The Recourceful Zucchini Mediterranean Tart

I learned the art of repurposing food at a very young age. As a 10 year old, I watched with wonder how the chefs on  America’s Test Kitchen turned black bananas into a beautiful and moist banana bread. Growing up with immigrant parents, banana bread was just not a thing, so I made my first banana loaf, proud that my family didn’t have to throw away old bananas. My family loved that loaf so much, I still get requests from my family to make this bread till this day. Which brings me to..the art of repurposing food. 

Just yesterday, I went on a  small grocery run to buy one small bag of a few fruits and vegetables, which ended up costing $50!  And no I did not buy exotic produce like dragon fruit. So let’s just say lately my resourcefulness has been going into overdrive to stretch that rapidly sinking dollar. For example, in  my culture, we love to make a dish of stuffed squash, but the problem is, we end up with a good amount of funky looking cored out squash: 

While I have turned that squash into, you guessed it, delicious bread, this time I wanted to try something new. I introduce to you, one of my favorite kitchen experiments, zucchini tart with an almond crust: 

This is not quite a quiche, as there are no eggs in the recipe, but if you like a more quiche-like consistency, feel free to add a couple of eggs into the batter. The crust is gluten free and low carb, as there is no refined flour. The filling is a rich amalgamation of a variety of cheeses, like ricotta, feta, and akawi cheese, a soft Middle Eastern cow’s milk cheese, that is very popular in the Levant. But you can easily use fresh mozzarella or Mexican Farmer’s cheese if you do not have akawi in your neck of the woods.

While I used fresh basil for this recipe, feel free to use your herb of choice, like dill, tarragon, or thyme. This tart is decadent without being too heavy, and I love eating a nice thick slice at room temperature with a side of arugula salad or roasted vegetables during these hot summer nights. What’s great about this tart, is that you can use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand if you don’t have zucchini, like mushrooms, cauliflower, or broccoli.  To see my latest video to check out the technique, click on my new video below! Just clicking on the video really helps keep my channel going, so thank you in advance!

Zucchini Ricotta Tart

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • Filling:
  • 2 cups grated zucchini, plus 2 large zucchini thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • ⅓ crumbled akawi, farmers, or fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • Handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • Optional parmesan cheese and lemon pepper for sprinkling on top layer

Instructions

  • Crust: 
  • Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9-inch ceramic or glass tart pan.In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, garlic powder and salt. Stir in butter until dough resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly into the bottom and up sides of the pan and bake 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  • Filling:
  • Put the grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle each layer with a little salt. Let sit and drain for 30 minutes, then squeeze dry with a cheesecloth to remove all the moisture. In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, akawi or cheese, feta, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a large skillet, saute the garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil for one minute, then add the zucchini and saute for several minutes, or until the zucchini is soft. Add the half and half and the cheese mixture and simmer until well mixed and thick. After the crust has been baking for 15 minutes, pour the mixture into the crust. Layer remaining zucchini slices in concentric circles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and lemon pepper on top if desired. Bake 45 minutes, or until center is firm and a tester comes out fairly  clean.

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