Caramelized Leek, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Tart

published Dec 30, 2021
Caramelized Leek, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Tart Recipe

Balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard are flavor standouts in this mouth-watering veggie tart.

Serves6

Prep25 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Caramelized leek, spinach, and goat cheese tart
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

During the holiday season, I’m always looking for easy, foolproof recipes that can do it all: Feed me for dinner, wow last-minute guests, and help me get my fill of veggies, too.

This impressive dish does exactly that. Need a break from your usual weeknight pastas and casseroles? This vibrant tart will switch things up. Hosting vegetarian guests? Pop this guy in the oven. The filling is a deeply savory combination of caramelized leeks (cook ’em just like you would onions!), balsamic vinegar, and baby spinach for freshness, all piled onto a flaky puff pastry shell slathered with Dijon mustard and herbed goat cheese. Finish with Parm and devour it warm, then prepare to make it on repeat this season.

Here’s the Secret to the Crispiest Puff Pastry Crust

If you aren’t yet familiar with the magic that is puff pastry, what are you waiting for? This freezer staple is the key to impossibly flaky tarts, twists, turnovers, and more, with very little effort from you. I’m partial to the Dufour brand, which is made with all butter and bakes up light and crisp. Kitchn staffers are keen on Trader Joes’ all-butter version, too.

But here’s the thing: If you pile on toppings and then send the sheet of buttery dough to the oven, you run the risk of the dreaded soggy bottom. Here, you’ll bake the sheet of puff pastry on its own, then cover it toppings and serve. Not only does this keep the crust crisp, but it also means the veggies taste extra fresh.

One final tip? Shower the border of the pastry in Parmesan before baking, which makes every bite of crust taste like a salty cheese straw.

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Caramelized Leek, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Tart Recipe

Balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard are flavor standouts in this mouth-watering veggie tart.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (about 14-ounce) package or 1/2 (17.3-ounce) package

    frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed according to package directions

  • 2 ounces

    garlic and herb goat cheese or Boursin

  • 3

    medium leeks (about 2 1/4 pounds total)

  • 3/4 ounce

    Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, divided

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 teaspoon

    water, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons

    balsamic vinegar

  • 5 ounces

    baby spinach (about 5 cups)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons

    Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Thaw 1 package or 1 sheet frozen puff pastry according to package directions and keep refrigerated. Remove 2 ounces garlic and herb goat cheese from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature as you bake the pastry and cook the vegetables. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Trim and halve 3 medium leeks lengthwise, then rinse between the layers to clean. Thinly slice the white and light green parts crosswise (4 1/2 cups). Finely grate 3/4 ounce Pecorino or Parmesan cheese on a Microplane (1/4 firmly packed cup plus 2 tablespoons).

  3. Unfold the puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten the creases and roll to about an 14x9-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, lightly score a 1-inch border around the edges of the puff pastry, making sure not to cut the pastry all the way through. Prick holes all over the inside of the border with a fork. Slide the pastry, still on the parchment, onto a baking sheet.

  4. Place 1 large egg in a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon water, and whisk with a fork to combine. Brush the egg onto the border of the puff pastry. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese onto the egg wash. Bake, pushing down the center with a fork halfway through if it puffs up, until golden-brown, flaky, and cooked through, 13 to 15 minutes total. Let cool for 5 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, high-sided sauté pan or skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the leeks, season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds black pepper, and cook, reducing the heat if the leeks start to burn, until soft, caramelized, and reduced by half, 20 to 25 minutes. If the leeks are sticking to the pan as they cook, add a splash of water as needed.

  6. Add 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar and scrape up any browned bits. Add 5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups) a few handfuls at a time, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt. Remove the pan from the heat.

  7. After the pastry has cooled for 5 minutes, spread 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard inside the border. Top with the goat cheese, using your fingers or a knife to spread it as much as possible (it’s okay if it’s not an even layer). Top with the warm leek and spinach mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Cut into 6 pieces.

Recipe Notes

Puff pastry: Look for ready-made puff pastry in the freezer section, particularly those brands made with all butter rather than oil. They will have a richer flavor, and the dough will produce nice layers of pastry. For best results, defrost in the refrigerator at least 4 hours and up to 1 day before using.

Storage: This recipe is best eaten the day it's made. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Rewarm in a 325°F oven until warmed through.