I’ve been a big fan of Tartex, a German vegetarian pâtée made since 1942, for decades. I’ve been squeezing tubes of Tartex on my sourdough rye crackers since my teenage years, and even now an opened tube won’t last long in this household!
All these years I’ve been curious about how exactly is this addictive product made. Every once in awhile I search the web for a “Tartex recipe” … But always come out empty handed. Homemade Tartex seems like a distant dream…
… Until now! One day not too long ago, I accidentally created something very similar to Tartex! And that’s the end of my searching – the homemade Tartex recipe I’ve been waiting for is here, on this website! What a plot twist 😅
So how did I get there when seemingly very few have either tried or reported of their results online? Well it all starts with me testing out a recipe for sunflower seed tofu aka sunfu last year. The soft and creamy sunflower seed tofu turned out to be the perfect ingredient for a homemade Tartex! It’s incredibly creamy, fatty and rich, plus has a smooth and silky texture, similar of Tartex even on its own. All it needs is a boost of flavor!
The ingredient list of the classic “naturell” Tartex is as follows: Drinking water, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, potato starch, sunflower oil (9%), sea salt, tomato puree, yeast extract. So: mostly water and nutritional yeast, oil and seasonings. The potato starch is likely there to bulk up the consistency. Coconut oil likely adds both richness and thickness that won’t melt in room temperature.
Since sunfu is very rich in sunflower seed oil, it’s already very fatty to begin with. No need for added oils! As a bonus it needs no thickening – the sunflower seed proteins are taking care of that. So no need to add potato starch either!
Tartex recipe 2.0
The discovery of turning sunflower seed tofu into homemade Tartex happened rather accidentally. I was playing around with a batch of sunfu, trying to turn it into some kind of vegan spread. I first added in just salt and nutritional yeast, but once I added in also onion powder, something happended. “It tastes just like Tartex!” said my husband. And so it really did! To enhance the likeness, I added in some double concentrated tomato puree too. The resulting mixture turned out to be so similar to Tartex, that we ate the whole batch in one go on top of some rye crackers – just like we’d do with a tube of Tartex too…
Don’t get me wrong, this is not 1:1 copy of Tartex obviously. But both the flavor and the texture are pretty close to get me very excited with the result! And if you add in herbs, garlic powder and/or pan fried button mushrooms, you can mimic the other flavors of Tartex too.
Funny enough, Tartex Classic does NOT have onion in it. But somehow the onion powder was the key in transforming the sunfu-nutritional yeast mixure into “Tartex”. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll take it! Since the ingredient list includes yeast extract, I’ve been trying to find some Marmite to see if adding it in will give a significant boost to the result. So far no luck, but since yeast extract is the last one on the list = its amount is the smallest, it likely won’t have a massive impact. But I’ll know when I get to try it!
Quick sunflower seed spread in the style of tartex
My DIY homemade Tartex recipe is very yummy, but it does have one big disadvantage. It’s juuuuust a little bit more difficult to get on that cracker than the squeeze of a tube Making sunflower seed tofu is a fun project but it definitely requires both time and effort. So, I’ve come up with a quick version!
If you skip turning soaked sunflower seeds into tofu and just puree them, you get a pretty similar result!
The consistency of this quick version is obviously different, since there’s fibers in the mixture. But taste wise the result isn’t all that different! The percentage of fat is lower too, so I prefer to add some olive oil in the mix to compensate. It might be more authentic to use coconut oil, but there’s no real need to add texture, just richness, so I suppose any oil will do!
If you’re a fan of Tartez like me, this is not going to be the perfect copy of the beloved tube. But it’s pretty dang close in my opinion! I really hope you like it as much as I do.
- Immersion blender
- 150 g sunflower seed tofu OR soaked raw sunflower seeds (100g dry sunflower seeds are about 150g once soaked for 4 hours)
- 1 dl nutritional yeast
- ½-¾ tsp salt
- 1-1½ tsp onion powder
- 1½ tsp double concentrated tomato puree (or Mutti Verdurine, which mixes in soffritto veggies)
- water (as needed)
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (OPTIONAL, leave out if making the "Tartex" with sunflower seed tofu which is already very fatty and rich on its own)
- yeast extract (Marmite, Vegemite) (to taste, start with ¼ tsp)
- ¼-½ tsp garlic powder
- fresh or dry parsley, chives (to taste, start with ½ tsp)
- 50 g button mushrooms, pan fried until most of the moisture evaporates (+ oil for pan frying)
- If you are making the homemade Tartex with sunflower seeds, start by soaking them in plenty of fresh water for about 4 hours. Drain the soaking water and rinse the seeds. Put them in a blender or in a narrow bowl suitable for immersion blender, and patiently puree the seeds to as smooth a puree you can.
- You'll need to add in some water, spoonful at a time, otherwise the mixture is likely too thick for the machine. I recommend also scraping the edges of the blender/bowl in to the mixture repeatedly to get as homogeneous result as possible.
- If you are using sunflower seed tofu you'll either first make it (recipe linked in notes!) and if you have it ready to go, mash the sunflower seed tofu with a fork or puree it in a blender / with an immersion blender.
- Season the sunflower seed (tofu) puree with nutritional yeast, tomato puree, onion powder and salt. Thin out the mixture with a teaspoon of water at a time, if needed. If you're making the "Tartex" with soaked pureed sunflower seeds, add in some olive oil for extra richness. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasonings.
- You can add also garlic powder, fresh or dry herbs, yeast extract and/or pan fried button mushrooms to the mixture, to mimic other Tartex flavors. When adding in the mushrooms, first pan fry them to as dry as possible. Chop the mushrooms up finely with a knife to help getting them blended in well to the thick mixture.
As exciting as it is to have “cracked the code” (sort of, kind of), there’s no replacing of the original Tartex! I need to have a few tubes in my cupboard at all times. My recipe kind of feels like a raw food restaurant version – you know, a place that sprouts its own seeds, I love those places! But that kind of food is pretty far from what Tartex is. And that’s fine, there’s a time and a place for both! If you are a fan of Tartex and try this recipe (either version) I would really love to hear your thoughts!