Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart

Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart

I can’t believe it, but the holidays are coming. And when there are holidays, there are parties, and the ever growing need for easy, tasty, fancy seeming food that you can serve your guests. Here’s a beautiful, ridiculously delicious, and easy-to-make asparagus tart that is so freakin’ awesome you’ll want to make it even when you’re not expecting guests.

Now, there are a few trade-offs that make this recipe as easy as it is. The first Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, because it’s a pain the butt to make it from scratch. This stuff is miraculously vegan. The trade-off is that while it might be vegan, the ingredients list is pretty long and contains things like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. This doesn’t bother me much, especially since I don’t eat things like this a lot. But I know some of my readers are uncomfortable eating products containing these ingredients at all. For those who aren’t, or don’t mind occasionally consuming something like this, head to the freezer section of your grocery store and pick up the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets.  They’re easy to use and only require 40 minutes of defrosting before using.

Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart

If you’re interested in making your own vegan puff pastry, there is hope! VeganDad made some beautiful vegan puff pastry simply subbing Earth Balance margarine for butter and following FoodBeam’s thoughtful recipe.  Definitely check out both blogs.  One day I’m sure I’ll try to make my own puff pastry, but that day is not today. Props to VeganDad for giving me hope that it’s even possible! You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.

The other time-saving tips include using canned beans (which I always do anyway, because I’m lazy?) and a pesto concentrate that you can find at Whole Foods (and many other grocery stores) in the pasta/tomato aisle.  It’s called Amore Pesto Paste, and the only ingredients are basil, sunflower oil, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, garlic, and citric acid.  It’s wonderful to use in all sorts of stuff, so pick up a tube and try it out.

Asparagus Tart with White Bean Pesto
Serves 8 as an appetizer

1 15 oz Can Navy Beans
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 Heaping Cup Raw Cashews
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs Amore Pesto Paste
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbs Soy or Rice Milk, or water

1 lb Fresh Asparagus
1 Puff Pastry Sheet
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

Remove 1 puff pastry sheet from the freezer and let it defrost on the counter for 40 minutes on top of parchment paper.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400º F and make the filling.

Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the work bowl of a food processor.  Add of the remaining ingredients except the soymilk (salt through lemon juice). Pulse the food processor, stopping ever few pulses to scrape down the sides and pulse again.  You want to break up the beans and the cashews.  Once it’s as smooth as you can get it, dribble in the soymilk while the machine is running, as this should help further smooth the mixture.

After 40 minutes of defrosting, carefully unwrap the puff pastry on top of your parchment paper:

Raw puff pastry

Roll the puff pastry out slightly into a rectangle. Then add the white bean pesto mixture, leaving a 1 to 1 1/2 inch border on all sides:

White Bean Pesto

Trim your asparagus so that it fits the tart width-wise. Press the spears into the white bean pesto, alternating their direction so that there are tips and bases next to each other; this one everyone is guaranteed every part of the asparagus after cutting:

Placing the asparagus

With a sharp knife, trim all the edges to they are neat and square. Trim away as little as possible.

Trimming the edges

Brush the spears with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper:

Ready to Bake

Using the parchment paper, slide the tart onto a baking sheet (don’t remove the tart from the paper). Bake at 400ºF for 25-30 minutes until the tart is puffed and golden brown and the spears are tender. Serve while just warm.

Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart

You can reheat this tart in the oven for a few minutes if you have leftovers, but it’s also good at room temperature. Fresh basil is a nice garnish. If you’ve never worked with puff pastry before, this is a great recipe to get your feet wet. It really is easy to use, just as delicious as phyllo dough with none of the stress.  And it’s fun to watch it puff!

Asparagus and White Bean Pesto Tart


  1. kelley

    i love things like this, that are just fancy enough to seem special without being a ton of work. looks delicious!

    thanks to the first commenter for the tip – i hope they have that brand in portland.

  2. vegancowgirl

    Holy Moly! These photos are killing me. These look so amazing. I am going to have a party and invite you as the supremo guest-chef!! Because, there is no way that I could reinvent that….how totally fantastic. You rock!

  3. allularpunk

    this looks so delicious and easy! i never knew working with puff pastry was that simple, or i’d have been doing it long ago… and what a lovely combination of flavors. mm! i might have to brave the HFCS and hydrogenated oils for this one.

  4. Elise Gabriel

    YOU, madam, are a lady and a scholar!
    This is beyond fantastic! I typically hate most vegan quiches and the like, but this looks so delicious. Plus, it has protein and its good, hot food for cool weather. I cannot wait to make it this weekend.


  5. Joselle Palacios

    This looks and sounds so amazing. I’m definitely making this come holiday…or just for me now!

    I don’t know if this has been suggested before but it would be awesome if you had a print version of each recipe so we could just print the instructions without the pictures (and if this feature is already available, perhaps I am blind). Not that the pictures aren’t magnificent because they are and I would visit this site for the pictures alone; just thinking it would be easier on printers to have a text-only version. 101 Cookbooks has a print version of recipes and I find it very helpful.

    Yes, I’m working on that! It’s a great idea. I’m implementing some other features for the site as well, but I don’t have a timeline for them let. Just know that printer friendly recipes as well as other fun features are in the works.

  6. Heidi

    It’s funny Joselle, I get many, many emails from readers requesting a print-friendly version of the 101 recipes WITH photo. I think in the long run I’m going to have both – print-friendly with and print-friendly without photo.

    Hope this helps Lolo. -h

  7. Tara

    This recipe does look amazing! Can’t wait to try it. For those of you wondering about printing, I just highlight the whole document and cut and paste it into Microsoft Word. From there you can delete any text (no offense) or pictures that you don’t want for your print version. You can also resize photos if you want to print them out and save paper at the same time! I can usually get each recipe down to only 1 page (front and back) with most of the photos. It only takes a few minutes. Might be a good solution until a print option appears in the blog. Just a thought…

  8. Starry

    Ohhhh – holiday dish! I think this would look so great served on a white platter with roasted plum or cherry tomatoes around it!

  9. Sarah

    Ooh, I used to make sun-dried tomato pesto all the time when I worked in a deli. I’m going to have to try this both with and without tomatoes…Ah, why do I always come to your site when I’m hungry??

    I think your recipes are going to feature prominently in all my future parties…

  10. Monika

    This appetizer looks like a million bucks! It’ll definitely take my make-shift dinner parties to a whole new level – thanks for the recipe! (:

  11. kendra!

    Just made this as a main entree, Lolo. I actually doubled the pastry puff (so sort of made a Big Mac Asparagus tart :) and I found I needed more salt in the bean paste but it was really good and really filling!

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  13. Anna

    i dunt know how i get here, but i gotta say, ehh this is a really nice site, (sry 4 bad english)

    and i hope u will post more delicios things.

    i will try to cook ur stuff :)

    dear greetings from germany

    (again sry for my bad english)

  14. katey

    Oh god. that looks AMAZING, i wish i could make it. But im raw vegan :( aweee i need to find a a way to make this raw lol

  15. Caitlin

    Did you guys know that asparagus season is in the springtime? If you are finding asparagus now, it probably was flown in (using oil, and losing nutrients) from somewhere in South America.

    I find the taste of fresh-picked seasonal asparagus incomparable with that of off-season global-economy asparagus.

    All food plants have a growing cycle (and a corresponding season), although that is something that many people have forgotten.

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (by Barbara Kingsolver) is an excellent & enjoyable book about eating local.

  16. Emily

    Wow, thanks for taking the time to write such an informative and helpful post! I don’t usually photograph food, but there were lots of good pointers for other applications. Awesome.

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