We’re about halfway through and we’re still going strong with the brown bag challenge. This past week was a pretty delicious week for lunches in my house. The tarts and pizza (my homemade recipe, which I blogged about here) were left over from dinner the night before, and are definitely some of the most exciting leftovers we have around here. The tofu-pesto sandwiches were inspired from one of our favorite restaurants in LA, Pure Luck, which sadly closed this past summer.
Vegetable and Mozzarella Tarts (Adapted from Ultimate Italian cookbook)
This recipe starts with one sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, which you can find in most grocery stores. If you haven’t used puff pastry, it’s worth a try. It cooks up light and flaky, but also crisp so that it makes a good base. It’s a bit expensive, usually around $4 a box, but each box has 2 sheets of puff pastry, and each sheet makes 4 tarts, so it works out to only 50 cents per serving. Thaw the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface. Some brands come tri-folded, so unfold it so you have a flat sheet to work with if you bought one such brand.
Roll the dough out a little and then use a sharp knife to cut it into quarters.
Use your finger the smear a bit of water along the edges of each piece and then fold up the sides and press down to form a crust.
Move the tarts to a baking sheet and use a small piece of foil to cover the inside of each tart.
Do ahead – make the tarts up to this point and then cover the sheet with plastic wrap for several hours or overnight and the assemble and bake just before serving.
Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Bake the foil lined tarts for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, slice the vegetables and cheese. We usually top each tart with a slice of red onion, some red bell pepper (you can roast the peppers and peel them if you feel like it, but I usually forget/run out of time and just use some thin slices of raw pepper), a nice thick slice of tomato or 2-3 cherry tomatoes halved or quartered, sliced or chopped garlic, and a slice of mozzarella cheese.
Assemble the vegetables and cheese on top of the tart and return to the oven for 15 more minutes.
These fit nicely in a tupperware, and microwave well. You lose a bit of the crispy flakiness, but it’s still a very exciting lunch.
I usually make this on toasted whole wheat bread, but you could get very fancy and cook it up panini style with some nice bread. I use firm tofu for this sandwich, sliced thin and patted dry. Three sliced is about enough for a regular sized sandwich.
Heat up a little drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet.
Salt and pepper the tofu on both sides, then place in the hot pan and sear for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Tofu should develop a crispy crust and be golden brown.
Smear about a tablespoon of pesto on one slice of bread, then place the warm tofu on top of the pesto.
Follow that up with a slice of tomato, lettuce, and a thin slice of red onion if you so desire. You could also slice up any other veggies that suit your fancy. I may or may not have also smeared a little goat cheese on my other slice of bread before putting it on top.
We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.