Spinach, Walnut & Chickpea Holiday Tart

Happy Easter! It was a wonderful holiday for us, albeit fairly minimal. The kids’ baskets had just a few toys from the Dollar Tree, we filled plastic eggs with stickers and chocolate Goldfish and hid them around the backyard, and I made this fantastic Spinach, Walnut & Chickpea tart by Dreena Burton at VegNews for the main meal at noon. This savory pie is all kinds of delicious, as well as chock-full of healthy goodness. I also made chocolate-zucchini muffins for breakfast, a vegan pumpkin pie, and eggless salad sandwiches for dinner.

I confess that I eat the way I do primarily for health reasons and don’t concern myself as much with the ethics of animal consumption. We did, after all, have chicken in our butternut squash soup at Thanksgiving. Easter, however, put it in a different light for me. Whether you are Christian or not, Easter is a holiday meant to represent life, the coming of spring, rebirth, vitality. Celebrating this holiday with a big, dead animal on the dinner table would make me feel sick now. Why another creature should have to die for you on this day of vitality and life…well, it just seems wrong. Of course, we all have to make our own decisions and feel good about them. For me, a meat-free Easter felt right.

Spinach, Walnut & Chickpea Holiday Tart

1 tbsp olive oil (or veggie broth for sauteing)
1 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 14-oz can chickpeas, rinsed, 1/4 cup reserved
3/4 cup walnuts
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1-1/4 cups frozen chopped spinach (I used 1 box of frozen chopped spinach, slightly thawed)
3.5 tbsp dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (I used 1 tsp dried thyme instead)
1 9-inch prepared frozen whole-wheat pie shell
1/2 tbsp olive oil, for brushing
1 tsp tamari, for brushing
2 tbsp walnuts, chopped, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion, celery, garlic, and pepper, and cook for 7 to 9 minutes until onions soften and begin to caramelize. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, add chickpeas (except 1/4 reserved cup), walnuts, lemon juice, and tamari, and pulse to lightly chop (do not purée). Remove half of chopped mixture from food processor and transfer to a large bowl.
3. In a food processor, transfer sautéed onions to remaining mixture. Purée until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer purée to bowl with lightly chopped chickpea and walnut mixture. Add spinach, cranberries, parsley, thyme, and reserved chickpeas. Stir to combine and transfer to prepared pie shell, spreading evenly.
4. Combine oil and tamari, and brush on top of pie and crust. Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake for 33 to 38 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot.

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