A Very Veggie Christmas
Take a bite of these vegetarian dishes for the holidays
BY SOFIA VARGAS
A vegetarian Christmas dinner is not a difficult task. Using aromatic spices, vibrant vegetables, fruits and your best wishes, you can create a feast that will showcase the season’s finest flavours. If you want to amaze your guests this holiday season, On the Danforth suggests preparing magnificent spinach and mushroom tarts, with a whole roasted cauliflower as second course.
Spinach and Mushroom Tart
450g baby-leaf spinach
200g sliced mushrooms
20g chopped porcini mushrooms
1 chopped garlic clove
2tbsp olive oil
Freshly grated nutmeg
8-10 sheets filo pastry
50g melted butter
25g grated parmesan cheese
2tbsp toasted pine nuts
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
2. Blanch the spinach in boiling water for a few minutes until wilted. Drain in a colander; leave to cool.
3. Fry the mushrooms and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes until just cooked. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and nutmeg.
4. Brush a piece of filo with butter and use to line the base of a 20cm tart tin. Brush another piece of filo with butter and layer it on top. Continue until the base and sides of the tin are completely lined—about 8-10 layers in total.
5. Spread the spinach on the base of the pastry, followed by the mushroom and cream mix.
6. Sprinkle Parmesan over the tarts and bake them for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden. Top with pine nuts and serve.
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ a small bunch of fresh thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp dry sherry
400g plum tomatoes
40g flaked almonds
½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
2. Peel the garlic and then add it to a pestle and mortar with the garlic with paprika and half of the thyme leaves. Mash until it creates a rough paste, and then muddle in olive oil, salt and ground pepper. Zest the lemon into a separate bowl and set aside.
3. Trim the outer cauliflower leaves. Trim away and discard the stalk so the cauliflower can sit flat, and then cut across into the base. Rub all with the paprika paste and then place it in a medium-sized casserole pan. Drizzle the sherry over the cauliflower and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Place the dish in the oven for 50 minutes, or until just tender and golden.
4. Take the pan out of the oven. Pour in the plum tomatoes, tearing or slicing them up into chunks. Sprinkle the lemon zest and remaining thyme leaves over the dish.
5. Return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden.
6. Meanwhile, heat a medium frying pan to a medium-low heat. Add the almonds and toast them gently for 2-3 minutes, or until golden, and then leave them to cool. Once ready, take the pan out of the oven. Scrunch the toasted almonds over the dish. Next, roughly chop and scatter the parsley leaves on top. Drizzle the dish with extra olive oil and then carve it up to be served with pilaff rice and steamed greens, or as part of a large spread.
Photo (top) taken from sheknows.com