This beautiful asparagus puff pastry tart makes a delicious party appetizer, but is easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner with a cup of soup. It’s easy to make vegan or gluten free using just a handful of store bought ingredients.
It’s really been feeling like spring lately. We had a lot of rain last week, which thankfully didn’t cause any of the damage our town had feared. The sun is now shining, the air is crisp, and our hillsides that are often so brown are turning green. Today I spotted the first flower on my tomato plants, and my family is getting ready to celebrate Easter this Sunday. I wanted to share a beautifully simple recipe that would be perfect for Easter, and this asparagus tart is it!
This asparagus tart has a light crisp puff pastry crust, a flavorful goat cheese like topping, and perfectly roasted asparagus. I top it with a little lemon zest, and a little, or a lot, of microgreens. It’s fresh, savory, and delicious. Cut the tart into squares or smaller rectangles and you’ve got a lovely spring finger food appetizer. When I made this asparagus tart though, it wasn’t for a party, it was just an average weeknight. It was perfect with a bowl of soup.
Somehow puff pastry always feels a little special and fancy to me. Store bought puff pastry makes for the easiest tarts and appetizers. These days it’s not too hard to find gluten free and vegan puff pastry, if desired. Just check the ingredients lists. I usually have a box of puff pastry stashed in my freezer for last minute baking. It just has to thaw to room temperature on the counter for about 2 hours before being used. For this asparagus tart recipe, I rolled out the puff pastry onto a fresh sheet of parchment paper, scored a border around the edge, and pricked it all over with a fork. Then it went into the oven for 10 minutes.
After the first baking, the pastry is puffed and lightly golden. Par baking prevents the bottom from getting soggy. The inner rectangle of pastry is not ready to be topped with cheese and asparagus.
I wanted a flavorful cheese similar to a goats cheese or chevre for this asparagus tart recipe. A tub of kite hill soft fresh artisan almond milk “cheese” in truffle, dill & chive worked perfectly. I’ve loved all of kite hill’s products and this one especially. I had to restrain myself from scooping all up with crackers before making this recipe. It’s absolutely delicious and made with clean ingredients. I also love Treeline artisan cheeses which are made with cashews. I find both of these dairy-free cheeses at Whole Foods. This kite hill product tastes a lot like my vegan ricotta cheese recipe that has a splash of truffle oil in it. If you can’t find the products I mentioned, you could use my ricotta recipe. Just add some fresh herbs like dill or chives and season with a little salt.
When I think of spring produce, asparagus always comes to mind. I love to see the bundles of asparagus standing upright in the markets. While I love this asparagus tart, asparagus in general isn’t a vegetable I’m always so smitten with. It has to be cooked just right. Tender-crisp is the way to go, as soggy, mushy, stringy asparagus is just the worst. Many asparagus tart recipes call for blanching asparagus before baking, but I knew this wasn’t necessary here. The asparagus roasts just enough while the tart crust is baking to be tender on the outside while retaining just a bit of crunchy bite on the inside.
The par baked puff pastry shell is delicate, so make sure your cheese is at room temperature and softened. You can soften with a spoon a bit before spreading to help it along. The best tool for spreading the cheese onto the tart shell is an offset spatula. Next, line the cheese with a row of asparagus. You can have all the asparagus tops pointing the same direction or alternate up and down – it’s up to you!
The asparagus tart is already looking pretty, isn’t it? After laying down the asparagus spears, I brushed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Ready for the oven!
I think I could have squeezed in a few more asparagus spears here. I love this asparagus tart topped with microgreens for a little raw freshness. Fresh herbs would work well too if that’s what you have. I also like to add a little zing with a small squeeze of lemon juice at the last minute. Don’t add too much, or add it too early, as we want to tart crust to remain nice and crisp.
Squares or rectangles of asparagus tart can be cut large or small. I love mine with lots of greens on top. This easy asparagus tart is bright, fresh, flakey, flavorful and springtime perfect! I hope you enjoy it and have a very happy spring.
This delicious puff pastry asparagus tart is a beautiful appetizer that is simple and easy to make.
- 1 roll puff pastry, thawed (gluten free/vegan if needed)
- 4 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature (I used Kite Hill Soft Fresh Truffle, Dill, & Chive) see note
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- zest of 1/2 lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- handful of microgreens
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle of about 10×13 inches on a sheet of parchment paper. The size doesn’t have to be exact. Using a paring knife, score a 1-inch rectangle around the perimeter of the pastry to create a border. Prick the interior rectangle all over with a fork. Place the prepared puff pastry sheet onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and spread the cheese all over the inner rectangle of puff pastry. Trim the asparagus so that it just fits over the cheese. Lay the asparagus on top. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the asparagus is cooked to tender-crisp.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into desired sized rectangles and top with microgreens. Squeeze just a little lemon juice over the top. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Cheese options: I love the intense flavor of a goat cheese, or chevre, style soft cheese. There are several delicious dairy-free versions, my favorites are from Kite Hill and Treeline, both of which are sold at Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores. Want to make your own homemade dairy-free cheese? Try my almond ricotta, season with a pinch of salt, and stir in some fresh chopped chives or dill.
Gluten Free Option: Be sure to use gluten free puff pastry.