Make the most of asparagus season with this Easy Asparagus Tart. A light and fresh spring lunch that is perfect for feeding a crowd. Crispy puff pastry layered with garlic and herb cream cheese, parmesan and perfectly roasted asparagus. It's cheesy, it's crispy, it is fresh - it really has everything! A delicious meat free meal with plenty of flavour.
We love a fuss-free lunch, and it doesn't get much easier than this. Store bought puff pastry, some cheese and asparagus and you have yourself and Spring/Summer meal that you will want to eat over and over again. Which is good, because it stores in the fridge for a couple of days too.
Why you will love it
- A great way to use asparagus when it is in season
- A light lunch
- Perfect for feeding a crowd
- Good for picnics and packed lunches
- Puff pastry - We used store-bought, ready rolled puff pastry and we aren't ashamed to admit it. Whilst we try to make everything from scratch as much as possible, store bought pastry is one of our favourite time savers. We have made it ourselves before, and whilst it is satisfying, you really can't taste the difference. Buy an all butter one, rather than one made with shortening as it makes it nice and flakey and golden once cooked.
- Asparagus - Follow all our tips below on how to pick and keep asparagus fresh, so that this recipe is the best it can possibly be. Make sure that all the asparagus is of even thickness, so that they are all cooked through at the same time.
- Olive oil - This seasons the asparagus (along with salt and pepper) and helps to make it nice and crispy. Try to use the best quality you can, as you will be able to taste the difference.
- Cream cheese - Again, use the best quality that you can. We always use Philadelphia as it's nice and thick and creamy, and cooks well. Cheap cream cheese can tend to go a bit gritty once it is cooked. We also use a full fat cream cheese. For flavour and ease, we use a garlic and herb cream cheese, but you could buy plain and add crushed garlic and fresh herbs yourself.
- Parmesan - You can never have too much cheese, right? Whilst you can skip this step, we add a sprinkling of parmesan on top of the cream cheese. It adds lots of flavour, and some crunch too. Be mindful that if you use parmesan it won't be vegetarian.
- Egg - This is beaten to make an egg wash for the edges. It gives the tart the beautiful golden crust.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Unroll the puff pastry and put it on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Score a 1 inch edge round the pastry to make a boarder (this will make a nice crust) and then use a fork to prick the pastry inside the boarder (this prevents the base from puffing up when it is baking).
Two: Mix the asparagus and the olive oil together with some sea salt and black pepper and set aside.
Three: Spread the cream cheese on the pastry (don't go over the boarder) and the sprinkle the parmesan on top.
Four: Arrange the asparagus on top of the cheese and then brush the edge with the beaten egg.
Five: Put it in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 25 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and browned and the asparagus is cooked through.
Puff pastry tart
We love puff pastry, as it has so many uses. We also keep a roll of store bought puff pastry in the fridge to use for pizza pinwheels, Cheese and Onion Pasties, Easy Sausage Rolls, Cranberry and Brie Bites, or Chocolate and Banana Pinwheels.
One of our favourite ways to use it is to make an easy puff pastry tart for a light lunch. We usually make our Tomato Puff Pastry Tart, but now we are in asparagus season and asparagus is abundant, cheap and full of flavour, we love using it to make a puff pastry tart.
Health benefits of asparagus
A member of the lily family, asparagus is a nutrient dense vegetable and definitely one you should be trying to include in your diet more often. It is high in fibre, vitamins A, C, E and K and packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
There is evidence that the cultivation of asparagus dates back over 2,000 years to Greece, where they believed in its medicinal properties and that it could be used for curing tooth ache. It has been grown in England since the 16th century.
How to store asparagus
You should try to use asparagus on the day that it is bought, but if that isn't possible then we have some tips on how to keep it fresh for up to 7 days in the fridge. Take a look at this post on How To Store Asparagus.
How to adapt it
Whilst the asparagus is the star of this puff pastry tart, you can add some extra vegetable for a bit of a nutrition boost. The key is to not weigh the pastry down too much, so don't go crazy with toppings.
But you could add a few slices of cherry tomatoes, or shiitake mushrooms. Some frozen peas work well too, and will give it even more of a green boost. Make sure they are quick cooking vegetables and not a root vegetable like carrot.
If you want to add lots of extra flavour, then you could either mix a tablespoon of pesto in to the cream cheese, or add dollops of pesto on top of the asparagus before it goes in to the oven - but I don't think that would look as presentable. Why not try our Homemade Mixed Herb Pesto? Another option is a little Dijon mustard mixed in to the cream cheese.
What to serve it with
If we are keeping this as a light lunch, then we tend to keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette.
However, if we want it as a more filling meal, or we are serving it up to guests, then we add some sides to it. Here are some of our favourite side dishes that go perfectly with this easy asparagus tart:
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you even get to storing asparagus and then cooking with it, you want to make sure that you pick the perfect asparagus. Fresh asparagus should be bright green with no signs of shrivelling. The tips might have a hint of purple to them, but you want them to be firm, and not limp.
Make sure the spears aren't wet and mushy - you are looking for them to be closed. Try to pick the thinner asparagus, as the thicker ones can be more woody and overripe.
The asparagus season here in the UK is very brief, so you really need to make the most of it and make sure that none of it goes to waste. Asparagus can deteriorate quite quickly after it is picked (which is why correct storage is essential), but during peak season the quality of asparagus is amazing.
Between April and June is when asparagus is at its best in the UK. The same goes for the US, however you will see asparagus start to appear in supermarkets around February time, but it will be expensive and flavourless.
If you pastry cracks when it is unrolled, chances are you didn't leave it out of the fridge for 10 minutes before rolling. Don't skip this stage.
Use the bend and snap method. Take one stalk of asparagus and then gently bend it to the point of breaking and it will snap off at the point where the woody tough part begins. You can carry on snapping them all, or use that as a guide and use a knife to cut them all at the same point.
Yes, you can make this in advance. You can either fully cook it and then store and reheat using the instructions below. Or, you could prepare the whole dish and then keep it in the fridge until it is ready to cook. It make need an extra few minutes in the oven if it goes in the oven straight from the fridge.
Yes, you can make mini individual asparagus tarts and they would be perfect for canapés, but obviously would look different. Cut smaller squares and then make a smaller boarder and then follow the rest of the recipe. However, instead of using whole asparagus spears, use chopped up asparagus.
For the base we used a garlic and herb cream cheese (Philadelphia). You could use something like Boursin cheese too, or you could buy a plain cream cheese and then mix in some crushed garlic, or garlic powder with some fresh basil and parsley, or even dried. Mascarpone also works well for the base too.
We then sprinkled parmesan on top as it has such a strong flavour. However, you could swap it for a matura cheddar or gruyere.
Once cooled, slice the tart up and then the slices can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. This makes them perfect for easy lunches, packed lunches or even taking on a picnic.
If you want to store it in the freezer, then the slices can be stacked with some baking paper between them and then put in a freezer bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To reheat the asparagus tart slices, make sure they are fully defrosted and then put them on a baking tray and cover with foil so they don't burn. Put them in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. Make sure the tart slices are piping hot throughout before serving. We don't recommend reheating them in the microwave, as they will go soggy.
This isn't vegetarian because we have used Parmesan cheese in it. You can easily adapt it to be vegetarian by using a vegetarian hard cheese. Most supermarket own brand Parmesan alternatives are actually vegetarian, so be sure to check the labels.
Whilst we haven't tried it ourselves, you have some option when it comes to veganising this recipe. Start with a vegan puff pastry and then use a vegan cream cheese. You can then skip the parmesan, or use a vegan alternative and leave the egg wash. It won't get as crispy, but it will still puff up.
This version here isn't gluten free because of the puff pastry we have bought. However, most larger supermarkets now stock gluten free ready rolled puff pastry. Just check there is no cross contamination with the rest of the ingredients.
• Make sure that you leave the ready rolled puff pastry out of the fridge for 10 minutes before unrolling, as this will prevent cracks. Don't leave it out any longer before you start working with it though, as it will become warm, soft and too stretchy.
• If your puff pastry comes already rolled on some baking paper, then you can transfer it as it is on to the baking tray. Otherwise you will need to lay some baking paper on a baking tray and then put the puff pastry on top of that.
• If you are using a frozen puff pastry, then make sure it has completely thawed overnight in the fridge before you start using it.
• Make sure that all the asparagus is an even size, so that it cooks at the same rate. We like to use thin asparagus, rather than chunky ones, as they get nice and crispy by the time the pastry is golden. Otherwise the pastry might burn by the time the asparagus is perfectly cooked.
• Every oven is different and some cook quicker or slower than others. Keep and eye on your tart in the oven, and take it out sooner if it is starting to burn, or leave it in a little longer if it isn't golden yet.
• To stop the pastry going soggy, make sure that the oven it hot and to the correct temperature before it goes it. Make sure the cheese mixture isn't too sloppy too - that can happen if you use a cheap cream cheese.
• Add some extra flavour by mixing some pesto or a little Dijon mustard in to the cream cheese before spreading it on the pastry.
More asparagus recipes
Easy Asparagus Tart
- 375 g (13.25 oz) Puff pastry - left out of the fridge for 10 minutes before unrolling
- 300 g (10.5 oz) Asparagus spears - trimmed
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 150 g (0.66 cups) Garlic and herb cream cheese
- 40 g (0.5 cups) Parmesan
- 1 Egg
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6
- Unroll 375 g Puff pastry and put it onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Score a 1 inch edge round the pastry to make a boarder (this will make a nice crust) and then use a fork to prick the pastry inside the boarder (this prevents the base from puffing up when it is baking).
- Mix 300 g Asparagus spears and 1 tablespoon Olive oil together with some 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper and set aside.
- Spread 150 g Garlic and herb cream cheese on the pastry (don't go over the boarder) and the sprinkle 40 g Parmesan on top.
- Arrange the asparagus on top of the cheese and then brush the edge with the 1 Egg (whisked).
- Put it in the oven for 25 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and browned and the asparagus is cooked through.
- Make sure that you leave the ready rolled puff pastry out of the fridge for 10 minutes before unrolling, as this will prevent cracks. Don't leave it out any longer before you start working with it though, as it will become warm, soft and too stretchy.
- If your puff pastry comes already rolled on some baking paper, then you can transfer it as it is on to the baking tray. Otherwise you will need to lay some baking paper on a baking tray and then put the puff pastry on top of that.
- If you are using a frozen puff pastry, then make sure it has completely thawed overnight in the fridge before you start using it.
- Make sure that all the asparagus is an even size, so that it cooks at the same rate. We like to use thin asparagus, rather than chunky ones, as they get nice and crispy by the time the pastry is golden. Otherwise the pastry might burn by the time the asparagus is perfectly cooked.
- Every oven is different and some cook quicker or slower than others. Keep and eye on your tart in the oven, and take it out sooner if it is starting to burn, or leave it in a little longer if it isn't golden yet.
- To stop the pastry going soggy, make sure that the oven it hot and to the correct temperature before it goes it. Make sure the cheese mixture isn't too sloppy too - that can happen if you use a cheap cream cheese.
- Add some extra flavour by mixing some pesto or a little Dijon mustard in to the cream cheese before spreading it on the pastry.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.