These savory feta & beet mini tarts are a healthy and tasty appetizer for any occasion! The recipe can also be made as one large tart.
These savory feta and beet mini tarts with yogurt and olive oil easy crust are the perfect appetizer for your holiday dinner menu. And why am I saying holiday dinner menu? Because, like I said to my previous posts, it seemed to me like a nice idea to post a series of recipes as a complete menu for a festive dinner like Christmas. I started with some fluffy pumpkin and olive oil dinner rolls, went straight to the main course with this turkey breast roulade stuffed with chestnuts and dried plums, and after that, I posted a super decadent and luscious dessert, this chocolate and hazelnut mousse cake (which also happens to be gluten-free 🙂 ). Of course, if you plan on making this menu, you’ll serve all the courses with the right order! The next and last post of this menu will be a salad, and I’m thinking something with fennel and orange. But will see about that!
I’ll be honest. I don’t like beets. Most beet recipes I know use boiled beets and a lot of vinegar, with both the flavors (of beets and vinegar) being very prominent, something that I don’t really enjoy. However, in cases like this, where beets are married with some savory feta or this spaghetti with winter vegetables sauce where a lot of vegetables get roasted and then blended into a healthy and cozy sauce, I have absolutely no problem! The beet flavor, in co-operation with all the others flavors, gets a deep transformation and becomes earthy and sweet. Plus, it gives great color to any recipe!
I guess I am making it a habit of substituting olive oil for butter, in a lot of recipes. Take this Jam tart with olive oil crust (pasta frola) for example. While someone can certainly make it with butter, making it with olive oil saves you all the wondering regarding whether to use cold or softened butter and the extra trouble of rolling out the dough. You see, with this recipe the crust is not only very easy to make but you also just press it with your fingers to cover the tart pans (how cool is that?). Did I mention it is healthier too?
- See the notes at the end of the recipe below on how to make this into one large tart.
- If you happen to find some beets with their leaves still on, don’t throw them away! They wilt down beautifully, though I almost always use them in smoothies (no beet flavor here, only sweetness!)
- You can use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour for this recipe, though the crust may lose a tiny bit of crunchiness.
- This recipe also works with other vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato!
- How to bake beets: Cut off the leaves and wash the beets very well. Place each beet on a piece of foil, drizzle with some olive oil and wrap well. Bake in a preheated oven, at 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour. You can do this while baking a cake or a Greek meatloaf stuffed with hard-boiled eggs.
- For the crust:
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) Greek strained yogurt
- 1 teaspoon wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup packed (100 grams) Greek feta cheese
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) cooked/baked beets
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) milk
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Extra yogurt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, arugula, and roasted hazelnuts for serving
- 6 mini tart pans 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter
Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C)
Transfer olive oil, yogurt, vinegar, and yolk to a bowl and mix well with a fork. Add the flour and the salt and mix just until a ball of dough forms. Add 1-2 tablespoons of extra flour if dough is sticky.
Divide the dough into 6 mini tart pans and press with your fingers to cover the bottom and sides of the pans. Pierce the surface with a fork and put in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool.
Bake the crusts for 15-20 minutes or until golden (with this dough pie weights are not necessary, though you can use them if you want).
In the meantime, transfer all the ingredients for the filling to a food processor (a powerful blender may also work, though it may need some help with a spatula) and process until smooth.
Take the tart shells out of the oven and press down with a fork any spots that have puffed up. Let them rest on a piece of kitchen paper (if the pans have removable bottoms, some oil may escape).
Fill the tart shells, lower oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 20 minutes or until filling is set.
Serve with a small dollop of Greek strained yogurt (or labneh), a couple of arugula leaves, crushed walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil and 2-3 drops of balsamic vinegar.
If you make this recipe into one large tart, you’ll have to add 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
For an 8-9 inches (20-23 cm) tart pan you will need the same quantities for the crust and double the quantities for the filling.
For a 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) tart pan, you’ll have to double the whole recipe (you may end up with some extra dough left. Don’t throw it away, mix it with 1-2 tablespoon grated cheese and make some savory cookies!)