A Rustic Savory Crostata

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Before you read the rest of this post, I’m going to ask you to trust me when I say, “this crostata is worth all of the steps. It. Just. Is.”

This is the savory vegan pie I made for the SEEDS social and while I’d love to say that it was inspired by something really special, I’d be lying if I told you that. The truth is, this crostata was inspired by my pantry. I was going out of town and had a few pears I wanted to use up. I always have onions and garlic, and thought to myself, “why don’t I make a paradoxical crostata?” I’ll prepare the pears in a savory way. And I’ll prepare the onions and garlic in ways that heightened their sweetness. The thinly sliced potatoes would add delicate heartiness and I’ll unite the whole pie with earthy thyme and pear white balsamic vinegar. In the end, I was completely ecstatic about this crostata. It was earthy, but light, slightly sweet, but definitely a savory pie. It was a hit at the pie social, and two days later, I made it again for dinner with a friend. Between the two of us, we devoured one whole crostata! So, yes, you have to believe me when I say, it’s worth it!

A Rustic Savory Crostata (Printable Recipe)


3 Bosc pears–roasted

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 Vidalia onions–caramelized

1 head of garlic–roasted

2 tablespoon Earth Balance–melted

5 small potatoes

2 pie crusts (see below for recipe/notes)

2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup pear-infused white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon orange juice

salt/black pepper/olive oil/dried thyme/flour

1 tablespoon Earth Balance (optional)

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)


*Roasting the pears: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry pears. Add water to large bowl, along with lemon juice. Quarter the pears (leave the skin on) and remove the core. Add prepped pears to the bowl to prevent discoloration. Once all pears are prepped, add the pears to a large baking dish. Drizzle the pears with olive oil (~1 tablespoon) and 2 tablespoons of balsamic. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Roast approximately 20-25 minutes until pears are just tender. Turn once during roasting. Once pears are cool enough to handle, slice each quarter in half. Set aside.

*Roasting the garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the top off of a head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves (~ 1/4 to 1/2 inch). Add the head of garlic to a large piece of aluminum foil (large enough to completely cover the garlic). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper; massage into garlic. Cover completely with foil. Roast in oven for ~ 30 minutes or until the garlic is completely soft to the touch. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, squeeze out sweet, roasted garlic into a small bowl and smush into a paste with a fork. Mix with melted Earth Balance and set aside.

*Caramelizing the onions: Peel and thinly slice onions. Coat a large frying pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, turn heat to medium high, add onions. Stir to coat the onions with oil. Spread the onions evenly and cook onions, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add 1 tablespoon Earth Balance and sugar (optional). Turn heat to medium, cook approximately 30 minutes or until the onions are caramelized. Stir occasionally. The key to caramelizing onions (in my humble opinion) is the stirring. If you stir to often, they’ll never caramelize. And if you do not stir frequently enough, they’ll burn. I have a tendency to over-stir, so I try to multitask when I’m caramelizing onions. Laundry’s good… fold shirts, stir. Hang skirts, stir. Hang pants, stir. You get the idea :D.

*Prepping the potatoes: Thinly slice the potatoes and add to a large bowl of water. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Dry potato slices with paper towel before adding them in one layer to frying pan. Add each slice to pan, making sure that slices do not touch. Once the last slice has been added, move through to flip the remaining slices in the order you added them. Once all slices have been flipped, remove the slices in the order you placed them in the pan. (Slices will cook quickly for about 1 minutes on each side). Cook all slices, set aside.

*Making the reduction: Add 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, orange juice, and agave to small saucepan. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir. Reduce by about half until the liquid thickens, but is still pourable. Set aside.

*Putting it all together!: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add flour to counter/table top. Roll out pie crust into circle (approximately 1/4 inch thick). Add crust to cookie sheet dusted lightly with flour. Brush 1/3 of melted Earth Balance/roasted garlic mixture onto pie crust, being sure to leave 1 inch border around the edge of the crust. Add 1/2 of caramelized onions. Arrange 1/2 of potatoes and 1/2 of pears on top of onions. Fold up the pie dough around the edges to encapsulate the filling. Repeat with second pie crust (Note: you’ll still have 1/3 of the melted Earth Balance/roasted garlic mixture).

Bake in preheated oven approximately 20-25 minutes, or until pie crust is golden brown. When the crostatas are finished baking, remove from oven and immediately brush the crust with the remaining melted Earth Balance/roasted garlic mixture. Drizzle each crostata with 1/2 of the balsamic reduction and serve.

*The crust–recipe/notes: The first time I made this crostata, I made my own pie dough by adapting my recipe for the vegan pie crust I made on Christmas. I omitted the vanilla extract and orange zest. Instead, I used all cold water, and shifted in one teaspoon of dried thyme per crostata to the flour. I doubled this recipe to make two crostatas. The second time I made this crostata, I used a store bought, vegan whole wheat pie crust. I have yet to try the thyme crust, but it got rave reviews at the SEEDS social, so I’m going to advocate that you try it too! 🙂

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. What a great idea. Pears are great with cheese and walnuts – why not in this savoury pie. It sounds divine. I’m not surprised at the rave reviews. Love the thyme-flavoured crust too.

  2. This sounds amazing all these different sweet tastes combined to make a savory dish.

  3. Oh, man, this must have been amazing!!! Great job~

  4. Sometimes the best dishes are those pantry dishes where you are trying to use up something in the house before it goes bad! I love that you used the pears in a savory way. This sounds wonderful!

  5. Heavenly. I can’t believe you just threw this all together at a whim. Color me incredibly impressed. Well done!

  6. Wow. What a blend of savory and sweet flavors. You must have a really good sense of taste to be able to meld such wonderful foods together to create a beautiful and delicious crostata.

    Hope you had a great weekend.

  7. Thanks for the comment. This dish looks like it has some complex flavors. I love it!

  8. this looks fabulously flavourful

  9. Sounds absolutely delish. The pear pics made my mouth water…..mmmmmm….Job well done!

  10. I love the combination of all these ingredients. Nothing beats a savory sweet dish.

  11. I believe it!! Love pears – they look luscious.

  12. I definitely believe you that the recipe is worth all the steps:-) The combination of sweet and savory sound so wonderful in the dish, especially the roasted garlic, YUM!
    Hugs, Terra

  13. This sounds sooo good! I love pear in savory dishes! And pear infused balsamic vinegar? I need this in my life.

  14. Sometimes our best dishes are born out of necessity! This looks (and sounds) fabulous!! I love the flavour combination you came up with here. Well done!

  15. What a savory and sweet flavors. such wonderful foods together to create a delicious crostata.

  16. Delish! I love savory versions of desserts. This Easter I did a spinach bread pudding. I’ll remember this for the next get together!

  17. Tiffany, I totally believe you! Each step of pictures just prove how great this dish is…and thanks for reporting step by step! What a delicious crostata…

  18. Never came across any crostata using pear that too savory ones. Looks tempting and yummy!

  19. Wow, it really looks amazing. Yes, a lot of steps but they do indeed look worth it!

  20. That looks like it IS all the steps. Love your pictures too. It’s a pleasure to visit your blog…now I’m hungry!

  21. Totally worth all the steps!! I’ve been wanting to make a savory crostata for a while. This is a great inspiration! I love that you used sweet and savory in here 🙂

  22. This looks so good!! Thanks for leaving such a nice comment on my blog. I have reached a milestone on my blog and am having an all natural organic giveaway. I hope you will enter.

  23. YUM Tiffany!! That looks gorgeous and all sorts of tasty!! May I have a helping please?! 😉

  24. Wow… That looks SO good… I am drooling over here… LOVE IT!

  25. I LOVE making crostatas but have never thought to do a savory one before! This looks mouthwatering, Tiffany. Thanks for sharing! I’m so happy to have found your blog and am looking forward to exploring your recipes. 🙂 – Georgia

  26. Well worth it Tiff, you did an excellent job.

  27. Okay, I just bookmarked this recipe. The flavor combination is too hard to resist. I’ve been crazy about pears lately and this is such an inspired use of them. Love it!

  28. Love the contrast of the savory flavors with the pear. Great mix of ingredients.

  29. Thanks for all of the comments! and HAPPY Tuesday!

  30. Wow, this looks amazing. I love the combination of the sweet, savory, and tart flavors. Thanks for sharing!

  31. WOW. flippin amazing, chica!

    • Thanks Vera! 😀

  32. This sounds like it was worth all the steps! Your crostata looks divine!

  33. Wow. This sounds so great! I would have never thought to add the potatoes and garlic. Yum! Thanks for another inspiration 🙂

  34. What a wonderful idea for a crostata…beautiful flavors and brilliant working with the pears in a savory way…exceptional!

  35. Hi ^^
    Please feel free to join our virtual Easter Party.

    btw, that dish really makes my mouth water 😉

  36. This sounds delicious Tiffany! I love pears, and I can imagine how much flavor this tart has with the onions AND pears! Pretty as well!