One thing this year has shown many of us is how precious the opportunity to gather and spend time together is. The holiday season may look different for you and yours this year, and some traditions may have shifted. Whether you’re spending it with family, friends, or a combination of the two, this year more than ever, there’s no better way to keep the spirit alive than with a homemade recipe made with love. For me, like many others, food has always been an expression of care and community — and those are the sentiments I hope come through in this comforting Caramelized Onion & Broccolini Tart.
With the savory flavors of roasted broccolini, sweet caramelized onions, buttery crust, and creamy ricotta, it’s sure to please everyone! An extra plus: while the holidays tend to be a notorious time for overindulging and unhealthy eating, with this recipe, you still get a healthy dose of guilt-free greens that still fully deliver in taste.
Another reason this recipe is a winner: You can make it ahead of time and freeze it or keep it refrigerated a couple of days in advance. There’s few things better than something you can make ahead for the holidays because it means no last-minute prepping or stressing, and you can spend the day enjoying the festivities rather than being stuck in the kitchen.
Now, if you’ve never cooked broccolini before, you’re in for a treat. Also known as baby broccoli, broccolini is a green veggie with smaller florets and long, thin stalks — I tend to think of it as broccoli’s more elegant cousin. It’s a hybrid of the broccoli and gai-lan family, and has a rich, wonderful flavor when cooked. Nutrition-wise, it’s rich in beta-carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A that’s good for your eyes and skin.
In this recipe, we’ll roast the broccolini to bring out the depth of its flavor. However, if you prefer your vegetables with a little more crunch, you can blanch it instead of roasting it. If that's the route you want to take, simply bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the broccolini in and boil until just tender and bright green (about 2 minutes). Then transfer the broccolini to a bowl of ice water, and once it’s cooled, drain and pat the broccolini dry. Toss it with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the juice of a 1/4 lemon.
We’ll also be caramelizing onions for the center of the tart. This might sound daunting, but I promise it’s easier than it seems! The keys to perfect caramelized onions are the right level of heat and patience. You don’t want your flame too high as you will risk burning the onions– so be certain to keep it on medium or medium-low. Patience is important here since you want to allow the onions to work their magic in the pan without so much mixing about. You’ll want to stir your onions occasionally, but try not to fuss with them too much. It’ll take about 25 minutes (give or take) for them to fully reduce and achieve beautiful caramelized goodness– give it time and trust the process!
Both vegans and non-vegans can enjoy this tart as it’s super easy to modify in either direction! For the crust, you can find great pre-made vegan or non-butter options for next-level convenience. I picked up two different types at Whole Foods: one was from Immaculate, with a dough you can just roll out and use, and another from Wholly Wholesome that’s sold already in a pie shell shape. Personally, I love a shortcut, so a pre-made pie crust is the perfect way to cut down on prep time so I can spend the holiday doing what I really want — relaxing! Of course, you can always make yours with a dairy-made crust for a more buttery, flaky outside.
The ricotta in this is another flexible ingredient that can be swapped for a vegan version, or made as is. I found that Kite Hill vegan ricotta (made with almond milk) worked just as well for this recipe as regular ricotta, in both texture and taste. Whether you’re making it vegan, or non-vegan, you can top it off with a little bit of grated (plant-based) parmesan. I also sprinkled some red pepper flakes over my tart for a bit of heat and some color.
So, ready to wow your guests, and give everyone just one more reason to savor the gathering? Here’s how to make this delicious Broccolini & Onion Tart:
Caramelized Onion & Broccolini Tart
- 1 pre-made vegan or standard pie dough
- 2 bunches broccolini (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- 4 cups sliced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons vegan or standard ricotta
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss broccolini with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast broccolini in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until stems are slightly softened and florets are browned in some spots. Remove from oven and drizzle lemon juice over broccolini.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Reduce oven to 400°F. Prepare the dough per the package instructions (usually it needs to be brought to room temperature). If you are using rolled dough, transfer to an ungreased 9-inch tart pan and press to fit. Using a fork, prick holes in the bottom and sides of the crust. Bake until slightly golden, about 10 minutes.
- Allow crust to cool slightly. Then spread 1/3 cup vegan ricotta evenly into the bottom of the crust and season with pepper. Add caramelized onion, then roasted broccolini. Dollop small spoonfuls of remaining vegan ricotta on top of the broccolini.
- Bake filled tart in oven until heated through and ricotta looks slightly set, about 12 to 15 minutes.