything I could use instead of solid vegetable shortening. (I’m afraid that I already know the answer, but thought I would throw it out there.) OR, any idea of a clean way to serve the yummy filling??

Pamela April 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Hi Amy,

The flour and the shortening used in this recipe are Clean. The vegetable shortening that is used here is non-hydrogenated shortening, not Crisco or the usual solid shortenings you may be thinking of.

Kristi Rimkus April 17, 2010 at 8:20 am

I’ve saved this to make in the future. Asparagus is still inexpensive and I already have a bunch. I just need the leeks and flour. Delicious!

Cara April 16, 2010 at 9:39 am

I love the sound of this tart! Cauliflower is so versatile and I imagine it gives a wonderfully indulgent creamy feel and taste.

Pamela April 16, 2010 at 11:33 am

Cara – cauliflower has proven itself to be far more versatile than I had imagined. cauliflower is the new cream 😉

Jackie April 15, 2010 at 9:59 pm

gluten-free?! vegan?! california?! you’re great. i’m bookmarking this one for sometime very soon.

Pamela April 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

Thanks Jackie – enjoy!

Shamrocks and Shenanigans April 15, 2010 at 11:35 am

That looks great! My fireman would probably call this chic food but he is so sweet he would eat it anyways. Thats a good man
Shamrocks and Shenanigans

Pamela April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

…and he’ll love it (even though it is ‘chic food’)

Belinda @zomppa April 15, 2010 at 5:22 am

Great tart! Gonna try this, but the cauliflower crust is genius!

Pamela April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thanks Belinda – I hope you enjoy it. I’m sneaking cauliflower into all kinds of things. It really is quite versatile.

denise @ quickies on the dinner table April 15, 2010 at 1:55 am

So beautiful, and pretty healthy too! Can’t ask for much more in a tart …

Claudia April 14, 2010 at 6:59 pm

So, Farmer’s Market is the new single’s bar? Healthier options! The tart is grand – spring singing on a plate.

++MIRA++ April 14, 2010 at 6:54 pm

gorgeous tart!

sweetlife April 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm

buckwhaet crust..oh yum..great tart


pegasuslegend April 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm

what a beautiful tart for my brunch! Sunday is a day for family new breakfasts and this is perfect!

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