Monday, August 20, 2012

Pizza 2 Ways

I used to think that as a vegan I would never again get to eat pizza as I knew and loved it.

There weren't very many things I really felt as though I would be truly missing out on, but pizza was one of them.

Turns out, becoming vegan actually opened my world to the vast array of plant based pizza crusts, sauces and toppings that come together to create a plethora of delicious vegan pizza varieties.

In fact, when I decided to share the versatility of vegan pizza with a few of my girlfriends at a girls night I was hosting (to go along-side the wine, of course), it almost couldn't narrow it down to just two types! Finally, I decided on two unique and delicious pairings that deviate from the standard "cheese-pizza" model to show how satisfying, nutritious and diverse vegan pizza can be.

The first kind of pizza I decided on was a pesto/cashew cheese base with roasted corn and garden-fresh tomatoes on top.

I alternated large globs of the pesto and cashew cream sauce and then squished tomatoes over the top before sprinkling the corn over the whole bit.

Tasted bomb.


My favorite way to do pesto is to add about a quarter cup of peas to give it a creamy, spreadable texture without having to over-kill the oil.
  • 4 large handfuls fresh basil (I basically fill my food processor up with it)
  • 1 large handful fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add more peas or more oil until you reach a desired consistency. Season to taste.

Cashew "Cheese" Base
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/3 cup Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup from Trader Joes
  • 2 tsp Celery Seed and 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Blend all ingredients in a food process until smooth.

To assemble the Pizza

I buy the fire roasted corn frozen from Trader Joes when I don't have time to roast my own and then bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350.

Roll out pizza dough (again - Trader Joes - I'm taking the easy road here!) into desired shape and size. Alternate large globs of pesto and cashew cheese. Then place tomatoes evenly on top of the sauces, using the tomatoes to squish the sauce down. Finally, sprinkle the baked, fire roasted corn over the pizza and pop it in the oven for 20-25 at about 400 degrees (this will very based on the type of pan or pizza stone that you use. I used a pre-heated pizza stone and made two smaller pizzas so again, just watch it. When it looks brown around the edges, pull it out!)

The second type of pizza I ventured to make (again with help from pre-made items from Trader Joes :) was a roasted garden veggie pizza with a bruschetta sauce and topped with fresh arugula and basil.

I really wanted to utilize as many ingredients from my garden as possible to show off all of the hard work my mom and I have put into it this season (mostly my mom - she's a garden goddess).

So for this pizza I roasted up an assortment of veggies - most fresh from the ground- including:
  • Beets
  • Zucchini (green and yellow)
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potato 
  • Garlic
To roast them, all I did was cut the veggies into relatively uniform sizes, toss them with some coconut oil, herb blend and some salt and toss them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Then, I rolled out my pizza dough and spread it evenly with Trader Joe's Bruschetta (the stuff that comes in the JAR - not the fresh, it will be too runny) and topped it with the roasted veggies.

Then, after baking the pizza for an additional 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees, I pulled it out and covered it with fresh basil and arugula from the garden before serving.

Isn't it pretty?

The best thing about these two pizzas is how incredibly different they are. Other than the dough, these pizzas had little it common AND neither of them used the traditional red-sauce and cheese model.

Both were so satisfying and fresh and healthy - I wonder why I ever in a million years thought I would be missing out on pizza! Vegan pizza is the BEST!

Speaking of which, I was stoked to find out that Pizzicato (Portland-based pizza chain) agrees with me!
They recently released 3 new vegan pizza varieties including a middle eastern and a thai-style. Between that and the acclaimed pies from Dove Vivi, Sizzle Pie and Portobello, I feel like I'm not the only Portlander who is a vegan-pizza convert!

So get out there and get (or MAKE) some!

Live long and prosper! And enjoy all of the vegan-pizza-goodness in the world!

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