A New Take on Tarts: Savory Low-Sodium Beet-Carrot Tarts

When plagued by the question, “What to cook?” the answer lies in a savory tart. Whether you’re preparing breakfast or dinner, appetizers or the main meal, a tart makes a quick solution — one that can easily be adapted to any dietary needs (hello, gluten-free chickpea crust), time constraints (hello, ready-to-bake pizza dough) or number of guests (hello, unexpected holiday visitors). And with the right ingredients, it can even be low in sodium too.

Most sodium in traditional tarts comes from flaky pastry dough or prepared pie crusts, as well as from cheese and any cured or seasoned meats. But in replacing these items with lower-sodium ingredients, you’ll not only lose some of that sodium, but add color and flavor as well.

First, in place of buttery and higher-sodium prepared crusts, use whole-wheat pizza dough — a yeast-based solution that provides equal convenience as well as an interesting, nutty flavor for the crust. Then, make the most of the natural sodium (and beauty!) found in carrots and beets, and combine them with ricotta to create a creamy, sweet and savory filling to the tart. Top with Parmesan and fresh dill. And breakfast (or lunch or dinner) is on the table in minutes. Problem solved.

Note: For a lower-sodium pizza dough, make the dough from scratch, replacing salt with other savory spices, like caraway seeds, black pepper, dried dill weed and even salt-free garlic powder.

Savory Beet-Carrot Tart

Makes: 1 large 10-inch tart or 16 mini tarts

Active Time: 30 minutes

2 carrots, stems trimmed

1 small beet, root and stem trimmed

1/2 cup low-fat ricotta, drained

10 ounces whole-wheat pizza dough, uncooked

1/2 teaspoon salt-free garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons Parmesan

Fresh dill

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel the carrots and the beets, then roughly cut into chunks. Using a food processor with a grater attachment (or a hand-held grater), shred the beets and carrots. This should make about 3/4 to 1 cup of grated vegetables.

Then in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with 1/2 cup of the grated vegetables, and the garlic powder, dill weed and black pepper. Stir with a spoon until combined.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough, making a large circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Using the spoon or your hands, spread the ricotta mixture on top of the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edge. Then fold the dough over itself, making pleats.

Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and use a pastry brush to paint the edge of the crust with oil. Then sprinkle the top with extra shredded vegetables and 1 to 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Place in the oven to bake until the dough is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes. Top the tart with fresh dill. Slice and serve.

Optional: Instead of one big tart, use a pastry scraper to cut the dough ball into quarters. Then cut those quarters into quarters, making 16 small balls of dough. Roll them out to make mini tarts, folding them as you would the big tart. Bake until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Sodium Content: Beets: 64 mg per beet; Carrot: 42 mg per medium carrot; Low-Fat Ricotta: 24 mg per 1/4 cup, depending on brand.

All sodium counts based on the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference release 26 and common marketplace products.

Jessica Goldman Foung began the blog SodiumGirl.com to capture her adventures in a low-sodium life. She regularly writes about salt-free flavor tips and ingredient swaps. Her first cookbook was Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, and she is currently working on her second, to be released in 2016.

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