Vegan MOFO, Day 1:
This tart is a superb one-dish meal that can be easily supplemented with some steamed vegetables, or a green salad, and perhaps some bread. A great way to feature tomatoes and fresh basil, this tart is quite easy to come together and keeps well.
Be sure to soak the cashews overnight, or for about 8 hours prior to making the cashew-pesto layer. This dish is a perfect way to try ‘cashew cheese’, which stands in remarkably for a mild goat cheese or fresh mozzarella.
I’ve included a photo at the bottom of the post that shows what polenta looks like after it has cooked, in case you’ve never made it before.
- 1½ cups cashews (raw or roasted), soaked (in water) overnight
- ½-3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T lemon juice or 2 T vinegar
- ½-1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup polenta/cornmeal
- 3⅔ cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2-3 large tomatoes or 3-4 small tomatoes, sliced
- basil, salt & pepper, olive oil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F. Oil a 12″ oven-proof skillet or springform pan.
- Drain the soaked cashews and place in food processor. Pulse until ground and paste-like. Add ½ cup of almond milk or water, mix until a spreadable/pourable consistency is reached. If dry, add an additional ¼ cup of liquid. Add olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, salt (to taste), and basil leaves. Puree. Set aside.
- Combine polenta, water or broth, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, stir, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until polenta mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan (see photo). Stir in 1 Tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic.
- Transfer polenta to prepared pan, spreading evenly. Spoon over cashew mixture, then top with an array of sliced tomatoes, overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven for 35-40 minutes, until tomatoes look roasted and cashew layer has golden edges. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before slicing into wedges. Serve with freshly chopped basil garnish and drizzle olive oil over the top.