Spring Tartine with Sweet Pea Hummus, Grilled Asparagus, and Lemon Zest

by Gena on April 19, 2012

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Greetings, all!

I’m heading into a weekend of heavy exam prep, not to mention a bioinformatics project for my biochem class (if any of you happen to be experts on lysozyme, talk to me), so the next few days of eats—heck, quite possibly the next few weeks—will stay within our recent theme of fast, easy food.

Given that certain NY Times writers have recently been suggesting—a bit unfairly, if you ask me—that veganism is nothing but hardship, I hope these posts will feel like a timely alternative to that perspective. I hope they will remind you that a little enthusiasm and confidence can go a long way in inspiring others to respect and feel curious about veganism. I hope they will show you that even burnt out pre-med students and food bloggers who spend most of their time in the library can prepare healthy, beautiful, and flavorful vegan food in a flash. And I hope they will suggest to you that the challenges of transitioning to a vegan diet are rivaled–and hopefully surpassed–by the joys and pleasures of its food.

This tartine is incredibly easy to put together, but it looks and tastes sophisticated and special. I got the idea when Valerie told me that Le Pain Quotidien is now doing a pea hummus tartine; I’ve made pea hummus before (and loved it) but it never occurred to create a tartine from it.

Tartines, in case you aren’t familiar, are simply open faced sandwiches with charming French names. They’re the resident specialty at LPQ, and I often prefer them to sandwiches myself: they’re prettier, for one thing, and they take long to eat, so I can savor them all the more. It is a fact of my ED history and recovery that I do enjoy savoring food slowly, and being a little ceremonious about it. Once upon a time, this felt like an extension of my obsessiveness, and on top of that I was creating elaborate games out of taking a long time to eat a very small amount of food. Nowadays, I’m eating quite a bit of food, and I’m no longer obsessing, but I am treating the act of eating with respect, consciousness, and gratitude.

But I digress. Tartines are fun, and this may be the first one I’ve posted here on the blog. For the bread, I used Ezekiel toast; as you know, this sprouted, yeast free, oil free, and added salt free (if you buy the low sodium variety) is my favorite bread. But you can use any bread you like: whole wheat bread from a local market; gluten free bread for my GF eaters, or one of my raw flatbread recipes will all be good.

The pea hummus, by the way, is a winner. I followed a very simple formula, not unlike any of my hummus recipes, but for some reason the peas add a magical sweetness, and they hint at springtime. Delicious.

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Spring Tartine with Sweet Pea Hummus, Grilled Asparagus, and Lemon Zest (vegan, can be made gluten free, can be made soy free)

Serves 4

For the asparagus

1 small bunch asparagus, tough bottom ends chopped off
Coconut oil spray
Sea salt and black pepper

Prepare a grill or indoor griddle according to manufacturer’s instructions. Grill asparagus for about 7-8 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and have slight grill marks. Alternately, you can steam, bake, or sautee the asparagus according to your preferences.

For the sweet pea hummus:

2 cups garbanzo beans
1 1/2 cups green peas, lightly steamed (frozen is fine, but do steam them before using)
3 tbsp tahini
2-3 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt (less if either your beans or peas have been pre-salted; use judgment)
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon zest
Water if needed, for blending
Optional: 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs: parsley, dill, etc.

Using a food processor or high speed blender, blend all ingredients till creamy and smooth, using some water to assist in blending as needed. Taste, adjust seasonings, add herbs if you wish, and serve, topped with lemon zest!

For the tartine:

8 slices of Ezekiel (or other high quality, preferably sprouted) whole grain bread, toasted and edges chopped off if you want to be fancy

1) Spread about 2-3 tbsp hummus on each slice of bread.

2) Top each slice with a few pieces of asparagus.

3) Sprinkle each slice with lemon zest, and serve!

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See? Easy peasy.

Sorry. Had to.

This recipe, like so many others, is a great example of how something elegant can come together with minimal fuss. If you’re really pressed for time, make the hummus in advance, and on the day of preparing the dish, simply use a veggie that doesn’t demand cooking, like cucumber slices, carrot slices, or red pepper slices, instead. The tartine will still be delicious, and it’ll be all the faster to prepare.

I bid you go dive into a batch of new and exciting hummus. And good night!

xo

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra Kerns April 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Looks fantastic…WILL make very soon!

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Ela April 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Easy peasy! You!!! But who said vegan is a lot of work? Yes, you have to be conscious of what you eat, but if you want to eat any kind of healthy you have to be conscious. Vegan (I think) is some of the easiest, no-brain, hardest to mess up food there is.

I’m so glad you’re finding elegant and delicious ways to keep yourself fueled for your incredible schedule–and good luck with all that!
love
Ela

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Katie @wishandwhimsy April 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

This looks SO amazingly delicious. Thank you for sharing!

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Kait April 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

That post really got under my skin yesterday…it was so unbalanced! This recipe, however, is the perfect reaction. :)

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Fiona April 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Susan Voisin of FatFreeVegan posted a comment about the NY Times article and asked readers to leave a comment stating whether or not they agree or disagree that being vegan can be challenging. I highly recommend anyone to read all of the comments because it’s eye-opening. As I said in my comment, it’s obvious to me that we shouldn’t assume that becoming and staying vegan is either easy or hard for everyone, but that it varies. A lot of vegans want to convince others that being vegan is easy. But the fact is that there are a lot of people out there who find it challenging, as evidenced by the many people who said so in their comments. I don’t think trying to tell everyone that it’s easy is a good idea because if they have a hard time sticking with it, they’ll think something is wrong with them for not finding it easy. Also, it may encourage black and white thinking, that if someone can’t be 100% vegan then they won’t try at all. Importantly, I don’t think the people who try to be vegan for ethical reasons find it any easier than those who try to be vegan solely for health reasons. Someone with either reason could find it hard or easy. I myself am a perfect example of a person who, (for ethical reasons) went vegetarian and attempted total veganism for over four years, yet despite my strong convictions found myself eating dairy occasionally. I find now that I am fully OK with never being 100% vegan and no longer feel guilty when eating foods with dairy. Now that there’s no guilt, I naturally eat far less dairy, which is ironic!
As for the recipe, the sweet pea hummus looks awesome! My next hummus will be this one!

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Gena April 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Fiona,

I certainly don’t mean to imply that it’s a piece of cake for everyone! It’s not. The challenges are real, which is why blogs like mine exist: to help people develop more confidence in the face of social criticism, cope with cravings by developing new tastes, and get over some of the longing for past favorites with amazing recipes. I get that the transition is bumpy, and I try to help.

My problem with the article was that it felt exclusively negative. Of course it did! Pope was setting out to talk about the drawbacks and challenges. But I didn’t feel as if it did enough to underscore the other side of the coin, and balance of that sort is a journalistic necessity. Additionally, I didn’t feel that it underscored all of the reasons why it might be good to push through the tough moments in spite of how challenging they are.

But no, it’s not always easy, and there is nothing wrong with cravings, struggles, loss of faith, bad days, and so on. We’ve all been there; I just think that those things can be surmounted with enough support and time.

G

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Fiona April 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Thanks for your reply! I definitely feel that your blog has helped me develop new tastes (for raw food specifically) and also helped me get to the place where I am now, where I don’t feel bad saying no to foods that I truly don’t want, even under pressure.
Also, I couldn’t be sure, but when I read through your post again it looked like you had re-written the paragraph about the NY Times article a little. Maybe I’m wrong, but I didn’t remember reading the line about how the challenges of transitioning to a vegan diet can be rivaled–and hopefully surpassed–by the joys and pleasures of its food. I like that! That’s a keeper of a quote; I am going to copy and paste that into a document I keep of quotes I like. :) And thank you for acknowledging that it can be challenging for some of us!

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Gena April 20, 2012 at 6:02 am

I added that line specifically for you! And changed “incorrectly” to “unfairly.” I love when my readers inspire me to soften a stance or show nuance in my thinking, which is what you did. Grazie.

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Karen April 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

I agree…great line, Gena!

Fiona April 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Well, I really like the changes you made! And you have inspired changes in my thinking too, with your thoughtful posts on vaccinations and other topics, so grazie to you too! :)

Fiona April 29, 2012 at 12:48 am

This hummus rocks! I used more like 1.5 cupe garbanzo beans, 3/4 cups frozen peas (that I microwaved), 1/4 tsp cumin, no garlic or lemon zest, and 1/4 cup tahini. Definitely repeating this one! Thanks!

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Sarah @ Serotonin for Breakfast April 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm

I just had that tartine at LPQ the other day. I’m happy to see you’ve recreated it. I have a bag of peas in my freezer that almost never gets any action, but now I don’t have an excuse. Did you see the other NY times article from Tuesday about veganism during pregnancy and while breast-feeding? Boy oh boy, what is it with NYT being so ornery lately about alternative lifestyle interests like yoga and plant-based diets?

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Gena April 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Sarah,

Nina Planck is a longtime hater of plant-based diet, and she is a remarkably biased one. Many of her statements are loaded with misinformation, and it’s a shame that she aims specifically to unnerve parents. But at least the Times printed a variety of opinions on the topic!

G

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Nicki @ ChenaRaw April 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Love the idea of the peas in the hummus! The other day I had hummuas made from white kidney beans and it was so smooth and creamy!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I love the green and more green…that green hummus layer, mmmm. And then, the asparagus, one of my faves, all layered just so precisely…great pics, Gena!

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elizabeth April 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I’m enchanted with tartines of late! As it turns out, my newest (and maybe my prettiest) cookbook is called La Tartine Gourmande. I can’t really recommend it to you as it’s not remotely vegan (it’s French – minimalist French but French all the same). On other hand, it is gluten free (a nice surprise as it’s deliberately not marketed as a gluten free cookbook). The author, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, is a kindred spirit. Concerned with health but not at the expense of pleasure. Living proof (like many of her compatriots) that one can eat dessert every day and still beam with health. Finally, the whole aesthetic dimension of food is hugely important to me, and her cooking demonstrates that making beautiful food requires mindfulness, not time, not fancy gadgets, not long lists of ingredients.

There are so-called ED behaviors that uncoupled from the obsession are really harmless, and I’d put savoring one’s food in this category. I could continue this comment – as you’ve probably gleaned, I resent very much the imposition of cultural norms onto the recovery paradigm – why I find your “Green Recovery” series so refreshing. Another time.

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 20, 2012 at 2:51 am

How creative! Pea hummus sounds just perfect!

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Lauren April 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

I am thinking a spring picnic… easy to travel with, won’t get soggy and most certainly delicious!

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Skye April 20, 2012 at 8:28 am

This reminds me of a yummy puff pastry, cream cheese, and asparagus tartine I had once- but yours is healthy, cruelty-free, and looks even more delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

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Skijasica April 20, 2012 at 9:57 am

Dear Gena,
I don’t have the habit of leaving comments to blogs, and in fact – this just might be my first one ever. Just wanted to thank you for all the support and energy you invest in inspiring quality vegan cuisine and fighting prejudice.
I live in a small Balkan country where vegetarian community is indeed tinny. Quite often I am faced with challenges of having to defend my vegetarian lifestyle, and don’t even get me started on those cheesy jokes on vegetarianism! I especially appreciate the fact that almost all of your recipes are made from scratch. Vegetarian friendly and gluten free products are quite rare on our market so I am stuck with “do it yourself” option anyway. Good luck with your exams. With such devotion you demonstrate running this blog, I am sure you will make it, career wise :)

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Vanessa April 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

i just made this with Brussels sprouts, i didn’t have any asparagus on hand. So good! keep the quick and easy recipes coming, absolutely love them.

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Christy April 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Wow. All that article seems to be saying is that veganism is a pain in the butt… not a very profound contribution to a conversation about what we put in our bodies and why. And, guess what, the health problems that can come from the SAD are also a big pain in the butt!!

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Christine (The Raw Project) April 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Ugh, not a pleasant article! But this recipes looks divinely elegant, perfect to serve at a family gathering. Can’t wait to try, thanks!

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Ashley April 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm

These were amazing! I brought them to a family party and they were the only thing that there were no leftovers for. It was requested that I bring them to the next party too. Excellent recipe and I especially love that I have some leftover hummus to eat tomorrrow! As always, thanks for another delicious recipe!

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

That’s awesome that you choose Ezekiel Bread, not too many people even know that such a kind exists! It’s highly nutritious,and great for loosing weight!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats May 19, 2012 at 7:15 am

Love this – I regularly make a sweet pea and edamame hummus I really should post on my blog.

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