Feature the flavors of the season in dairy-free tarts that are fancy but very simple to prepare. These custard-like pies have a light, eggy texture from tofu in place of eggs, cheese, butter, cream, or milk. Great served with a whole grain dish or bread and a fresh or blanched vegetable salad.

Makes 8 servings

1/2 teaspoon olive or sesame oil
1 leek, white and light green parts sliced
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (1/4 teaspoon, then ¾ teaspoon)
3/4 pound asparagus, about 2 cups, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup each light white wine and water
1 pound tofu, fresh, any texture except silken and extra firm; medium is best
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish powder, American or European white or Japanese green (wasabi); or fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon each marjoram and basil OR 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence (chervil, basil, rosemary, tarragon, garlic, lavender, marjoram, savory, thyme and parsley; and sometimes fennel)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Single Crust Pastry:
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached white pastry flour
Pinch unrefined sea salt
3 tablespoons light vegetable oil (I prefer Spectrum walnut oil)
Cool water or vegetable broth from filling, to texture, 3 to 6 tablespoons

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Brush a 9-inch tart pan with oil.

2. To prepare filling, heat oil in a wide pan. Add leek, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté briefly. Add asparagus, wine and water. Bring to boil, then cook over medium-low heat until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and save broth.

3. In a food processor or blender, purée the rest of the ingredients including remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Only if needed to create a creamy smooth consistency, add enough of the vegetable cooking broth, up to 3 tablespoons, and purée again. Transfer to a bowl and fold in leek and asparagus.

4. To prepare pastry, mix flours and salt. Drizzle in oil and stir, then work in water or broth to form a smooth dough. Roll out thin between sheets of waxed paper; dust the bottom sheet and the dough with flour. Transfer to pan and trim edges to 1/2 inch over rim. Shape by folding pastry inward and pressing against edge of tart pan.

5. Transfer filling to pastry and smooth surface. Bake until top is quite golden, 45 to 60 minutes. For a slightly richer look, brush surface and pastry rim with oil in last few minutes of baking. Allow to set at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

Gluten-free Pastry:
Substitute chestnut flour, sifted, or other gluten-free flours such as buckwheat, brown rice, millet and quinoa. Or try Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour containing garbanzo and fava bean flours, sorghum flour, tapioca starch and potato starch. After rolling pastry out, you may need to press pastry into place with these gluten-free grains.

Quiche/Frittata: Prepare in a pie pan or make crustless for frittata.

For 8 servings, per serving:
Calories: 193    Protein: 8gm    Saturated Fat: 1gm    Fiber: 2gm    Carbohydrates: 21gm    Fat: 8gm    Cholesterol: 0    Sodium: 228mg    Calories from Protein: 17%     Calories from Fats: 40%     Calories from Carbohydrates: 43%