Kumara, Feta & Basil Tart

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The sweetness of kumara (sweet potato) with salty feta, combine to make a lovely flavour combination in this tart. The hit of basil just tops it off.
We enjoy this as a vegetarian meal with a large salad. It is also a great recipe to prepare if you have guests for lunch, you can make it ahead and either re-heat to serve or enjoy it cold.

Shop purchased shortcrust pastry works just fine, but making your own is very quick, tastes better, and is always more short than the store bought variety. I use my Thermomix to make the pastry, but you could use a food processor also.

When I make this recipe I start by preparing the pastry, then while that is resting in the fridge I get the kumara ready and pop it in the oven to bake. By the time the pasty has rested and blind baked the kumara is cooked (and cooled slightly) ready to use.


Kumara, Feta & Basil Tart
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Recipe type: Meat Free Meals
Serves: 4-6
  • 150g plain flour
  • 125g cold butter, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 250g kumara (sweet potato), peeled and cut into cubes about 2-3cm in size
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 150g feta cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced thinly
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g cream
  • 75g milk
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  1. Grease a 23cm quiche dish or pan. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  1. Add flour and butter to Tmx bowl and combine speed 6 for 10 seconds, or until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add water and egg yolk to the mixture and then set dial to closed lid position, knead using interval speed for 10-20 seconds until mixture comes together in a ball of dough. Add a little more water if required to bring it together.
  3. Tip the pastry out on to a floured surface or silicone mat and push together into a ball shape. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper, until it is large enough to cover the base and sides of your dish. Lay in into the dish and then push into shape and trim the edges (leave a little overhang to allow for shrinkage)
  5. Blind bake the pastry. To blind bake: cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill the dish with a layer of pie weights (or rice or dried beans if you don't have pie weights) and bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.
  6. After 10 minutes remove paper and beans and then cook for a further 5 minutes in the hot (200 degree) oven. Remove and let cool slightly before filling
  1. Lay the kumara out on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees until softened.
  2. Arrange the kumara over the pastry base and top with crumbled feta and basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the cream, milk, eggs and garlic. Whisk in a bowl or mix speed 4-5 for 10 seconds in the Tmx.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the filling and bake for 35-40 minutes at 180 degrees until set and slightly golden on the top.
You can make this into individual tarts also. It will make four 12cm round small tarts.

If you are happy to add some meat to this meal some pan fried chorizo placed on the top of the fllling is a tasty recipe variation.

Pumpkin & Cashew Curry

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I like to include at least one meat free meal a week on our family menu. This is one of my favourites, so tasty and healthy (and I am a sucker for anything with cashews in it).
A friend gave me this recipe years ago and I used to make on the stove top, but have since converted it for the Thermo. Once you have prepped the ingredients it takes 16 minutes to cook, so you can sit down and put your feet up for 16 minutes (hahaha – as if!) In reality (if you were me) you would fold the washing, feed the pets, unpack the dishwasher and sweep the floor in that 16 minutes… ūüėČ But I digress.

We like a bit of spice and our kids tolerate some heat in their food fairly well (we have been training them!) but if you prefer a milder taste just use less chilli powder or none at all. The flavours of the other spices will still give the dish a lovely aromatic taste.
Serve with cous cous and a dollop of natural yoghurt. And as an added option you can stir some fresh baby spinach leaves through just before serving. The leaves will wilt with the heat of the dish. Enjoy (and if you have leftovers don’t worry – because the leftovers taste great the next day!)


Pumpkin & Cashew Curry
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Recipe type: Meat Free Meals
Serves: 5
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 20 olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of: cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder
  • 1 400g can tomatoes
  • 400g water (use the empty tomato can to measure it out)
  • 600g pumpkin
  • 100g cashews (raw, unsalted)
  1. Peel and dice the pumpkin into 3-4 cm cubes. Lay out on Varoma tray in a single layer. Use the Varoma dish also if needed. Set aside.
  2. Peel and quarter the onion and peel the garlic. Pace both into the Tmx bowl. Chop speed 7, 5 seconds.
  3. Add oil and spices and saute 100 degrees, 2 minutes, speed 1.
  4. Add tomatoes, water and cashews to the bowl. Lock lid into position and place the Varoma tray on the top.
  5. Cook Varoma temperature, 16 minutes, reverse speed 2. Check that the pumpkin is cooked through (if not extend cooking time by a few minutes).
  6. Tip the pumpkin carefully into a Thermo Server and pour the sauce over. Stir through gently with a spatula (add spinach at this stage if using).
  7. Serve with cous cous and natural yoghurt on top.
If you prefer a less spicy flavour just use less chilli powder or none at all.
As an added option you can stir some fresh baby spinach leaves through just before serving. The leaves will wilt with the heat of the dish.


Zucchini & Feta Slice

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Zucchini slice is such a well known and loved recipe. I doubt this is a new to most of you, but I have added it here to the blog in case you are yet to try it in the Thermo or are looking for a slightly different version.

This recipe with feta and sun-dried tomato is a bit of a change from the usual bacon and onion combination. The feta gives it a nice texture and slightly salty contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes. If you don’t like sun-dried tomatoes you can substitute them for fresh, or leave them off altogether, and it will still taste great (one of my daughters does not like tomato so I always make this with a ‘tomato-free’ section on the corner!) Use fresh herbs if you have them, you can really taste the difference.¬† I usually grab a handful of parsley from the garden but you could try other herbs such as basil or chives, just use whatever you have.
This is great for lunch on a weekend, dinner (with a salad), or sometimes I make it and freeze in slices for lunchboxes. Very versatile and good for when you are after a meat-free option.

If you don’t have a Thermomix¬† you can prepare this using a food processor or by grating the ingredients by hand. The Thermomix¬† just makes the whole process a whole lot quicker!

Zucchini & Feta Slice
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Recipe type: Meat Free Meals
Serves: 6
  • 100g cheddar cheese
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 large zucchini, washed, ends cut off, cut into large chunks (don't peel)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 100g feta
  • 160g self raising flour
  • 50g light flavoured oil (I use sunflower)
  • 5 eggs
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a large baking dish (mine is 30cm x 20cm)
  2. Grate cheddar cheese speed 6 for 6 seconds.
  3. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add onion, zucchini and parsley to the bowl and chop 5 seconds speed 5.
  5. Add the flour and grated cheese with oil and eggs to the bowl and combine together 5 seconds, reverse speed 5-6.
  6. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish and crumble the feta over the top. Add thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes if you like also.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes until golden brown on top and the mixture is set (check to see if it wobbles)