This is officially the day when tarts became extremely good for you! This savoury red lentil, red onion and roasted red peppers gram flour treat is super delicious, full of warm spices, packed with protein, containing no gluten or any dairy products and just as a bonus I think quite pretty!
Tarts, both sweet and savoury, are probably my favourite thing to do as they are open to any flavour combinations. With my recent obsession with gram flour I have been wanting to experiment with a tart base and I can confidently say now that it worked out perfectly! The inspiration for a lentil tart come from a recipe from a Bulgarian cooking show (my Grandma’s favourite)
The recipe is simple, but I have to admit I didn’t use any measurements here so the below are rough guides for 6 mini tarts and using your intuition is advisable.
For the base:
1 1/2 cups gram flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups of red lentils
1 small red onion
3 garlic cloves
2 – 3 roasted red peppers (I used those in a jar)
1/2 cup or less chopped tomatoes or tomato puree
1/3 – 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/3 tsp. mild ground chilli
1/3 tsp. ground coriander
1/3 tsp. turmeric
Start with preparing the base first. Mix the flour with the salt and soda. Make a well in the centre and pour the olive oil and about 4-5 tbsp. of the water. start mixing and add more water till you get a nice, firm and easy to roll dough. Be careful not to make it too hard though.
On a clean surface sprinkle some gram flour and roll the dough. I prefer very thin tart bases and especially here because the gram flour has such a distinctive flavour making it too thick will be too overpowering. If you are making mini tarts like I did, I find it easier to take a small ball of dough and roll each mini base individually. Roll it bigger than the tart tin and place it carefully over it, pressing gently the corners to ensure the tart has a nice shape. Remove excess dough from the edges with fingers or knife and use it for the next tart.
Once ready pierce the base with a fork, cover each tart with baking paper and spread some baking beans on top. In absence of fancy baking beans use real beans or rice on top of the paper. Blind bake for 10 min. at preheated oven at 180ºC and then for further 5-8 min. without the papers and the beans.
While the base(s) are baking start preparing the lentils. Boil the lentils in water with some salt and one of the garlic cloves until ready (20ish min). They don’t have to absorb all the water. In the meantime chop the onion and remaining garlic and sauté in olive oil in a separate deep pan. Add all the spices and sauté for few more minutes. Slice the roasted peppers in long but thin pieces and add to the onion. Stir for 1 minute and then pour the lentils with the water. Remember to take out the garlic clove from the lentils! Add the tomatoes, stir gently and let it simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed.
Once ready fill each tart with the mixture and pop them back in the oven for about 20 minutes. Garnish with some fresh coriander and serve with some green leaves on the side – a great lunch or dinner treat with a bit unusual twist! Enjoy!