This is the time of year when I start obsessing over red and green foods. After all, you can’t serve yellow and brown for Christmas! (Okay, fine, you actually can – and I usually do – but if the food coordinates with the holiday, well, it pleases me).
I sound like a total freak, don’t I?
Well, with these Tomato Pesto Tarts, I can let my freak flag fly proudly, because they’re unabashedly red and green – oh so perfect for the holiday.
They’re also perfect because they’re so super fast to assemble – even easier if you decide to go the store-bought pesto route – and we’re all short on time during the holidays.
They’re versatile, too. You can serve them up as a hearty party appetizer – they kind of eat like a sandwich, so they work as (slightly messy) finger food – or as a nice little side along with the rest of your Christmas meal.
Puff pastry squares topped with a layer of pesto, a tomato slice, and a little Parmesan, baked until bubbly and golden brown, then sprinkled with a few slivers of basil. They’re individual-serving-sized, so if the meat-eaters prefer a little prosciutto, who are we to deny them? Just lay a little slice onto a couple of the tarts as soon as you pull these bad boys out of the oven – it’ll warm and meld with the other flavors perfectly.
Red and green delicious fun for everyone.
Tomato Pesto Tarts with Optional Prosciutto
For the pesto:
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 medium garlic clove (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste if desired
- One-third cup olive oil + more if needed
- 1 teaspoon honey
For the tarts:
- 1 sheet store-bought frozen puff pastry (thawed at room temperature for about 30 minutes)
- 1/2 cup of your favorite pesto (I used a homemade basil and sunflower seed pesto; recipe below)
- 2 medium tomatoes (sliced) (about 1 pound) (the more flavorful the better!)
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 5 - 6 fresh basil leaves (rolled and sliced into strands) (chiffonade)
If adding optional prosciutto:
- 2 - 3 slices prosciutto (each tart takes about one-third to a half of a slice)
To make the pesto:
- To the bowl of a food processor, add the basil leaves, sunflower seeds, garlic, Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and one-third cup olive oil.
- Pulse until the mixture comes together in a rough paste. Add honey and pulse again until incorporated. Stream in additional olive oil if necessary to make a slightly loose, spreadable pesto.
- Taste and add additional salt if desired.
- Keeps refrigerated for up to 2 days. It'll still taste great, but it will lose its vibrant green color. Or add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to help it stay green.
To make the tarts:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- On a large floured cutting board or mat, unfold the puff pastry. If it breaks along the fold lines, no worries! You want to cut it into thirds along the folds anyway, then cut again into thirds the opposite way to create nine squares. Think tic-tac-toe board.
- Divide the pesto between each square, about 2 teaspoons per square, spreading carefully with a spoon to about 1/2 inch from the edges. Lay one tomato slice in the center of each. Sprinkle Parmesan over the tarts.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and, if using the prosciutto, lay about 1/3 to 1/2 of a slice over the top of each tart.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
I love simple finger foods like this – some combinations are so good that it’s best not to mess with them! 🙂 I could definitely eat a whole tray of these very happily 😉 and my fiance eats meat so he’d get the prosciutto ones!
I love that these are mini, they are adorable!
Mmm, how delicious do these look?! I love all of the things on here…must try! Pinned 🙂
I love how easy and tasty these little bites are. Red and green to boot! Love it!
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I’m soooo excited to find your blog! My 10 year old just came out as a vegetarian – just kidding – he’s never been a big meat fan and the more he learned about meat processing the more he realized he didn’t want to be part of that so he’s “stopped eating anything with a face.” I thought it would be hard to cook for 4 meat eaters and one not but I’m finding that most things can be made with meat on the side to be added at the table. So I love your one dish two ways ideas and I love tomatoes and pesto (and prosciutto) so thank you for this great blog!
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Do these do well being made a few hours in advance and being re-heated?
I made these for a party so they were made ahead of time. Even though they sat for a while until they got to room temp they still tasted really good and I got lots of compliments and no leftovers.
I did buy ready made pesto to save some work. I also sliced my tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and placed them on a wire rack to allow access tomato water to drip out first to avoid sogginess.
Great ideas! Glad they did well. 😀
That should be “excess” not “access”. 😉
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Thanks for the recipe. I made these with both white & green store-bought pesto, and they were a hit among my guests 🙂
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Can these tarts be frizen
Hey wondering can these tarts be made ahead and frozen?
Hi…. I would like to know if I can make these ahead of time and freeze them before baking them. Do you know if the tomato will go bad?
Hi Diana, I wouldn’t freeze them with the tomato – but maybe freeze with the pesto then add the tomato before baking?
I’m so making this when my parents visit!
I hope you love it! Happy holidays, Eileen! 🙂