This week, we are going to Italy and more specifically to Tuscany! We are making zucchini Scarpaccia, a popular Italian dish from the coastal city of Viareggio with the addition of butternut squash. This dish resembles a thin tart or flat bread, with thin slices of squash, zucchini and onions. It is usually vegan although I have seen recipes that add eggs and cheese but it isn’t necessary.
In case you were wondering, “Scarpaccia” means worn out shoes! It wouldn’t be my first choice as a name but hey, that’s what they called it! Maybe because the tart comes out like the thin sole of an old shoe. One thing for sure is that zucchini Scarpaccia’s tastes doesn’t remind you of anything shoe related!
Scarpaccia is a great way to use up extra zucchini for lunch, brunch, picnics, potlucks etc. This recipe isn’t gluten-free, but you can use a gluten-free flour mix if you want. The addition of fine cornmeal add a lovely texture to the dish.
Thin or thick tart?
The traditional recipe usually produces a thin tart but you can make a thicker one if you prefer to make something more filling or substantial. I like to add 2 layers of potatoes at the bottom. Zucchini contain a lot of liquid so it is best to sprinkle some sea salt on the thin slices and let them sweat for 10-15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. This will create a firmer texture and make sure that it holds together like a quiche.
You can bake it on a lined sheet or you can use rectangular bread loaf tins to make individual portions. I used a thin layer of potatoes at the bottom and on top in the above picture, transforming it into an elegant loaf. To make sure that the vegetables are perfectly cooked, bake covered with foil and for the first 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top is lightly brown.
What holds the vegetables together?
Just a light batter made of 2 types of flour, herbs, and non-dairy milk. You don’t need eggs, cream or any other dairy products. Who knew right? It won’t hurt to add some vegan cheese but it isn’t absolutely necessary!
Scarpaccia is a great replacement for pizza and can be made gluten-free too! Sprinkle some fresh basil leaves or drizzle a little chili oil. Cut in squares and serve either hot or at room temperature with a salad.
- Baking sheet
- 2-3 Tbsp oil
- 3 medium zucchini thinly sliced
- 1-2 peeled potato thinly sliced (or butternut squash)
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- 1.5-2 cups vegan milk (soy, almond etc.)
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes strips (drained)
- 1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese (Violife, Follow Your Heart, Chao...)
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, sage or thymes
- salt & pepper
- fresh basil leaves
- chili oil
Prepare the vegetables
- Remove the stems of the zucchini. Using a mandoline, make thin slices. Sprinkle with salt. Set in a colander for 5 minutes. Drain all the water and pat dry.
- Fill another bowl with water. Peel the potatoes and slice them with the mandoline. Place in the water bowl.
- Slice the onions. Heat up a frying pan with a little oil, and pan fry them until golden.
Make the batter
- Mix the all-purpose flour with the fine cornmeal. Add the shredded cheese, rosemary, sage, garlic powder.
- Mix the vegan milk with the sun-dried tomato strips.
- Combine both. If it is too thick add a little water so that it can coat all the vegetables.
Putting it together
- Line or oil a baking sheet or baking dish.
- Turn the oven on to 375° F.
- Pat dry the potato slices.
- Place some of the batter on the bottom and add one layer of potatoes.
- Combine the remaining batter with all the vegetables making sure that everything is well coated.
- Pour the vegetables over the potatoes and smooth out and even out the top.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake covered with foil for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until done.
- Top with fresh basil leaves, vegan parmesan, pine nuts or chili oil.
- Let it cool down for a few minutes before cutting portions.
- Buon apetito!