Roasted Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart (Gluten-Free)

This is ANOTHER excellent recipe from Smitten Kitchen.    I made a gluten-free version for New Year’s Day and it was well loved and totally devoured.   I was attracted to this recipe because I am addicted to caramelized onions which appear in many of the recipes that I make (wild mushroom cobbler, red wine and squash panade, potato and goat cheese pizza, pasta with greens and oregano, Swiss chard and feta phyllo triangles, pineapple and ham pizza, layered wild mushroom and blini casserole).  The exciting discovery for me was that roasted cauliflower is crazy delicious!  I had a hard time not eating all of the roasted cauliflower that was meant for the tart.  I am not the biggest cauliflower fan (although I do make one delicious cauliflower soup).  Many of the folks who I fed this tart to on New Year’s Day commented that they usually do not care for cauliflower but they liked this tart.  It could be the over the top amount of cream and cheese in the tart, but I am here to tell you that the roasted cauliflower all by their little vegetable selves were delectable!


This tart is really more of a fancy quiche than a tart.  I have never made a quiche with mascarpone before and it was pretty darn tasty.  Mascarpone is a delicious Italian cream cheese that seems more like sour cream.   I have only discovered it recently and thought that it might be one of those special gourmet ingredients one could only find in a big city.  Nope.   They had it in the cheese section of the Krueger super market in Maryville, Tennessee (allowing me to make a Ricotta and Drunken Spiced Fig Tart).  If you can find mascarpone, it is very nice and you should give it a try, but if you cannot find it I think that sour cream would work just as well.

The original recipe from Bon Appétit  called for truffle oil, and the adaptation on Smitten Kitchen suggested truffle salt instead.  I have not developed a taste for truffles and, considering how much I spend on food already, I have no intention of adding yet another ingredient that I cannot afford to love to my pantry.  SO, I skipped it.  But if you have truffle-flavored stuff on hand you should throw a bit into this tart!

You can roast the cauliflower, caramelize the onions and make the tart crust ahead of time.  I actually made the whole tart the day before I served it and it was fine (gluten-free crusts do not get soggy!).


Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Bon Appétit , March 2007

Yields 8 servings

  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound) or 1 pound of a larger head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch flowerets
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil or a few pinches of truffle salt (optional, I skipped it)
  • 1 gluten-free pie crust (recipe below) or a store bought refrigerated pie crust or the tart crust from smitten kitchen
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (7- to 8- ounce) container mascarpone cheese or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (I used whole milk and instead and it was plenty creamy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg (I forgot this)
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (I don’t really like gruyere and would use midnight moon goat gouda next time)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast 15 minutes before turning florets over and roasting until brown and tender, another 15-25 minutes. Cool cauliflower then thinly slice and drizzle with truffle oil or sprinkle with truffle salt, if using.  Reduce temperature to 375°F.
  2. Prepare and pre-bake the gluten-free crust (recipe below).  If using store bought pie crust, press it onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Line crust with foil, fill with pie weights and bake 20 minutes at 350. Remove foil and weights then bake until crust is golden, about 5 additionally minutes. Press crust back with the back of a fork if bubbles form. Cool crust.
  3. While the crust pre-bakes, heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until onion is a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally (30-40 minutes).
  4. When the crust is pre-baked, adjust the heat to 350 degrees.  Use a knife or brush to spread the bottom and sides of crust with mustard. Spread onion over crust. Arrange cauliflower over the onion. Set the tart on a rimmed baking sheet (to protect against leaks). Whisk eggs, mascarpone, cream and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in Gruyère. Pour mixture over filling in tart pan, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 15 minutes before serving.
For a picture of the finished tart, scroll down!
PRE BAKED GLUTEN-FREE PIE CRUST (from Gluten Free Baking Classics)
  • 1 cups plus 2 Tablespoons gluten-free rice flour mix (recipe below)
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour (also known as mochi or glutinous rice flour)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter a pie tin and dust it with rice flour.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Cut the butter in to the dry ingredients and use your fingers to combine until it has the consistency of course cornmeal.
  5. Whisk the eggs and juice together.
  6. Add the liquid to the flour and butter and combine into a ball.
  7. Measure out two 12 inch sheets of wax paper.  Roll the disk of dough out between two sheets of wax paper.
  8. Remove one of the sheets of wax paper and flip the dough into the pie tin.
  9. Remove the second sheet of wax paper and press the dough in to the pie tin using your fingers to repair any cracks.
  10. Bake the crust for 18 minutes at 375 degrees.

GLUTEN-FREE RICE FLOUR MIX (from Gluten-free Baking Classics)

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cups potato starch (NOT POTATO FLOUR)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour

This will make enough flour mix for two single crust pies plus extra for flouring your rolling surface.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s true! Cauliflower can be super delicious. Right now I am thinking about my favourite dish at one of my favourite restaurants that’s basically cauliflower deep fried with olive oil and lemon. Oh man… I wish I was eating that right now. I should try your roasted version!


  2. Do you remember the Lebonese restaurant down the street from my old apartment in Queens? They served the most amazing fried lemony cauliflower. Also I used to make an indian cauliflower dish that called for soaking the cauliflower in water for a whilte before frying it on very high hear with spices. The cauliflower would turn golden brown on the outside and would literally be bursting with juice! I think that the Lebanese restaurant might have soaked their cauliflower in water with lemon juice….I wanna try that. I am having a cauliflower moment…which is good because I bought two heads on sale.

  3. Ha! The restaurant I’m talking about is Lebanese as well. Score one for them! Violette is half Lebanese you know… I don’t remember that Queens restaurant though.

    I encourage you to do cauliflower experiments! It’s kind of the blank slate of the vegetable world.


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