The Student Cookbook over at the Guardian newspaper’s website has a few good recipes for vegetarians and vegans, including this one, which includes a wonderful recipe for vegan pesto.

Green Vegan Tart. Photo: The Guardian

 Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: 1 hour

4 tbsp olive oil, and a little extra for drizzling
3 large courgettes (zucchini), sliced (about 600g)
A bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A bunch or a 250g pack of spinach, sliced
375g pack of ready-rolled puff pastry (vegan)

For the pesto:
2 good handfuls of coriander leaves
50g cashew nuts
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
A small handful of mint leaves
90-100ml olive oil
Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7. Trim the ends off the courgettes and slice thickly. Trim and slice the spring onions and wash the spinach, pick off the leaves and slice roughly. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and start stir-frying the courgettes. Once they begin to soften, chuck in the spring onions and garlic, cook for a minute then add the spinach and stir-fry for a minute more until the leaves wilt. Season with salt and pepper, tip the vegetables into a baking sheet or roasting tin and leave them to cool.

Take the pastry out of the fridge before you make the pesto. For the pesto: Wash the coriander and pick the leaves off the stalks. Whizz the cashews briefly in a food processor then add the garlic, blend again, then the coriander leaves and mint, and whizz until you have a rough paste. Gradually add the oil until the mixture has the consistency of a thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Unroll the pastry on to a lightly greased baking tray. With the point of a sharp knife mark out a rectangle about 1cm in from the edge to leave a border. Spread the pesto over the base up to the border you’ve made. Tip the courgettes and spinach over the top, making sure they don’t cover the border. Bake for about 20 minutes until well risen and puffy. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle over a little olive oil before serving.

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