If you want to prepare a special meal with a minimal amount of effort then a croustade is a good choice. Despite the offputtingly fancy name, it’s actually reasonably fuss-free. The croustade base is essentially a veganized version of a Rose Elliot recipe (with a few extra changes), although the sauce is my own recipe (all three ingredients!) and I’ve used roasted veg to replace the asparagus topping in the original. I must admit, this isn’t a particularly cheap meal, although I’d imagine it’s much cheaper than e.g. creating a roast dinner for 4 people. Most of the options in this blog are pretty low-cost, but this is more of a special occasion type meal.
Ingredients for roasted vegetable croustade (serves 4):
– 2 large courgettes
– Olive oil
– 4 medium peppers (any colour except green!)
-100g white bread with the crusts removed
-100g ground almonds
– 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
-100g vegan margarine
-100g pine nuts
– Basil or parsley to garnish
For the lemon and tarragon sauce:
– 1-2 small cartons of soya cream
– A good sprinkle of dried tarragon
– Juice of one lemon, zest of 2
1. Preheat the oven to gas 7 (220). Slice the courgettes into rectangles, lay out on a baking tray and add a good drizzle of olive oil (mix in with your hands if possible). Cut the tops off the peppers, de-seed them and place them upside-down on another baking tray.
2. Put the peppers on the top shelf of the oven and the courgettes underneath. Roast until the peppers’ skins are charred (around 30-40 mins), and the courgettes are tender. When the veg is ready, set it aside and turn the oven down to gas 6 (200).
3. Meanwhile, place the bread in a large mixing bowl and tear into small pieces. Add the almonds, garlic and margarine. Mix with a spoon/your hands to form a sticky dough, then mix in the pine nuts. It will feel implausibly buttery, but don’t worry- this is normal!
4. Lightly grease a flan tin (medium size). Press the dough in so it’s fairly even and bake for around 20 mins until golden.
5. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, you can peel off the skins. You may not be able to get all the skin off- just concentrate on the very charred parts.
6. To make the sauce, place the soya cream in a pan and add the other ingredients. About 5 mins before you are ready to use it, heat it up gently. You may want to warm the veg up in a pan too.
7. When the croustade is ready, remove the side of the tin (don’t panic if it crumbles a little!) then top with the veg and garnish with the herbs. Serve with the sauce.