September can be a bit of a weird month. The weather can be cool some days and yet hot on others, making it difficult to know what kind of clothes to wear. Skirt and sandals? Boots with tights? September’s bi-polar nature is pretty evident in the produce department at the grocery store, with light yellow summer squash sitting next to hearty butternut squash, and fuzzy peaches perched next to newly ripened pears. I belong to a co-op, and last weekend’s produce share came with both apples and nectarines, along and a ton of zucchini and yellow squash. (Okay, a ton might be a slight exaggeration, but trust me when I say that there were a lot of them.) The only logical thing for me to do with all of them was to slice them down and make a delicious zucchini tart with dairy-free, cashew ricotta.
2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for an hour or more and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast*
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
A few fresh basil leaves
2 medium zucchini or summer squash, sliced into thin disks
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
To make the crust: Oil a pie or tart pan. Mix the flour, salt and oil together in a in a bowl. Add the cold water and mix just until it’s been absorbed. Kneed once or twice. Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface until it’s about 13 to 15 inches across. Gently pick up the dough and place in the pie pan. Press into the pan and trim away any excess. If you have pie weights, you can use them while baking the crust but I don’t have any, so I poke a few holes in the bottom to keep it from bubbling up. Bake for 8 -10 minutes. My oven tends to cook things quickly, so I usually go for the shorter baking time.
To make the cashew ricotta: Process all ingredients in a food processor fitted with an s-blade, and process for several minutes, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula every so often. The cashews will become fluffy and “ricotta like”.
To make the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
To assemble the zucchini tart: Turn the oven up to 350 degrees. Spread half of the ricotta on the bottom of the crust and top with a thin layer of sauce. Carefully place the zucchini slices in a single on top of the sauce. Spread the rest of the cashew ricotta on top of the zucchini. This second layer can be a little tricky, because you don’t want to move the zucchini around too much. I usually plop the ricotta down with a spoon and then spread it out carefully with my hands. Spread another layer of tomato sauce on top of the ricotta, and then layer on the rest of the zucchini slices. Top with a thin layer of sauce. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 to minutes before slicing into wedges. Enjoy!
*Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that has a nutty, cheesy flavor. It’s loaded with protein and B Vitamins, and people on a vegan diet like to use it to flavor cheese sauces, on top of pasta dishes and even sprinkled on top of popcorn.