vegan appetizer

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (V) by audrey gebhardt

Do you know how many grown adult men in this country don't eat raw tomatoes? 

Heirloom Tomato Tart

They will eat all of the pizza, endless bolognese, put raw eggs in their smoothies, drink the broth of another animal's bones, spit their phlegm across three lanes of traffic and still push the tomatoes from their salad off to the side. 

I don't entirely blame them though, you know why? 

Vegan Tomato Tart

They're being served something entirely unlike what a tomato should taste like. 

A tomato should taste like the sun, exploding in your mouth. Warm and soft and delicate and bursting with bright flavor. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

The tomatoes we see in our grocery stores are often much closer to their plastic play kitchen friends than they are like the real deal juice-dripping-down-your-chin sweet-as-candy still have a bit of dirt on them tomatoes we should be eating. 

If there's a man in your life that you've been trying to get to eat tomatoes for years, now is the time. Mid August-early September is when they are prime and ripe and perfect. Run-don't walk to the farmers market because in a blink they'll be gone. Heirlooms are best, give them a gentle squeeze and if it gives a little you're in business. If The Man needs further coaxing than just a slab of tomato with salt and pepper, wrap the tomato in flaky pie crust over a bed of pesto and you will change a life. 

***I made this pesto with sunflower seeds because they're so much cheaper than pine nuts and less flavorful so the basil can be the real star of the show. Also, it's nice to think that if you're eating the seeds of your favorite flower you are that much closer to becoming just like a sunflower. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (vegan)

1 olive oil pie crust

1 c basil leaves, washed and stemmed
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

2 large or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Prepare the pie crust (this can be done up to three days in advance and left to chill wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge).

In a medium saucepan, toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until they get toasty and smell nutty, shaking them around occasionally. 

In a blender, combine the basil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt and peppers. Blend until combined, adding more olive oil if it's too thick to blend but not too much because you want this to be a pasty olive oil- just to the point that you can spread it. 

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crust so it's about 18" in diameter and 1/4" thick. Transfer the rolled out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the pesto out on the dough, leaving a 3" border around it. 

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-1/2" slices, cover the pesto-ed part of the crust with tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomato, pressing to seal any cracks along the bottom seam.

Drizzle the whole tart with the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes, until the edges turn golden and the tomatoes are roasted and wrinkly. 

Cool and serve at room temperature. 



Vegan Tostadas, three ways by audrey gebhardt

Does anyone else have minor anxiety about eating crunchy things around other humans? 

vegan tostadas

Croutons, chips, carrots, celery...(is it weird that these all start with a C?)

I KNOW I DO. I'm one of those people who will leave the room if someone else is chewing loud. I can feel this monster that starts from my toes and fills my head with steam until I'm about to burst. It's one of the few things in the world that sends me into a feeling of rage. 

Thus, I feel it's not right for me to turn around eating crunchy things myself. So I try to only eat them in private, or I do that weird thing where I'm chewing excessively slow and everyone ends up looking at me anyway. 

That's why these tostadas make a perfect party food. Crank the tunes and serve them up when nobody can hear ANYTHING, so nobody has to feel uncomfortable with their symphony of mouth noises. 

vegan tostadas

You can totally make these one step easier and just buy pre-made tostadas at your local bodega or in the latin section of your grocery store, I just happened to have leftover corn tortillas laying around so I made them myself.

Vegan Tostadas, three ways

16 corn tortillas
2 TBSP olive oil

1 batch Pecan Romesco
1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and washed
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt & pepper

your favorite hummus
1 english cucumber
1 ear of corn, cooked however (I grilled mine!)
2 TBSP tajin

1 batch Pico de Gallo
for the Black Bean Spread:
1 16 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp your favorite hot sauce

Prepare the tostadas- brush each tortilla with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil on both sides just until golden and crispy- keep an eye on these or things can go south realllll quick.

Prep the black bean spread: In a blender, combine the beans, water, cumin, hot sauce and salt- pulse until juuuuuust smooth. 

Chop the kale into fine ribbons and give it a nice rub down between your fingers with the olive oil and juice of one lemon. Toss with salt and pepper and set it to the side for a few minutes to settle in. 

Slice the cucumber, I sliced mine on a diagonal and then in half- also it looks kind've like avocado in the photos and you can tooootally sub avocado if that's what your heat is saying! This is certainly one of those choose your own adventure type situations.

Now you have all of the ingredients you need in front of you, basically a tostada bar. ALSO YOU COULD JUST MAKE THIS A TOSTADA BAR FOR YOUR GUESTS! But if not, prepare each as follows:

Spread a nice amount of romesco onto a tostada, top with the dressed kale. BOOM.
Spread a healthy amount of hummus onto a tostada, top with cucumbers, corn & tajin. BOOM.
Spread a generous amount of bean spread onto a tostada, top with pico de gallo. BOOM

Happy crunching!

xo Audrey