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. grey

    Oh. My. Gosh.
    I made this after dinner tonight. It is SO GOOD. I mean, hubby and I might just eat the whole thing. Ourselves. Tonight. After we’ve already eaten dinner. Thanks for always coming up with a good meal for us!

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  3. Sue

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out great. My only comments are these: I did add a touch more salt than the recipe required and next time around I will probably blanch or boil the asparagus beforehand so it’s easier to maneuver. Otherwise, delish!

  4. Miss Molly

    I’m making this tonight and I’m so excited. If it goes over well, I’ll be making it as part of Christmas dinner.

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  6. Julie Bayless

    This is fabulous. Made it last night for our New Year’s Eve party. Wish I’d made 2 of them!
    I couldn’t find either the pesto or basil at the store (it was a madhouse) so instead I stirred into the blended mixture about 1/3 cup chopped italian parsley, half a cup of chopped onion and one shallot sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, added more lemon juice (6 T. total) and a crushed clove of garlic, a bit more olive oil and a large splash of cream sherry. Also, I only had roasted cashews. Added some crushed garlic also to the olive oil I brushed over the top. It came out really great even with all the tinkering.

  7. Kanga

    Wow this is so awesome, thanks so much! I made it with phyllo dough instead, because I couldn’t find puff pastry in the store. I just had to cook it for a little shorter, and I put the spread between some of the layers as well as on top. Yum yum <3

  8. RuthieAA

    I also made a variation on this recipe, and wanted to report on my success here where you blogged the original version. I had nut-allergic guests coming, so I couldn’t use pre-made pesto. Basil was also alarmingly expensive (because it’s February!) I bought some cilantro and made the cilantro pesto from Lorna Sass’ Recipes from An Ecological Kitchen, but with toasted tahini in place of the pine nuts. Then I blended that with the white beans, and more tahini, and some lime juice. I think I’ve commented on one of your other posts about substituting seeds for nuts, but this was the first time I made one of your recipes that way, and I wanted you to know that it was really successful, just in case you need to feed someone else who can’t eat nuts.

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  11. Lorena

    I’m thinking of making this for Easter since asparagus is abundant where I am, but I don’t have a food processor. Do you think this recipe would work in a blender?

    I have a new professional-grade Waring blender, but I’m not sure if it’ll be able to handle this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  12. Emily

    Regarding the question from Lorena: I’m thinking of making this for Easter too, and I am probably going to use my blender rather than my food processor. It’s a heavy duty one and seems to work better than the processor for finely chopping cashews! So I’ll bet your blender would be great for it. : )

  13. Robin

    I’ve made this tart 3 times now, twice when I was entertaining, and it’s always a big hit. The white bean pesto is so delicious on its own that I’ve started doubling the recipe so that I have some leftover… it makes for a great sandwich spread AND just a great dip in general. Thanks for posting!

  14. Carrie

    I dont’ have a blender or a food processor (tisk tisk) so I’m going to try it with store bought garlic hummus and maybe sun dried tomatoes… I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Also, green beans are fresh in Alaska now, so I’m substituting those as well.
    Thanks for an amazing site!

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  17. Karyn

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit. Looks more difficult than it is (which is always a bonus ;) and I have more than enough for lunch tomorrow as well. I didn’t have any pesto paste so used a tablespoon of pine nuts, some basil and a teaspoon of nutritional yeast and it tasted great! Yet another VYY recipe that is definitely a keeper.

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