Truffled 3-Cheese Cauliflower Tart

IMG_4128-1.JPGIf you read the title, you already know this dish is delish. But did I mention there are caramelized onions? Because there are. And did I mention that this is actually healthy? How could a dish with the words “3 cheese” and “tart” in the title be healthy, you ask? Let me explain.

This tart is inspired from a mouth-watering Smitten Kitchen recipe. She is a goddess of food blogging, and I turn to her recipes all the time for inspiration when I’m cooking something special for a party. But when I’m cooking day-to-day, I find I can’t often afford the calories in many of the recipes. Not only am I a student of the Cooking Light school of thought, I am also one of those lucky people with the metabolism of a snail who can gain 5 lbs in a weekend. So, I often end up lightening up her recipes, and they still taste damn delicious, if I do say so myself. And really, who needs 1/2 cup heavy cream and almost 2.5 cups cheese? (Ok. Sometimes I do. But not on a random Tuesday night.)

So, as I’ve done before with a few of my other favorite recipes, I decided to lighten up the dish. With a few swaps I shaved off 120 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving, without sacrificing taste. In fact, I lightened it up so much, I could increase the serving size if I wanted (from 8 servings to 6),  for a more filling meal.


  • 1/2 cup skim milk instead of 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 and 1/4 cups cheese instead of 2 1/3 cups cheese
  • 3 T oil instead of 4.5 T (and used truffle salt instead of truffle oil)
  • healthy olive-oil based Cooking Light crust instead of refrigerated pie crust
  • add in 2 egg whites – only a few extra calories per serving, and an additional gram of protein to make it feel more filling (plus I needed a little extra volume from reducing all the cheese!)

These are some basic adjustments you can make in many recipes, and this is my go-to crust recipe for basically anything requiring a savory crust.

I hope you enjoy!

 Truffled 3-Cheese Cauliflower Tart

IMG_4133-1.JPGAdapted from this Smitten Kitchen recipe
Time: 1 hour 15 mins (active time: 30 minutes)    Serves: 6 or 8

Nutritional info (based on 8 servings) Calories: 335 / Carbs: 22g / Fat: 23g / Protein: 11g



  • 1lb cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, or other hard, sharp cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or parmigianno-Regionno, whatever you have on hand)
  • Truffle salt*

*A note on truffle salt – I know this may sound like a snooty thing to include in a recipe or have in your kitchen, but trust me – it’s worth it! A little bit goes a long way, and it lasts basically forever. And it smells like heaven. And yes, I imagine that heaven smells like truffles.

Cauliflower -


  • 5.6 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 cup plus 2 T)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil*
  • 3 T ice water
  • Cooking spray

*To make this even more trufflicious (is that a word? If not, it should be!), add in a little truffle oil in place of an equal amount of olive oil.


Preheat oven to 425°.

Toss cauliflower florets with 1.5 T of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and roast in oven for 30 minutes, turning once. It is important to roast the cauliflower first, as it will remove some of the moisture, which would otherwise make your tart watery.

While cauliflower is roasting, make your crust!

To make crust, combine flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse a few times to combine. Combine 1/4 cup oil and 3 tablespoons ice water in a small bowl. Slowly add oil mixture through food processor chute, and continue to pulse until dough is crumbly. Dump dough into your tart pan coated with cooking spray (I use my spring-form pan, but a regular tart pan would work perfectly, or a larger pie tin.) Press dough into an even layer in the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Place crust into the oven with the cauliflower, and bake for 8- 10 minutes.

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When the crust and cauliflower are both done, remove from oven and allow to cool while you finish prepping the rest of the ingredients. Reduce oven temp to 375°.

While your crust and the cauliflower are in the oven, start your onions caramelizing. Warm remaining 1.5 T olive in a skillet, and add onions. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Pro-tip: if you also add a sprinkle of sugar to the onions, this will speed up the caramelization process, cutting the time in half from about 30 minutes to 15. Continue cooking onions and turning them occasionally, until they are all a gooey brown.

Caramelizing onions
At the beginning… midway through…. thoroughly caramelized!


Beat the mascarpone (or cream cheese) in a bowl with an electric mixer, and add in the milk to make a cheesy, creamy mixture. Add in the 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, and pinches of salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

At this point, your crust and cauliflower should be cool-ish, and your onions caramelized. You may want to chop up your cauliflower a little smaller, if you have some big pieces. Spread the Dijon mustard over the bottom of the pie crust, and top with the onions and cauliflower. Sprinkle with truffle salt, and grated cheese. Pour in egg mixture, and finally top with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

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Place tart in oven, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until egg is set and top is golden. Allow to cool a bit before serving. Serve with a light side salad, or keep up the cruciferous theme and try these sauteed Brussels sprouts.

Note: I just recently made a variation on this, using thinly sliced potatoes as the “crust” and less cheese, cooking it in a cast-iron skillet to make more of a frittata. If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative, this variation would work well!

 This time last year…

I was traveling in China and Korea! I kept track of my adventures, culinary and otherwise, here.

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