Fancy Schmancy Tomato Tarts

August 17th, 2012 12:17 pm by Kelly Garbato

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I have a confession to make: the package of phyllo dough sitting in my freezer is at least several years old. Possibly we’ve owned it even longer than our home, which we purchased in 2006. It moved here with us from another state, yo! Anyway, I bought it with the bestest, most optimistic of intentions – making some super-yummy vegan pastries, probably – but was quickly intimidated by the prospect of handling this thin, delicate dough. And so it sat.

As it turns out, phyllo dough isn’t all that awful to work with. Sure, it’s a little fragile and delicate (a problem most likely compounded by my phyllo dough’s advanced age), but with a little patience and some luck (and a glass or two of wine, maybe?), you too can make a fancy schmancy tomato tart. Or, you know, insert your pastry of choice here.

This foodstuff is supposed to be an appetizer but, seeing as I’m not about to throw a cocktail party any time soon, I decided to serve it for dinner, along with a healthy portion of scrambled tofu. You’re encouraged to slice and dice all the ingredients beforehand – to placate the ever-fussy phyllo dough, natch – so you’re stuck guesstimating how many onions and tomatoes you’ll need. I ended up with a whole lotta extras, but was able just toss them in with the scrambled tofu. For the win!


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Fancy Schmancy Tomato Tarts!

(Adapted from this recipe at What’s Cooking America.)


Cooking spray
7 to 10 sheets phyllo dough
5 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons vegan Parmesan cheese (optional; see below for recipe)
1/3 onion, thinly sliced
About six Roma (or similarly sized) tomatoes, thinly sliced
Mozzarella Daiya cheese (or the vegan cheese of your choice)
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil to taste


1. At least eight hours before starting this recipe, put your phyllo dough in the fridge to defrost.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and coat lightly with cooking spray.

3. Prepare your ingredients before removing the phyllo dough from the fridge. Place 5 tablespoons of margarine in a large mug. Microwave for five seconds at a time until melted. Slice the onion and tomatoes. Place your vegan cheese on the counter to defrost, if necessary.

4. When ready, unroll the phyllo sheets onto a flat surface. Very carefully, remove the top sheet from the stack and place it on the parchment paper. Using your fingertips, brush about a teaspoon of margarine onto the sheet, spreading it out as best you can. Don’t worry if you rip the sheet of dough, as you’re going to stack several more on top! If desired, sprinkle a bit of vegan parm on top.

Tip: As you’re working, cover the stack of phyllo dough with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.

5. Take another sheet of dough from the stack and layer it on top of the first. Brush a bit of margarine on top and add a touch of parmesan if you’d like. Repeat this process until you have a base of dough about seven pieces thick. If a few of the pieces of dough stick together as you remove them from the stack, don’t worry – just treat them as one! This happened to me several times, which is how my stack ended up ten sheets thick instead of seven.

6. Layer the final sheet on top. Brush with melted margarine and sprinkle with the remaining vegan parmesan. Sprinkle the onion slices on top, followed by the mozzarella Daiya. (About a half a cup – be careful not to go too heavy, though! This is a thin tart!) Arrange the tomato slices on top in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with basil, salt, and/or pepper to taste.

7. Bake at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the crust, golden brown. Remove and let cool for about five minutes. Slice using a large, sharp, non-serrated knife.

Meant as an appetizer, this makes about 20 3″ square servings … or six large pieces, if you’re enjoying it as a side, like moi.


Vegan Parmesan


1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup walnuts OR 1/2 cup almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
A dash of salt


1. In a food processor, combine the nutritional yeast and nuts and pulse until well-blended. The nuts should be reduced to smallish particles, though not as powdery as the nooch flakes. Add the olive oil and salt and pulse until blended.

2. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy on pasta, pizza, rice, and the like!

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