In Season: Vegan Cheese & Vegetable Crostata


Karima Chellouf CNP is a chef, nutritionist and a self confessed ‘nerd’ for vegetables, local growers and producers. She created this delicious, super seasonal crostata with produce picked up at our new Downtown Farmers Market at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square – Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza.

Crostatas are perfect for all seasons – you can fill them with anything! This one is plant-based and a cross between a potato pizza and a quiche with incredible umami depth. It is bursting with fresh local ingredients including; BC Garlic, Tamari koji from VanKoji, Japanese eggplant, zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh herbs. 

Follow Karima’s  Instagram feed for more recipes and to learn more about food history, justice and health.

Vegan Cheese & Vegetable Crostata

By: Karima Chellouf, CNP

Ingredients for the vegan flaky pastry dough

  • 180g // 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra (up to another 60g // 1/2 cup for dusting)
  • 150g // 2/3 cup vegan butter, cut in 1/2” cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt (fine sea/kosher)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 30ml // 2 tbsp plant-based milk + 2.5ml // 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • up to 45ml // 3 tbsp ice water

Pastry Wash/Finish

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of fine sea/kosher salt for seasoning (optional)
  • A few sprigs of parsley, dill & some finely sliced green onions to garnish

Ingredients for the Cheese & Herb Filling

  • 1 cup // 230g Spread ‘Em Creamy Original Cashew Cream Cheeze, softened
  • 3 large cloves garlic, grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 – 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for the Vegetable Layers

  • 3 small-medium yellow/waxy potatoes, cooked
  • 3 small – medium tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp tamari koji
  • 1 small shallot, finely sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, finely sliced or peeled into ribbons
  • 1 small Japanese eggplant, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari koji

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  • Steam/boil/microwave the potatoes, set aside to cool.
  • Measure and chill all dough ingredients. Salt and baking powder can go in the flour (chill them in a mixing bowl to be used), but keep the rest separate.
  • Add the butter to the dry ingredients. Coat your hands in the flour. Crunch it all up in your hands. You want to stop when pea-sized chunks of butter are the largest.
  • Sprinkle the milk and vinegar mix, and 2 tbsp of ice water over the dough. Quickly incorporate with your hand. Add up to another tbsp of ice water if needed.
  • Take dough out of the bowl. Use a bench scraper to shape it into a rectangular-ish shape. Fold it over on itself, flatten, and re-shape, 3 times. Mold it into either a square, rectangle, or large round and flatten it to be no more than 1”/2.5 cm thick. Wrap it tightly or place in a floured container with a lid, and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
  • Mix all cheese and herb filling ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  • Slice tomatoes and potatoes about 5mm thick. Lay them on a plate or pan. Cut the rest of your vegetables, and combine them in a separate bowl.


  • Lightly flour your work surface, rolling pin, and dough.
  • Tamp the dough down with the pin to make it malleable, from the center, moving outward (top to bottom). Start to roll out, from the center. Regularly re-flour and rotate the dough 90 degrees (1/4 turn) to ensure it isn’t sticking.
  • When the dough is about 4mm thick, gently lift it onto a sheet of parchment that will eventually fit the metal baking pan of your choice.
  • Brush the potatoes and tomatoes with combined olive oil and koji. Toss the other veg in the bowl with its own olive oil and koji.
  • Fill/decorate the pastry quickly. Leave a 2-inch border. I spread the cheese mix, then layer on the potatoes, mixed vegetables, and then tomatoes to protect the bottom crust from their liquid.
  • Fold up the edges of the dough to encase the filling as you like, pinching where needed to hold it in place.
  • Rest it in the fridge for 30 mins, and preheat your oven to 375°F. Put the metal sheet pan you plan to bake the crostata on, in it.


  • Take your crostata out of the fridge and quickly brush the edges with olive oil. Very lightly sprinkle with salt from high above.
  • Take the metal baking pan out of the oven. Slide parchment with the crostata on it and rush it back into the oven. This ensures a golden, crunchy bottom.
  • Rotate the pan 180-degrees after 30 mins. Watch it closely after 45 minutes and take it out when it’s deeply toasty gold, 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Slide it onto a wire rack, to let it cool, allow the cheese to solidify, and ensure the bottom stays crisp.
  • Pick and slice herbs, and generously sprinkle over when cooled.

Photos: Karima Chellouf